Overcoming Travel Challenges with Confidence

Traveling with a brain or spinal injury might seem daunting, but with proper planning and preparation, you can enjoy a well-deserved break just like everyone else.

This guide will provide you with essential tips and strategies for international travel, covering everything from pre-trip planning to packing, transit, accommodation, and insurance considerations.

Pre-Trip Planning: Setting the Stage for a Smooth Journey

Thorough preparation is crucial for anyone planning a trip away, but it’s especially important for those living with a spinal cord or brain injury. There is a lot to consider, as you need to prepare for every potential eventuality. The good news is that proper planning ensures ease of mind, as you know that whatever you’ll be faced with will have a simple solution.

Don’t forget to write things down. Having a checklist will ease the burden of information you’re dealing with. Writing down locations, timings, names, routes, and flight numbers can be vitally important.

An overlooked element of this is keeping downtime available in your schedule. Travelling is stressful, even when everything is planned out, so giving yourself a few moments to sit down and take your mind off of things can make a dramatic difference.

Ahead of any travels, you should alert family members of where you’re going and the timings of your travels. It will mean that if there are unexpected alterations, there are people who are immediately aware that something may be wrong. You should let the family that you are travelling with know that you will need extra time and consideration for travel to factor in all the above points.

Packing Essentials: What you must have on hand

It may seem like an obvious point but ensuring you have all the correct medication with you is essential. We strongly encourage that any medication you require is with you as a carry-on. Even if you think this is just a short flight, you don’t want to be caught out.

For those with spinal cord injuries, another consideration is the wheelchair or a walking device you may be travelling with. You want to make sure that you have all the comforts with you to make travelling less burdensome. Potentially bringing spare parts for the wheelchair will also be useful, especially in case you’ve already had some trouble with it.

You must also contact your airline, travel agent or tour operator if you plan on bringing your own wheelchair, including battery-powered, or mobility aid. These are not allowed in the cabin of the plane.

Transiting and Flying: Navigating Airports and Flights

Ensure you have a dedicated medical kit for your injury and other health-related needs. Set alarms on your phone to remind you to take this medication, as negotiating an unfamiliar airport can be more than distracting.

Also, consider your routes to and from the airport. How are you getting there? How are you getting to your accommodation or resort once you arrive? For wheelchair users, this can be a much more important consideration. You need to ensure that your destination is fully accessible.

Contacting your package holiday provider ahead could iron out these details. For example, they could offer a private taxi service to and from the airport.

Accommodation and Transport While Abroad: Ensuring Accessibility

Similar to the previous point, calling ahead to your resort can help make your stay a lot easier. Letting them know about your situation and needs will help make sure that there is little chance of them not being able to help.

Here are some questions you may ask:

  • Is your resort accessible?

  • Is your staff medically trained?

  • How close is the nearest hospital to the resort in case of emergencies?

  • Are there any pharmacies nearby?

Insurance: Securing the Right Coverage for Peace of Mind

First and foremost, it should be clear that you can still get travel insurance if you have a spinal cord or brain injury. Standard travel insurance will not often cover your injury and any aids or equipment that you need, therefore it is important you choose the right policy for you.

The following companies are listed by Headway – the brain injury association as providers of insurance for those with a brain or spinal cord injury.

AllClear Travel Insurance

Direct Travel Insurance

Free Spirit Travel Insurance

JD Travel Insurance

The Insurance Surgery

For more information on how Empowering U can help with everyday life living with a spinal cord or brain injury, please get in touch today.