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Wheel the World Breaks Down 3 Reasons Why Traveling with a Disability Can Be More Expensive

Mar 19, 2024 |

In partnership with Wheel the World, the Amputee Coalition will receive a donation withevery travel bookingmade using the code ‘AMPUTEECOALITION.’

Wheelchair users traveling in Costa RicaTraveling can be expensive, especially for people with limb loss and limb difference and other disabilities. Hotel rooms can cost more and the necessary adaptable equipment can be quite pricey – among other contributing factors. Remove the challenge of marked up prices and, well, significant barriers still remain.

Finding an accessible room that suits the individuals’ needs is one of the more common issues disabled travelers face. In this article, we provide a quick overview of some contributing factors that lead to higher prices in travel for people with mobility challenges, other barriers that exist, and shed light on how to avoid some of these.

Why is Traveling with a Disability More Expensive?

There are several factors that contribute to the markup costs of traveling with a disability. Three of the major contributors are:

Budget Hotels Are Not Always Accessible

When you are traveling somewhere and searching for hotels, you may notice that the budget-friendly hotels do not always provide necessary features for accessibility. Their goal is to provide a low-cost, basic room to stay in. These hotels don’t necessarily have the budget themselves to invest in accessible amenities, thus alienating customers with disabilities. The other option is to then look at the higher-priced hotel rooms that have the ability to invest (or perhaps the willingness to invest) in the required features. Thus, customers are having to pay more than maybe they intended.

As you probably know, even the higher-end hotels can lack commonly needed accessibility features. We will touch on these problems later in the article.

Accessible hotel in Rivera MayaAdaptable Transportation is Expensive

Transportation is the lifeline of travel, yet when it comes to accessibility, it can be a costly hurdle. The most cost-effective option is utilizing public transportation. However, it can be difficult to rely on due to the various levels of accessibility in different places.

This leads to private transportation options. Ride-shares, taxis, or renting an adaptable vehicle. As you probably know, these can be costly. The provision of ramps, sufficient space, and maintenance of the equipment make adaptable transportation services more expensive.

The Expenses of Extra Equipment

Travel isn’t just about staying in a comfortable place; it’s about experiencing the destination fully. For individuals with disabilities, participating in sportive activities or local attractions may require extra assistance. Whether it’s adaptive equipment, additional personnel, or tailored experiences, these enhancements often come with a price tag.

Not to mention the specialized equipment many individuals require. Being away from home requires the purchase or rental of certain accessible equipment for a comfortable stay. For example, the hotel room may not have a shower chair, so you need to purchase a portable one to bring with you. Many hotel rooms don’t provide bed hoists, so you may need to rent one at your destination.

When you combine all these factors of additional expenses, the cost can add up significantly.

Adapted vehicle for wheelchair accessibility.Challenges of Traveling with a Disability: A Quick Overview

Let’s say there were no markup costs associated with traveling with a disability. That wouldn’t resolve the reasons for individuals experiencing travel anxiety, or just avoiding travel altogether.

The primary reason is a lack of trust with the overall travel industry. Why is that?

A study conducted in 2022 by MMGY Global showed that “travelers with mobility disabilities spend $58.2 billion per year on travel.” An average of 3.4 trips during the prior year – which is slightly under the average of individuals without limited mobility.

MMGY Global also notes in their study:

  • Accessible accommodation – MMGY Global reports that 96% of respondents faced accessibility problems with accommodation – 81% reported inaccessible showers or tubs, and nearly 60% of respondents did not book a room due to a lack of information. More than half were given a room at check-in that did not match the one they booked.
  • Flights – 86% faced issues with flights. One of the primary anxieties is the potential damage incurred to wheelchairs during loading, unloading, or transit. This has been a nightmare situation for many, showing up to their destination without a working mobility aid. The narrow aisles, bathroom size, and process of transferring to the seats are other flying barriers that prevent individuals with disabilities from choosing to travel.
  • Transportation – 79% faced a problem with in-market transportation. Whether that is public transportation not having adaptable services, ride-shares being unequipped, or just a general lack of accessible transportation options.

Those were the three main problems reported, with several others noted throughout the study. Given that the number of trips taken is virtually the same, regardless of physical abilities, why hasn’t the travel industry dedicated resources for a more inclusive world?

Man in a wheelchair on a ramp on an accessible vehicleBook Travel with Reliable, Accurate and Trusted Accessibility Information

Given the quick overview of problems faced, with nearly all survey respondents reporting an issue with accessible accommodation – reliable and accurate information is paramount.

Why Travel with Wheel the World?

Wheel the World is the expert travel agency for all things accessible travel. With comprehensive accessibility information, travelers with disabilities can book their travel needs with confidence that the provided information is accurate and reliable.

With each hotel, for example, Wheel the World compiles over 200 data points that provide an overall picture of accessibility. Bed height, roll-in showers, grab bars, door width, and many more pieces of necessary information.

There isn’t a “one-size fits all” solution. Each traveler with disabilities has unique and different needs. This is why Wheel the World’s approach to comprehensive accessibility information is the expert solution for travelers to find the hotels, activities, and vacation packages that work for you.

Blog originally published by Wheel the Worldand edited by Amputee Coalition.   

In partnership with Wheel the World, the Amputee Coalition will receive a donation with every travel booking made using the code ‘AMPUTEECOALITION.’