You are planning a
vacation or business trip. Where will you stay and how do you know that
the facility will be Handicap friendly when you get there. There are
several ways you can go about it. I did a search on the internet
searching for hotels “handicapped accessible” and came up with
over 250,000 returns. I will warn you that if you used the word handicap
you will get every betting parlor and online casino on the internet. I
did a quick check on most of the major hotel/motel chains and found that
they all advertise handicapped accessible rooms.

Not being satisfied, I called the 800 number listed for
several of the larger hotels and found that the person answering the
phone was in a completely different city and had no idea of the type
facilities in my local hotel. I would suggest that if you are going to
plan on staying at a specific hotel you call the hotel directly and ask
them what their handicapped facilities provide. Ask specific questions
like is the bathroom large enough to get my wheelchair in, does the
bathroom have raised toilets?. Is there a shower facility that you won’t
have to try to climb in and out of the bathtub? You might also want to
ask whether the handicapped facilities are smoking or nonsmoking if you
have a preference.

When I checked, most of the desk people could not answer
all the questions I had about the facilities. Don’t be bashful, ask to
speak to a supervisor or manager, and keep going up the chain until you
are able to get answers. If they seem uncertain, ask them to check and
call you back. Finally, if you can’t find out the information that you
need, don’t be timid about writing the chain’s headquarters. Who knows
you might even end up with a free room.

Another source of aggravation is restaurants that put
the tables so close together that it is almost impossible for a
non-handicapped person to get through much less someone who has a limp
or is a bit unsteady. Several times I have bumped into people
unintentionally because the isleway was too narrow and my gait was
unsteady, or a knee or hip would give. Make sure that you check with the
hotel to be certain that their restaurants are handicapped accessible.
The same criteria should apply to the restaurant that applies to your
room. If you know you are going out and know which restaurant you will
be using, call them and be sure that you are going to be comfortable.
Can they accommodate wheelchairs, do they have seats far enough apart
for you to stretch those aching legs out.

Finally, depending on where you are going, you might
check to see if public transportation is available and close by. Most
major cities are going to have public transportation that is accessible.
However it doesn’t do you much good if you have to limp along for a mile
to get to it.

Finally, remember that you are responsible for knowing
what you are getting. Call or write the facilities you plan on using and
don’t stop asking questions until you are fully satisfied. E-mail is
another option if the facility has it available. Whichever method you
choose make sure that you are getting a facility that meets your needs.