Taking your own wheelchair or mobility scooter with you on holiday can be a pain, especially if you’re flying. You might also be in a position where you don’t need one day to day but where the wandering around that you’d like to do on holiday can easily wear you out. Hiring wheels at your holiday destination is a great solution and is remarkably easy to do.
Organising Wheelchair Hire
It is now possible to hire on-site wheelchairs and mobility scooters in most UK towns and cities and in popular holiday resorts across Europe. Australia’s big cities offer similar services, as do many (but not all) of those in the USA and Canada. Further afield, you are less likely to find established services, but it is always worth asking – sometimes local hospitals are willing to hire out equipment to visitors.
Wheelchair hire used to be the preserve of specialist companies catering to disabled holidaymakers but you can now organise it through many ordinary travel agents. Just shop around and make it an early question when checking out what they have to offer. If you can’t arrange it as part of a holiday package, you should be able to arrange it independently once you’ve sorted out the details of your journey.
Assessing Your Requirements
If you don’t use a wheelchair day to day, you may find that it takes a bit of getting used to. Ask your rental company for advice and don’t just look for the cheapest deal – depending on where you are going, there may be other important factors to consider. If somebody is going to be pushing you, you will need to think about their needs as well – wheelchairs with poor suspension can quickly exhaust or injure inexperienced helpers.
Even if you already use a wheelchair, the ideal holiday model may be different from what you use at home. Think about the type of place you intend to go. If you will be sticking to buildings and level streets, a light wheelchair may be just fine. If you will be dealing with cobbled streets or unavoidable steps, you may need something more resilient. Make sure you give yourself sufficient options to avoid feeling restricted when you should be having fun.
What You Can Expect
The service offered by different holiday wheelchair hire companies varies considerably but can usually be tailored to suit the individual traveller. If you are getting to your destination by train or plane, it is often possible to arrange for your wheelchair or mobility scooter to meet you when you arrive, giving you immediate independence. Alternatively, you can have it waiting for you at a hotel. Similar arrangements can be made for returning it at the end of your holiday.
If you are hiring a mobility scooter, remember that regulations in relation to driving it can differ in different countries. The hire company should be able to advise you on this before you make your final choice.
Although you should always check the small print, most hire arrangements come with full insurance cover for standard use. Bear in mind that this may not cover you for other activities, such as taking your wheelchair on the beach or riding it over grass (even if you hire a chair designed for rough terrain). Think carefully about what you are likely to want to do and discuss this before you sign a contract.
Hiring a wheelchair or mobility scooter usually costs between forty and a hundred pounds for a two week holiday. This means it can be a practical choice that makes travel easier whilst giving you much more opportunity to enjoy yourself once you arrive at your destination.