Traveling for business can be a joyless endeavor, especially when you have mobility issues to contend with. Airports are generally no fun, especially as delays and flight cancelations seem to be always on the rise, and if you aren’t doing your own travel planning, bookings can be made that pay little regard to your need for essential equipment such as a wheelchair or mobility scooter, or even an accessible room.
If your job involves a lot of business travel, then those constant frustrations can really start to wear you down. A recent story in Fast Company magazine listed reasons why frequent business travel is really bad for your health, ranging from an increased risk of obesity and mental health issues, to radiation exposure and compromised immune systems. There is a lot that you can do to mitigate those risks and lower your stress levels in order create a better business travel experience though, here are some ideas:
Research accommodations and restaurants in advance. While pretty much every hotel and restaurant in North America is going to cater to disabilities in some way, due to city ordinances and requirements, this doesn’t mean that they are going to offer you the best experience. One great way to find the best option in whatever city you are going to is to check out review site BrettApproved.com (Scootaround has a partnership with them, we love what they do) which is the world’s fastest growing travel review site for people with mobility challenges and physical issues.
If your accommodations have already been booked, then pick up the phone and call the front desk to ensure that they are aware of your needs, and are able to accommodate them before you arrive (it is incredibly frustrating to arrive at a hotel and find out that their only accessible room was just given away to someone with no mobility issues). Hotels that understand your issues in advance are going to be much better equipped to help you, though of course that shouldn’t stop them trying their hardest to meet your needs regardless.
Communicate your needs clearly. Something that many of us do when stating our needs is under play them in order not to be seen as a pain, or too needy. This does us no favors whatsoever. People who work in the service industry are used to meeting different needs, whatever that may be, and the best ones pride themselves on delivering exceptional service to all their clientele. You may also encounter people who aren’t familiar with the terms relating to your specific needs, so be sure to check that they understand them by asking questions.
Pack essentials in your carry-on. If the mobility device that you travel with has basic maintenance tools, or you have medications that you need, don’t trust them to your checked luggage. Having to source replacement parts in a strange city or having to get an emergency prescription filled could seriously upset your meetings schedule. In 2012, nearly 1.8 million pieces of luggage disappeared while being carried by major US airlines on domestic flights (click here for a story on which airlines are the worst offenders when it comes to this).
Use a specialist travel agent. If you’re always on the road, you might want to ask your employer to consider using a specialist travel agent who is used to dealing with your specific issues. That way, you won’t need to worry about things like ensuring that accommodations are appropriate etc., as that will be top of mind for that agent when planning your trips. If you’re self-employed, you’ll no doubt find that doing this saves you money and time in the long run.
Wherever you’re traveling for business or pleasure, Scootaround has more than 1500 locations across North America, and can make sure that you have the mobility equipment you need ready and waiting when you arrive. Contact us to see how we can help meet your needs.