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Why I Hate Traveling As A Disabled Person


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Most people enjoy traveling on vacation because it’s a chance to experience new places and see people that you don’t get to see that often. As a disabled person, I enjoy visiting with my family but I hate traveling to get there with a passion and I don’t know anyone who hates traveling to another state more than I do. My hatred for traveling has nothing to do with the vacation itself because I do enjoy experiecing new things and has everything to do with my disability not being predictable which makes things more stressful I am fortunate that I don’t typically travel long distances without someone that knows my disability which does help some but is still not my favorite thing to do. Traveling is not as stressful when I go with people that know my disability and are willing to accommodate but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way and you have to travel with people that kind have some understanding of your disability but not really. People sometimes wonder why I hate traveling so much and often have a hard time believing that someone could hate going on vacation as much as I do. In this post, I am going to talk about why I hate traveling as a disabled person.

Hotels often are not accessible- I recently went on a short trip for my sister’s bachelorette which was fun but it was not accessible as I thought it would be which was fine for a few days. The Airbnb we rented had some parts of the home that were accessible but overall I would not have considered that home accessible because there were a few steps and the doorways were not big enough to accommodate a wheelchair. I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault for booking an inaccessible home because no one could have know that and it’s just a constant problem you will always face as a disabled person. The sad truth is that most hotels and rental homes are not accessible and it’s not the first time I have had to stay in a place that had constant barriers and won’t be the last. People sometimes think that accessibility is optional and that disabled people can just work their way around it but we shouldn’t have to and at the bare minimum there should be large enough doorways to accommodate a wheelchair. If I would have decided that I was not going to stay in the Airbnb and book a hotel instead I could have run into the same problem because even hotels do not understand the concept of accessibility so either way you don’t win. Accessibility matters for disabled people because not all disabled people are able to work there way around inaccessibility and I am only able to because I can walk. The lack of accessibility is the most stressful thing about traveling because you never know if your hotel is going to be able to accommodate your wheelchair or if you will even be able to wheel on the sidewalk safely.

The stress of not having enough medical supplies– When abled people travel the only thing that you have to make sure you have is basic essentials like shampoo and conditioner which you could buy at the store if you forget them. I use some of the basic essential that abled people use but I have a lot of other medical supplies that abled people do not have to pack. Some of the supplies I use like baby wipes and laxatives I could pick up at the store if I ran out but a lot of the things I need require a prescrition and you can’t pick it up at the store. When I travel I tend to overpack things because my biggest fear is forgetting a medication that I can’t pick up at a local Walgreens. Luckliy there are ways to santize catheters which I would do if I had to but it feels weird to pop catheters in the microwave when you are in someone else’s house. I always overpack medical supplies but it’s still stressful when you go somewhere and aren’t totally sure if you will have more problems and need more supplies than you planned for. Luckily I have never been in a situation where I have run out of supplies but it’s still something I have to think about that abled people do not.

Sometimes I have to do things that make me uncomfortable- The last trip I went on I did not need to do my bowel and if I would have had to I would not have gone. I have gone on trips when I was gone for two to three weeks and had no choice but to do my bowel regimen because it’s not healthy to go weeks without having a bowel movement. When I go out of town I am generally visiting family who are aware that my bowel muscles do not work and that it takes me longer to go but its still feels a little uncomfortable when I have to have a bowel movement around people who only know the half of it. I hate that I can’t sit on the toilet and go to the bathroom in two minutes especially when I am traveling because sometimes people are rude and you never know how someone who doesn’t understand will react to these embarrassing medical challenges. My family doesn’t generally make fun of issues that I can only partially control but there is still a part of me that is super paranoid that you are judging me for it.

You can’t be too picky with your food choices– When I am home I have full control over what I am eating for less stoma issues but when I am traveling I don’t have as much control and sometimes have to eat what is being offered to me. People sometimes do not understand that I have to have a well-balanced diet especially when I am out of town becasue one bad choice can create hours of stoma issues. Some people understand that I have to make decent food choices for less problems but most people don’t get that and think that I can just deal with issues as they come up but stoma issues don’t work like that and it’s not something you just deal with one time and be done with it because a leaky stoma can take literally all day to stop which can be painful from all the rashes you will get. I like trying new places when I am traveling but it is a little more stressful when your out and do not know how your body will react. Stoma issues are one of the top reasons I do not like to travel because you never the problems you will have that day or if you will even be in a situation where you can with it.

The uncertainity of not knowing when you will have the chance to pee- Abled people often can hold it in for hours when they are out somewhere and do not have access to a bathroom which is not healthy for anyone but you can do it if you had to. I am not able to hold it in like abled people and if it gets to a point when my bladder is overly full I will quite literally pee pants because I don’t have the bladder control to hold it. People sometimes don’t understand that I have a certain bathroom schedule that I need to stick to and will get irritated that I can hold it in for an extra hour like abled people can but there is nothing I can do about that because I can’t change my disability. When I say I have to go to the bathroom now that means I can wait a max of a half hour before my stoma starts leaking. I often find myself drinking significantly less than I normally would so I don’t have to go to the bathroom as much which is terrible for your bladder health because dehydration can cause UTIs and migraine prevention

I don’t get to exercise as much- When you are abled and travel often there are ways you can get some exercise but when you are disabled there aren’t as many exercise opportunities because can walk around town to get exercise. If I am going to be going out all day I bring my wheelchair because I can’t walk long distances but still don’t get that much exercise. I like to push my wheelchair but often I don’t get that much opportunity when I am with because people think I always need to be pushed but I am probably not getting as tired as you think I am. If a disabled person wants to be pushed they will ask you but you should never assume that someone always needs to be pushed.. I don’t mind people pushing me if they ask but I hate it when people don’t let me push myself because it takes away from the little independence I have. I don’t like the way most people drive my chair because a lot of abled-bodied people do not have experience with pushing a wheelchair and not good drivers or don’t take into consideration that they are driving an actual person and drive recklessly. I can drive better than most abled-bodied people because I have been using a wheelchair part-time my whole life and have had lots of practice. I always feel lazy when I am on vacation because I don’t get a lot of opportunties to exercise even a little bit. Disabled people sometimes want a little exercise but it can be hard when you are with family and friends that think you are not able to push long distances.

Traveling is fun and I enjoy vacationing to new places but it is more stressful for disabled people because hotel do not understand the concept of what it means to be accessible . I am lucky that when I travel I am usually with someone who understands my needs but it still can be stressful when you travel with people you know because even people that see me all the time don’t understand my disability entirely. Disabled people have to think about things that abled people do not when they travel and although I still have fun on vacation I am anything but stress-free! As a disabled person, you have to trust people when they say that a hotel is accessible which often is not reliable because abled-bodied do not understand accessibility to the extent a disabled person does and think that accessibility ends at ramps Inaccessibility is not something that all disabled people can work there way around if it’s not accessible enough we can’t stay there. People are starting to see the importance of accessibility and we have made some progress but there is still so much to be done because hotels still don’t provide things like lifts that are necessary for disabled people and cannot travel because you don’t have access to these things. I think I would enjoy traveling if I didn’t live with as many challenges and people didn’t question my needs and trusted that I know what I am talking about. Do you like or hate traveling as a disabled person?

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