Travel tips for the temporarily handicapped

Earlier this year I had the misfortune of breaking my foot.  Luckily, I had no trips scheduled for immediately after my fall.  However when the time came for me to have to travel, I was flummoxed. I was on crutches—how could I carry a suitcase, get from my car to the gate, and then to the hotel?  I could drive, so that wasn’t a problem, but the rest of it worried me for two weeks. I searched the web for advice on how to travel while on crutches, but (again) couldn’t find anything really helpful. So, I muddled through on my own. Here are my tips for any who may find themselves in my situation.

1)      If you can, pack everything in a backpack.

I know it is not the ideal situation, but if you are used to carrying on and you don’t want to check your bag, a backpack is the only way to be self-sufficient. I pared down to only the necessities and was able to fit it all in my amazing expanding backpack (similar to this one ).

2)      Get a purse that fits cross body

This way your purse is not in the way of your crutches.  With my backpack and my cross-body purse I was able to crutch around without aid a lot of the time. Much nicer than having to have someone follow you around carrying your roller bag.

3)      Have a lot of $1 bills for tipping the nice wheelchair people

Carry around $30-40 in $1 bills, depending on how many flights you have.  Assume that you will have one person wheel you from the ticket counter to your gate, another wheel you down the ramp to your plane, another wheel you from the plane to the gate, yet another wheel you from one gate to the next, and so on. You don’t have to tip all of them the same amount, but I assume around $2 per person (unless they wheel you for a long time, like they did for me in the Chicago airport).   While they wheel you your backpack and purse can go on your lap, and you can balance your crutches on the footrest of the wheelchair.

4)      Call the airlines ahead of time to request wheelchairs and assistance

Most airlines are really good about assisting people who need it. I called my company travel agent and the airlines to make sure I was in the system as someone who needed wheelchair assistance and seats that were easy to get to.

I hope this helps you! Of course, really I hope that you don’t get into this situation in the first place….and I hope it never happens to me again!

Sending good balance to all of my traveling sisters!


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