Are transportation and facilities friendly to disabled?

China is becoming friendlier to travelers with disabilities. Specially-designed & equipped facilities in the public areas of transport, airport and hotel are now more accessible. If you have difficulty getting around because you are disabled physically or have visual or hearing impairment at any level then, with the necessary assistant tools, proper planning, reasonable arrangements and good preparation, traveling can still be a unique and rewarding experience. Some tips to enjoy such exciting, challenging and adventurous travel follow for your reference.

1. Know your own abilities. Clearly assess your strengths and, if possible, attempt to improve your body health and mobility before your departure.

2. Make a thorough physical examination and discuss the trip with your doctor. Ask for advice and suggestions on all aspects of your traveling.

3. Take your doctor’s name and telephone number with you so he/her can be contacted in any emergency.

4. Get plenty of information and finalize your destinations. The barrier-free environment in China is developing fast, especially in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Try to get more information about your destinations and their accessible facilities. Services and/or facilities may be different from your home city, so do a good research and prepare yourself for a new environment.

5. According to your disability, bring any appropriate equipment needed to enjoy & complete your travel such as canes, rolling walkers, wheelchairs, audiphones and mobility scooters. Do not forget to bring some spare parts and the toolbox to carry out emergency repairs.

6. Choose a nonstop fly as changing flight could bring a lot of hassles.

7. Recheck your health insurance policy to ensure it covers the medical expenses incurred during trips overseas. Check that it covers pre-existing conditions and, if in doubt, contact your insurers.

8. Contact the airlines, cruise ship company, hotel, airport and railway station as early as possible to ensure whether and how they can offer help based on your impaired mobility. Give plenty of time for them to make the related preparations and arrangements well in advance. Remember that a higher service charge may be levied.

9. Do not put all your medicine in your checked baggage. Put some in the hand luggage you are going to take on the plane in case of lost or emergency.

10. Go to the airport earlier to allow enough time for check in.

11. Contact with your airport to see if you can bring your wheelchair on board. Usually a plane can only allow one wheelchair.

12. If you book through a travel agent you must ensure you disclose the condition of your disability so that they can make the appropriate arrangements for you. If you travel with a group then notify others including your families, friends, companions and tour guides. They should be aware of the true situation so that they can look after you during your trip.

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