Traveling is one of life’s great joys for many people, and vacation times, either as a natural part of the school year or as the use of saved up days from work, are often when people choose to take their vacations. All kinds of people enjoy vacations and travel, from children to adults, from the young to the elderly. Many disabled people also engage in inclusive travel, though it can be difficult for wheelchair users and those who use other mobility aids to navigate an unknown place as well as many of necessities of travel, like boarding a plane or taking a bus or a train. Inclusive travel is important, because travel in general can bring joy to us all.
There are many disabled people throughout the United States. Though not every disabled person uses a mobility aid – and it is important to remember that not all disabled people are noticeable disabled – many do. Nearly twelve million people in the United States alone use a mobility aid such as a walking cane, walker, or crutch, and as many as three million people who are over the age of fifteen use a wheelchair on a regular or as needed basis, with at least two million more joining the ranks of wheelchair users with each passing year. This is because some conditions are degenerative, meaning that a person may be able to walk at first but will eventually and ultimately lose function of their body to the point that they become wheelchair bound. Wheelchair use is often a way that people manage chronic pain conditions that leave them in severe pain if they are too mobile, even though they technically have full use of their bodies. And even more people are severely and permanently injured in accidents like work accidents and car accidents, which can leave them forever disabled and in need of a mobility aid such as a wheelchair.
Inclusive travel for those who have limited mobility or no mobility at all is becoming more and more possible with the addition of wheelchair accessible devices and buildings. For example, public transportation has made huge strides when it comes to wheelchair accessibility, and statistics show that nearly one hundred percent (around ninety eight percent, to be exact) of all bus services in major cities in the United States are properly able to accommodate wheelchair users. For a disabled person who is traveling to a new and largely unknown city, this accessibility can make getting around all the easier and more doable than ever before. Such features of accessibility can make living an active lifestyle possible for the majority of disabled people, something that many disabled people consider to be an important part of their lives and overall happiness.
Living with a disability, particularly one that limits mobility, can be immensely difficult, there is no getting around it. And in the past, inclusive travel was hugely limited, thus limiting the lives of disabled people not only in the United States but all around the world. Fortunately, huge strides have been made when it comes to inclusive travel, making inclusive travel more widespread than ever before. Because of this new push for inclusive travel, more and more disabled people are not only becoming able to travel, but able to travel independently at that. Inclusive travel is critical, because the yearning and desire to see and explore new corners of the world is not a desire limited to abled people. Disabled people have many, if not all, of the same hopes, dreams, and bucket list items. Inclusive travel helps to make these a reality.