Disability Travel Tip: Hotel Arrangements

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Make sure the hotel you are staying at has the type of accommodations you are expecting. I have learned by trial and error that “accessible room” has a very loose meaning. At a minimum this means that you can get into the room, and fit through the bathroom door. However, if you require a roll-in shower, make sure you specify this as well by saying “I need a shower area with a bench and no tub.” Some people think a roll-in shower still means a bathtub with grab bars.

The best way to make sure you are going to get what you want is to call the hotel directly. Often, the online information is not enough to go on. In fact, many hotels do not even specifically let you reserve accessible rooms on the internet because they are holding the rooms in case someone needs them. This is good because they are saving it for people with disabilities, but it’s inconvenient because you have to go offline to actually make the reservation.

There are occasions when I have not called ahead and the result is a mixed bag of unfortunate rooms and incredible upgrades. If a hotel happens to be somewhat full and you don’t call ahead you might not get an accessible room. However there have been times I’ve gotten upgraded to suites or other larger rooms when accessible rooms were not available upon check in. On one occasion the hotel gave me a whole extra room for a friend of mine because the only accessible room available had only one bed and we needed two.

So feel free to take your chances, but if you definitely need an accessible shower then definitely call ahead.

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