You know that saying about “the best laid plans”? Life sometimes offers us unpleasant events that get in the way of even those best laid plans. Our Inquisitive TravelingMom discovered that when she took a spill on a family vacation. Ending up on crutches didn’t stop her from carrying on with her plans and traveling with an injury. Read on for her best tips and ideas for traveling on crutches or with other physical limitations.
As the Inquisitive TravelingMom, you can guess that I’m an adventurous traveler. I like to be on the go, always exploring. Even on my relaxing beach vacations, I make time to slip in visits to attractions and places that get my family out in nature. On a recent trip with my kids, we did some hiking in Savannah, GA and came across a bridge that had been partially washed out by Hurricane Irma. Most people would turn around. I urged my kids forward. They all scrambled across like monkeys. Me? Not so much.
The final verdict? A fractured tibia and a sprained knee. Crutches and non-weight bearing for six weeks. I had a trip back to Savannah planned and another trip to Gatlinburg with the kids. This little bump in my road was not going to stop me! I learned a lot about best practices for traveling with an injury.
Know Your Limitations When Traveling With An Injury
I cannot stress this enough. A friend offered me use of a wheelchair she owned. I turned it down because I didn’t think I was that bad off. After a trip through a local shopping mall where we were running late for a movie, though, I reconsidered. Making that hustle over a lot of territory while on crutches made me ache all over the next day. I called my friend and asked if I could borrow the wheelchair for my back to back trips and it was a lifesaver. If you are not as lucky as I am to have that connection, know that many places rent chairs. If you would like to rent one at your destination, it’s worth asking your hotel for a rental company reference. Bonus points if the company will deliver it straight to your hotel!
Have A Back Up Plan and Pack Some Patience
We all know that public spaces should have various kinds of accessibility. Sometimes, though, things happen that prevent that access. On a girls’ weekend in Savannah I encountered a few obstacles. Although I was in the wheelchair, I was traveling on crutches as well so a mid-repair ferry ramp wasn’t a big problem. I just had to hop down a few stairs. When it came to our favorite brunch place, things were a little more difficult. Savannah is an old city and some buildings just don’t have an accessible entrance or one that is easy to navigate. I ended up going down the above stairs on the crutches with a friend close by just in case. Coming back up? I threw pride to the wind and just scootched up on my rear. I’m sure I was quite a sight but it was faster and less scary than navigating them with the crutches again. Know where you are going and have a plan to navigate challenges.
Request An Accessible Hotel Room
At home, I have a handle in the shower and a ledge at the back that I can sit on to get in and out. One morning in Savannah while my friends were running, I almost got stuck in the tub! A handle on the wall alone didn’t help me get out easily. Fortuitously, we had been randomly placed in an accessible room for our Gatlinburg trip. I can’t stress enough the difference this made. When you are traveling with an injury, keeping safe is your top priority. The shower in the accessible room had not only a handle but a seat that folded down as well as the option to make the shower head hand held. There was plenty of space in the bathroom for my crutches and an additional handle next to the toilet.
Ask For Help
If you’re like me, you are FINE. As in, “No thank you, I can manage. I’m FINE.” You learn pretty quickly that you should make life easier when given the chance. I felt so foolish having my friends push me in the wheelchair, but quickly realized that they truly didn’t mind in the least.
Traveling on crutches sometimes requires seeking out the kindness of strangers. I almost got in the car for breakfast from the nearby fast food drive through instead of hitting the free and convenient hotel buffet. I can’t carry a plate on crutches! But I swallowed my pride and asked the hostess for help. She cheerfully walked me through the buffet line and brought me a drink, checking later to see if I needed any additional food. That breakfast was much more satisfying than fast food eaten in the parking lot would have been!