Traveling with Parkinson’s

Although I enjoy traveling, I don’t enjoy the stress of air travel these days, or wondering what my hotel accommodation is going be like. Planning can make all the difference between a miserable trip and an enjoyable one. I asked our friends at our July 2017 cafés for some of their travel tips, and here are their suggestions.

General tips
– When planning your trip, find out as much as you can in advance about your mode of transportation as well as your accommodation.
– Also, contact your accommodation provider and tell them what you need. e.g. bed needs to be a certain height, not against the wall, etc. They may be able to offer assistance in ways that you haven’t thought of.
– Pace yourself! Schedule times to rest and recover.
– Take your own prescription antibiotics just in case.
– Take your own folding seat for the shower
– some have an add-on to make the seat higher as well as the frame to help you stand up safely.
– Corkcicle came highly recommended as a way to keep drinks icy cold for several hours. Triple insulated and available from Amazon.

Cruise – they sure were popular!
– When starting a cruise in another city, travel there the day before and stay in a nearby hotel and ask for their parking cruise rate. You can leave the car at the hotel while they take you to and from your ship by shuttle, and start your cruise relaxed.
– Recommended cruise lines: Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity and Holland American (fewer kids, more adults). Smaller ships got the thumbs up. Staff are generally very helpful.
– Call in advance and let them know your accessibility issues.
– You can rent wheelchairs, walkers and scooters.
– There are a limited number of handicapped rooms
– Shore excursions can cater to you if you need extra assistance/accessibility.
– Don’t go during spring break (self-explanatory).

– Use to choose your seat. It provides information on why some seats are a better choice than others.
– Toilets on plane are small.
– Arrange for use of wheelchair and/or transportation between gates at airports. Using a wheelchair cuts down on stress, and is less tiring. Volunteers will push. When you get to the gate, double check that a wheelchair will be waiting at your destination or next stop.

– AutoTrain (Lorton, VA – Sanford, FL) Get there early and grab a bite at the shopping center nearby.
– There are handicap accessible rooms as well as bathrooms available on the lower deck of the sleeper cars, and family rooms are large, too. Other rooms can be somewhat cramped. Meals can be brought to your room.

– Contact the hotel when booking and confirm that they can accommodate your needs.
– Be specific. For instance, if you asked about their handicap accessible bathrooms, what they have and what you need may be two different things
– such as the hotel offers a shower in a bathtub with handrails, when what you need is a walk-in shower.
– Rent wheelchairs

Suggestions for where to go for a weekend getaway?
– Road scholar –
– Residence Inn and Springhill Suites in Virginia Beach have the same floor plans, including accessible ground floor rooms with a large terrace
– Inn at Leola Village, Lancaster, PA – Chesapeake Hyatt in Cambridge, MD
– Longwood Gardens Kennett Square, PA
– ADA accessible vacation homes available on the Outer Banks – contact local real estate agents.
– Williamsburg.

A couple of handy websites/apps:
Ride Guru
Compare various rideshare companies, taxis, limousines, etc. You can get accurate estimates and compare fares, and find answers to questions about how rideshares and ride hails work.
SpotHero & SpotHero in Washington D.C.  Find available parking, how late the garage is open, how much it will cost, and reserve your spot!
The Kennedy Center also offers prepaid parking.

Some suggestions for weekend getaways:
Luray Caverns Falling Water, SW Pennsylvania. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, this house is built over a waterfall and is a National Historic Landmark.
Gettysburg National Military Park and town.

Things to do in DC:
Museums on Us
If you have a Bank of America credit card, you have free access to museums such as the Newseum on the first weekend of the month.
President Lincoln’s Summer Cottage at the Soldier’s Home
Library of Congress
National Gallery

Not part of our discussions, but here are links provided by other Parkinson foundations. They have lots of great ideas!

National Parkinson FoundationTip sheet – Travel and Transportation

Parkinson CanadaParkinson’s and Traveling

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