How to Pack Light If you’re Disabled

Posted October 31, 2013 by Josh Hansen in Travel Tips

Most people find it challenging to pack for a trip away. The temptation to take too much is always there, yet you know you’ll never use everything you take. With some forward planning it becomes easier to travel light – but this is even more important to remember if you have a disability. There are a number of crucial areas to focus on if you want to travel light while making sure you have everything you could need for your trip.

Choosing the Right Equipment

Disabilities come in all forms. Some people need a wheelchair and others can walk but require crutches or a walking stick; either way you’ll need your hands free, so don’t opt for bags you’ll need both hands to carry which will provide more of a challenge than necessary.

Wheeled bags or suitcases are ideal. Buy a rigid case that stays upright when you set it down, so you don’t have to bend down to pick up the handle again. Tiny details like this make all the difference. Stick to a compact size too – we’ve got plenty of tips coming up to ensure you still have room to pack everything you need.

Look for decent bags to take with you as well. Rucksacks come in all sizes and enable you to keep your hands free if you need assistance walking. Pick a good quality backpack that stays close to your body; if they are loose and swing around, they will knock you off balance. Similar style bags can be hung on the back of a wheelchair or even stowed underneath.

Incidentally if you are wheelchair bound, travel in a manual chair rather than an electric one if possible. They’re lighter and it’s much less likely anything will go wrong. You won’t have to carry heavy spare batteries either.

Opt for Lightweight Clothing

Different holidays demand different clothing, but you can always find lighter alternatives. For instance, if you think a typical fleece is heavy and bulky, think again. Look for microfleece options instead. They’re thinner, lighter and quick to dry (smaller to pack too). Always invest in higher quality materials that are fast drying if you know you’ll be able to wash your clothes while you’re away.

These clothes can also be rolled up and stowed away more easily. This enables you to get away with a smaller bag – one of the essentials of easy disability travel.

Look for Smaller Alternatives to Holiday Essentials

One woman found a great solution for capturing her holiday memories; instead of choosing a large camera, she opted for a tiny digital one. Light and easy to manage, she kept it in a pocket for ease of use. It’s worth spending time finding lighter solutions as you’ll have less weight to manage in your choice of bags.

This applies to toiletries as well. Take a combined shampoo and conditioner to cut down two bottles to one. Opt for travel sized bottles too. Look up ‘lightweight travel’ online and you’ll be surprised at some of the results and advice you get.

Keep Valuables Close-by

Wheelchair users can get a special valuables pouch that fits to the front of the chair, behind your lower legs. Passport, wallet, tickets and other essentials are kept safe but are easily accessible.

Alternatively, if you are relatively mobile you can get a so called ‘bum bag’ or waist bag that fits securely around your middle. These usually have a number of zipped pouches to hold all your essentials. If you take medication, be sure to keep some of that in there as well.

Think Ahead

Depending on your disability, it’s a good idea to pack ahead and have a test run to see how effective packing light can be. It also means you can see what works and what doesn’t, and potentially reduce the items you are taking with you. Making even a few small changes can add up to a big difference.

Furthermore you’ll have time to see how comfortable you are and whether you’re travelling light enough. Plan your schedule while you’re away and use this to assess how much gear you’ll need. Make a separate list of essentials – things you cannot leave home without – and go from there. In short, take your time to get things right and it becomes much easier to travel light.

Do you guys have any tips? Leave them in the comments below!

About the Author

Josh Hansen


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