Including You: A Disability Rights Arkansas Podcast

Unpacking Accessible Travel Tips: Part 2

July 14, 2023 Disability Rights Arkansas Season 1 Episode 7
Including You: A Disability Rights Arkansas Podcast
Unpacking Accessible Travel Tips: Part 2
Including You: A Disability Rights AR Podcast
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Show Notes Transcript

In part 2 of our travel series, we start at the beginning – where you stay and things to consider when booking it – whether that is a hotel, Air B&B or VRBO. We are also highlighting some great tips to be sure you can truly be involved in your next beach or ski trip.

Guests

  • Jen Goodwin -  Staff Attorney, Disability Rights Arkansas
  • Mollie Goodwin - Advocate, Disability Rights Arkansas

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Lani Jennings-Hall:

At Disability Rights Arkansas, we are focused on guidance for people with disabilities on how to navigate your rights, things that help with your everyday life, and how to navigate the complex systems of how to get the support you need. In this podcast, Including You, we bring that information directly to you, the listener on things like accessibility questions, career and care, and even the nuances of love life with a disability. Everyone has the right to know their rights, everyone, Including You. I'm your host, Lani Jennings-Hall. I'm excited to be back with part two of our travel series with Jen Goodwin and Mollie Hernandez. This time we're back to talk about well, really to start at the beginning where you stay and things to consider when booking it, whether it's a hotel, Airbnb, or VRBO. We're also highlighting some great tips to be sure you can truly be involved in your next beach trip. Thank you, Jen and Mollie, and welcome back to Including You. You were talking about the Access Pass. Those are at a lot of different theme parks. Right. This is not just solo to Disney, but there are a lot of these theme parks offer some form of Access Pass.

Mollie Hernandez:

Yes, so I live with a group of thrill seekers. So we hit a lot of theme parks. Whenever you purchase your tickets, you can always number one, ask about if there are any disability discounts, what we refer to them as perks. So you can ask that. And then when you get into the park, if it's not available at the ticket counter, usually you can go to Guest Services and request an ease of access pass, because that is what makes getting on and off some rides safer. Also, it eliminates waiting in line, sometimes you get to move to the front of the line. So which that's huge. I mean, my kids have no idea what it's like to wait in these crazy long lines. Depending on the park like Disney, they now have Disney Genie, which those are kind of like for those of us in the days of old the Fast Pass and stuff. They're different things that work with phone apps, even your access pass may work the same way. It may work in conjunction with those. So do your research beforehand about access passes and getting into theme parks and how you use them because they are great. And it does very much help from from just the actual ease of getting on and off a ride to that wait time being reduced because depending on your disability, you may not have the stamina to wait in long lines in queue for a ride.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

While we're talking about passes, let's let's kind of transition a little bit to a different kind of park. You know, your your national parks or state parks. There's the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Access Pass is the full name of it. I mean, there are seven I think national parks in Arkansas alone. I mean, so just in Arkansas, that's a really cool, a cool benefit. Y'all wanna talk a little bit about that specific pass?

Mollie Hernandez:

So that pass, by my understanding, and Jen, you may have to correct me, it allows you and anyone in your car free access to the National Park. I think there are even some discounts associated with things within the park. But that might vary park by park, so I would say do your research, but you can get that pass at most national parks. I did read that not all of them offer that pass. But once you have the pass, it's good. But you can also request it by mail or online. So it's it's a great thing. It's a nice perk.

Jen Goodwin:

Yeah, because I know I've been in some parks in Arkansas where if you had that pass, it just offered free parking.

Mollie Hernandez:

With the Arkansas State Parks, you do get a 50% discount on camping which can be quite substantial. And my family has used that before. You do have to document that you have a disability, or even if you use vocational rehabilitation services, they can provide documentation that you have a disability. So it's not just on your honor that they're going to want some documentation for both the national parks pass and state parks. But once you have that it's a really good thing to use. And their wording on that, of course working in the field of disability advocacy, I'm always interested in how they word what their definition of disability is. And I think it was something like 100% completely and permanently disabled you know, which seemed very broad but anyhow, the they will tell you what they need to be able to confirm that you do have a disability and you are properly using that access.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

While we're talking about you know parks and

Mollie Hernandez:

That's fantastic. And again, we live in all this, let's just kind of, I mean Arkansas, obviously Arkansas, which is where we're recording at currently has a lot the natural state, and it's important that everyone have the of assessible trails in general. But there is a lot of information out there that you can find if they are accessible opportunity to enjoy what our state has to offer. So I'm glad specifically for wheelchair users. And then other ways too, I know I specifically use an app called AllTrails. And you can filter if the trail is wheelchair accessible, you can to know that that's there. And even the Video Preview, clearly get a video tour of part of the trails, you can get a typed description of what the trail terrain is like, the difficulty and all that. And then of course, reviews of the trail. So I can't see the video. But that would be great to be able to I know that's a pretty helpful tool that's out there, there's a free and a paid version of that that is is always helpful for us when we go hiking. And like I said, there is that kind of, show to my family and say Hey, check this out. Do you think that filter that does have the option for wheelchair accessible trails as well. this would be great? Boomer loves to hike, love, love loves to hike. So we try and hit state parks whenever we can to enjoy those parts of our state.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

You and Boomer have taken many different types of adventures. So let's talk a little bit about the National Sports Center for the Disabled.

Mollie Hernandez:

Yes, so I definitely want to give a shout out to the National Sports Center for the Disabled, they're located in Colorado. I live with a family of snowboarders, skiers, they love the snow sports. So by registering with the National Sports Center for the Disabled, their location in Winter Park, Colorado, which is an amazing ski resort, I'm able to participate in accessible skiing. And they of course, they work with me as a blind skier. I do have a T-shirt that says"World's Okay-ist Skier." Keep in mind, you do not have to be skilled, they take you from the very basics. And I've always said as a parent with a disability, I've never wanted my kids to feel like I'm a sideline parent, like I'm going to be in it with them. And when they started skiing and snowboarding and loving it, I didn't want to be just sitting fireside, some days I do, but most of the time I wanted to be out there with them. So that program enabled me to go out there and be on the slopes for them to say that mom did it too. But for me to just be there with them and in the moment and have those family pictures of four of my husband myself, my kids were all out there. And then there's you can do the alpine skiing, you can do cross country skiing, there's a ton of stuff that you can do. Boomer does not ski with me. He'll hang out in the condo while I'm doing that, but then he enjoys lots of time just getting to romp and play in the snow when I'm not doing ski sports. The National Sports Center for the Disabled, they also have summer programs. So I'm sure we'll have a link for them to check them out because there's summer hiking, mountain climbing. So so many different things, whitewater rafting, there's a lot of different stuff. So check them out online and see what they have. If you're more of an adventurous type go, certainly check them out and see if there's something that would interest you.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

I will also add many people that plan their vacations around races. There are many races that have a special adapted division as well. So if that is your thing, definitely check that out as well because many, many races now have a special adaptive division that will have you know, buddy runners, they'll have a lot of different additions.

Mollie Hernandez:

If you want to get into traveling and getting into other accessible sports competitively. Check out Achilles International. I'm kind of a fan. Sports travel is a big thing. Both of my kids play tennis. My husband was and still is a tennis player but University tennis playing you travel a lot connected to what your kids do and what they're interested in. So there certainly is an entire discussion to be had around sports and travel.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

Jen I'm looking forward to the beach vacation. Hit us with some tips for traveling to the beach.

Jen Goodwin:

So while Mollie is busy going and being sporty and doing all of those things, I'm busy going and relaxing and playing with my kids in the sand and in the pool and that sort of thing. No thanks on all the extra sporty time. So I did that in high school and now I just like to hang out and relax on my

Lani Jennings-Hall:

Didn't you jump out of a plane or something vacations for the most part unless you have a fun roller coaster and then I will jump on that anytime possible. While I'm there. I will say the questions that they asked you on if your family or yourself would be able to get you out of the car and down the ladder if your roller coaster is to get stopped always make me giggle because I think I check the box and say yes, but it's always no, you will call the fire department. as well? And they asked some similar wonky questions?

Jen Goodwin:

My jumping out of a plane was pre-injury. Yes, but I do have friends that have gone skydiving post injury as well. And yeah, it's always funny the questions that we get asked, so it's on my list, but maybe once my kids are grown.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

When you do, we'll do a podcast episode on that. So we can hear all about the experience of that.

Mollie Hernandez:

I did indoor skydiving. And what that taught me was that if I ever actually have to jump out of a plane, I'm just taking it to the ground. The pictures from that y'all. I looked like a cat just thrown in the air. The rest of my family had that beautiful arched back skydiver pose. You can see spit going up my goggles like I'm so stiff. And it was like any other touristy thing, because they want to sell you the pictures of it. And you're in like a group of people. They had like, the pictures flashing up on a big screen, so you could purchase it. When mine came up all the people, the strangers just laughed. I was like, yeah, no, we're not buying that picture. It was kind of a sensory deprivation thing. It's kind of a big wind tunnel. Like they have jet engines that are very loud, which essentially made me deaf blind. So that is that was great. It was like they were like, Oh, we got this. And you're in like the wind suit. I mean, you you look the part that the goggles and stuff and they were like, Hey, we're going to tap you one time to move your left arm or one time to move your right, two times for your right arm or whatever. It's supposed to be a system of taps. Since I couldn't follow any physical directions. I went in there and lost my mind. I was terrible. I want out I mean, you should have seen me. I was all but climbing the person that was assisting me to like, get to the door and get out. It was it was terrible. My family will not let me live it now. We were in Houston this past weekend for the Taylor Swift concert. And my husband was like, Oh, look indoor skydiving. And I was like, yeah, no, never again.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

Your family bought the photo.

Mollie Hernandez:

There are videos that I have issued some serious threats if they ever get leaked, like my husband has it all well documented. And yeah, the drool that flew out of my mouth and just stuck to the glasses, I think was the epic part. I mean, just think of the cat thrown in the air. That was my pose.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

So when you don't want to jump out of a plane Jen, and you want to lounge on a beach?

Jen Goodwin:

Oh, I would absolutely do that. But that was kind of my take on skydiving. before my injury was I just felt like my cheeks were flapping in the wind. And I had tears running up the side of my face just not because I was crying just because my eyes are watering and it was pouring up the side. And then when the strap hits your legs when you pull the chute and it's just not comfortable. But I will say when in Colorado, I tried to do the Sky Coaster that they have over the Royal Gorge Bridge. And I was denied they told me that I had to have control of my legs to be able to do that. I think they just didn't want to take the time to get me in the harness to make that happen. So I was really disappointed. But I will say the rest of the park there was pretty accessible. And we really enjoyed our time while we were there. Except and this story just kind of makes me giggle too. We got on the gondola which goes it's attached through cable cars, and it's the cable car that goes across the Royal Gorge Bridge, which is really awesome, except we got to the other side. And they decided that they needed to shut it down because it was too windy. So everyone else that was on there, were able to just walk across the big bridge and get back to safety on the other side. And so they made me get off the gondola while we got to an area where there were two steps. I'm in a power wheelchair that's 400 pounds, and there are no ramps. And so I looked at the guys and I said okay, so are you going to lift me down? No, I take that back. I was in a manual wheelchair. So I asked them if they would help lift me down those stairs so that I could get back down and around and they told me know that that would be a safety hazard. So instead, they just put me back on the gondola with my family with a 30 plus mile per hour winds. Everyone else went back the safe way and then my family and I took the gondola in the wind. So a new take on Gone With the Wind, I guess. So. That's where I get my thrills these days, I guess. But it was good time. And roller coasters too. The first time I got on an upside down roller coaster. I was headed straight up when my legs started coming at me. And I looked at the person who was riding with me and he looked at me and he said, Oh my gosh, what are we going to do with your legs? And I said, Well, let's pray. Dear Jesus if I fall out of this roller coaster, I'll see you in a few minutes, Love you, Jen. And we finished the ride, I'm pretty sure he was hanging on to me like Tarzan by the time we got to the end, and he had tears coming out his face, and I just had a blast. And that started my love for roller coasters, even postinjury. I am definitely a beach creature even now for sure. But sand and wheelchairs are not a great combination, go figure. So oftentimes, we've got a few options. And we've tried multiple different things over the years. So the condo that my family and Diane, it actually has a really nice boardwalk that goes like halfway down to the beach with a ramp at the end of that, but you get to the end, and you're just in solid sand, even at that point and a long way away from both the beach chairs and the water. So while the ramp is really nice to have, it's still not going to get me to where I need to be. So there are a couple different options, this condo actually does provide some power beach wheelchairs, which are fantastic. They just have big wheels on them, and then they have power. So it takes a little like I said before, there's always a learning curve when you're in a new chair. So with that, when I kind of end up jumping back and forth and flipping in a little backwards that it's got to be bars, it's fine. But the problem with that is that usually even though they're free, people end up using them and they're not available. So the other option there is to rent a power beach chair or a manual beach chair that can be manually pushed in the sand as well. Both of those just have larger tires on them to allow them to go over the sand.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

I read an article recently of the new wheelchairs that you can like basically take off roading. I don't know if that's like exactly what they're termed, but like they can go on some of the more treacherous hike is a

Jen Goodwin:

Are those type chairs like where they have the little bit more rough hikes, I guess. track on them? Or do they have larger wheels,

Lani Jennings-Hall:

I wasn't sure I didn't know if they were like the same or not.

Jen Goodwin:

No, usually the ones that you're gonna get, they just have a little bit bigger tires, these are like almost balloon tires. So they're really big. I mean, we're talking probably almost a foot wide on the tires. And they're real soft. And they're made specifically for this land. And they're made to where they can get wet to some degree, you know, assist the merge the power in the water at all. But you can get real close to the water and you know, get up there where everyone's sticking their feet in the water. So anyway, those are pretty cool. The other thing that I found, and if you happen to be in Arkansas, then you should check them out from iCan, because they actually have these available now for you. It's called Access track. And so they come in sets of three and the mats are probably three feet by three feet. And so then you get like a nine foot track. And so what they are is they are plastic mats that have holes in them, but you lay them out in the sand so that your chair can actually go over them. And you need at least two sets of them because you will down the three and then you pick up the set behind it and put it in front. And so you're kind of building a road for yourself. And when I say for yourself, I mean someone is helping you with that. So usually my family will carry two sets of those down to the beach as well. So that way I can get to the beach chair or whatever, if we don't pay for one of the beach chairs there. So that way, I'll just take a manual chair and can actually get out to you know, one of the standard beach chairs or to the water that way without having all the extra expense because those beach chairs, if they are provided free through the condo or through the public beach that you're going to then they end up being like $100 a day. And so it gets to be really expensive. And you're paying for that whether it's raining or whatever, and you don't even go to the beach that day. So I usually leave that expense out because a lot of times I am a pool girl and I don't need all of that extra trouble to be able to get out there and my kids play in the pool as much as they play in the oceans so but I never want to miss out on the trip actually being down at the sand and involved with my kids. And with my family. I want to be out there and involved as much as possible. So always make at least one or two trips down to the sand on every trip that we're on some beaches I will say now and these are really really awesome if you can find them. I've seen them in Virginia Beach, they had the boardwalk but then at certain access points on the boardwalk they actually have a ramp that goes all the way down to the water. And so it's made for people with all different mobility issues or able bodied people as well to be able to you know, pull your stroller or whatever you have down to the sand and they're really handy to have as well. So be sure to look for those.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

One of the biggest tips I feel like I've heard reiterate a lot is doing your research. You know what's what's available to you in advance, do you need to reserve and I think this comes right into play with hotels, Airbnb, condos, wherever you're staying all of it entails doing your research. Mollie, do you want to talk a little bit about when your last experiences with Airbnb?

Mollie Hernandez:

For those of us with disabilities, depending on the disability, it can be very beneficial number one to book an accessible room, they're not as easy to find if you're looking for condos and homes to be able to find accessible. And on our last trip to go skiing actually, I told my husband, I was like, You know what we're going to be in a condo, so we're gonna have more space, I don't see that we need to look for accessible when I go to a hotel, I typically look for an accessible room, it does not have to be wheelchair accessible, and Jen will probably talk a little bit more about that, because there is a difference, I don't need a roll in shower. But I do need extra space to accommodate the fact that I may have a dog crate, I'll definitely have a dog, a feeding station, you know, just that little bit of extra room helps not only accommodate the dog, but I'm at a heightened risk of walking into the corners of furniture in an unfamiliar environment, leaning over in a crowded area and really busting my head open. So I do always look for accessible rooms with hotels just for those reasons. However, this last time, I was like, don't look for accessible condos, that'll be bigger than a hotel room. And we truly weren't thinking because we got there. And it was on a second floor with an outside staircase, you know, things that we just weren't thinking about, you know, I can manage stairs without a problem inside. But in this case, it was a ton of snow. The staircases were kind of metal with a little bit of grip texture that I really worried about my dog's paws with so then it was a case of making sure my dog had his boots on. And when you're living in the South, it's a little different remembering how to work a dog in the snow when you're not used to that and having the traction and stuff. So it was a simple mistake on our part, we were like, the floorplan of this condo looks good. We didn't think about stairs being outside and navigating in the snow. So definitely do your research. Regardless of what your disability is, you may have different needs than once you're out of your home that you want to look at accommodating.

Jen Goodwin:

And speaking of accessible rooms, for sure, you know, oftentimes pre injury, I would always booked through one of the secondary travel sites, so Priceline, Expedia, something like that. And whenever I was newly injured, they didn't have an option to get an accessible room. And, you know, I felt like it was unfair for me to not get the travel discounts that other people would get. But whenever I'd call the hotel, they couldn't necessarily guarantee and the travel sites say that they can't guarantee accessibility. So I would always call the hotel as soon as I booked that trip to make sure that they had an accessible room available. So now they have gotten a lot better to where most of the secondary sites also allow you to book a specific room based on your accessibility needs. But usually, I will go ahead and call the hotel myself just to confirm I want to make sure they have a note on my reservation and let them know that it is legit. And then I need it because I think that there are a lot of people who have inadvertently got put in an accessible room. They're like, Oh, wow, this is their, this is great, I'm always going to book an accessible room from then on. And so that takes the availability away for me because there's just a few of them available. And I truly have to have that to be able to get into the rooms sometimes. I've been to hotels where the bathroom door was not wide enough for my chair to get in a standard room. So I had to have an accessible room at one point, I went for role on Capitol Hill. And so everybody that was there for the conference, we were all chair users. And so they ran out of accessible room. So I was like, Well, my mom's gonna be with me, we've navigated all kinds of different, inaccessible places, we'll be fine. But then we found out that the door wasn't wide enough for my chair to get through. But in that conference, the hotel staff came and took the door off the hinges to allow me to get into it. So you know, it was blocking the tub area at that point. And I do need a roll in shower. And so those are the things that I really have to look for to make sure that not only is this thing, something that I can roll under, but the shower is something that I can get in and out of and that they have a good shower chair for me to sit on, so that I don't have to bring my own. So those are all concerns that I have whenever booking but I definitely recommend calling the hotel ahead of time again, it goes back to just being prepared. And this is coming from the girl who used to book my travel in the car when I was going from city to city and I was headed to the hotel now it's totally different and I have to plan usually months in advance to make sure that everything's gonna be accessible. And then sometimes I get there and I've thrown everything that I said out the window and then I put on my disability attorney hat again and make sure that I know that I know my rights. So in those cases, I have been transferred to another hotel, maybe a sister property that they've had so that they had an accessible room whenever they had given away the last thing accessible room, because even though you book it, if you get there later than somebody else's who asks for a specific room, then a lot of times they'll take your room. And so that happens a lot. We've been in those situations, and it's very frustrating. But for the most part, they're usually very accommodating. I've also gotten upgrades in those situations where they've upgraded my family to mislead or, you know, whatever to be accommodating. So, you know, there are perks, As Mollie mentioned before that have come with it. And I always take those when I get them because there's enough to weed through otherwise,

Lani Jennings-Hall:

I will definitely kind of reiterate what you were saying Jen of being very, very specific, because when someone at a hotel hears an assessable room, they may not, as you guys have pointed out, know the difference to differentiate the two. So being very specific, and continue to advocate for yourself, because a lot of times I'm learning it's, it's just a lack of knowledge, they may not understand that, oh, there does need to be a grab bar here, or, Oh, I can't get my chair underneath this sink, or, okay, well, your assessable bathrooms are closed off, I need that option. And so it's really just communicating, I feel like in a lot of instances that in standing like, like advocating for yourself, okay, these are the things that I have to have.

Mollie Hernandez:

The same thing goes for service animals checking into the properties, let them know it's a service animal. Unfortunately, there is a lot of exploitation of using service animals where people are saying, service animal, it's really not, it's they just want to be able to get their pet in for free. So check your fees, make sure you're not being charged a room deposit or a pet deposit, that you're not being charged an additional fee for you know, having had a pet in the room a cleaning fee. So always make sure of that. But I will say be very clear about your service animal. I never take offense, when someone from the hotel says is that a service animal, I'm not going to make them fish it out of me, I'll say this is a seeing eye dog, I am blind, he is trying to guide me. I give them all the information. So they don't have to feel like you're having to pull that all out of me they have the right to ask two questions. Is it a service animal? And what service has he been trained to perform? I give that upfront because, again, it's something they need to know in order to properly accommodate me, I'm still not totally clear on where the laws fall for Airbnb, because these are privately owned by individuals. So in our experience with Airbnb, or VRBO, we've told them upfront because I have had a fear that an owner because it's a private owner would say, No, we're not doing that we don't do pets of any kind. Even though he's not a pet, I always let them know. And they'd been great, but I just never wanted to get to a property and then suddenly not have a place to stay because I didn't disclose that there was an animal, I feel like they have to comply with ADA. Even though it's technically owned by a private person, they are contracting with a greater business at large to run out their properties. But to be on the safe side, check, you know, inform them, I try not to surprise anyone that a big dog is going to be on their property.

Jen Goodwin:

I always like to add to be nice too. I have found that going in nice and just asking questions and just explaining what your needs really gets you a long way. Like I said, I've been upgraded in a lot of situations, and it just comes from being kind first. And sometimes there's room for stepping up your game a little bit when you have to. But if you can be nice on the front end, it's going to take you a long way.

Mollie Hernandez:

Yes. And it honestly will pave the way for someone who comes after you. If someone's had a great experience. Like for me, if they've had a great experience with my guide dog, then I know they're not going to give a lot of problems for the next person that needs to come with a service animal.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

Sometimes if they absolutely just didn't know, I've run into this, in some instances with events, planning events, the person at a hotel or something just they just didn't know not that that's a you know, a great excuse. It's just an opportunity to educate at that point. And then ideally they can they're going to make it right, that doesn't always happen. But again, it does it first put on the kindness hat and educate where you can and hopefully it'll be made better.

Jen Goodwin:

A little tip for traveling in hotels, especially if you're going to be traveling alone to and we do it with my family all the time, but we bring like power cords and we bring power strips with us because a lot of times I recently stayed in a hotel by myself and I got there and realized that I couldn't reach any of the outlets you know they were bus behind the bedside table and I needed to plug my chair in for the night and know that I wouldn't have access to that. So luckily I knew somebody with me and they were able to go in and plug stuff in for me but I wouldn't have been able to plug it in again. So I had a power strip that was you know, put in a position where I could reach it. So that's just a tip that we've learned along the way but also if you do get in a situation and you are alone, they feel free to ask the hotel staff or someone to come up and help. They don't mind doing stuff like that as long as they're not busy and the only person working there so but PowerStrips are definitely your friend when traveling and hotel and you got lots of things to plug in.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

Let's wrap up this segment with travel tips with Jen and Mollie. Do y'all have any kind of general travel tips that you would like our listeners to hear?

Mollie Hernandez:

My favorite one and this is as a mom traveling with children and a husband packing. So I'm blind and you know coordinating all those outfits and making sure everyone has everything they need for every day that you're traveling. We started when my children were very, very young buying depending on if we were traveling with winter gear or summer gear gallon, two gallon ziplock bags. And I would we create assembly lines with the clothes because keep in mind, if we just started unpacking suitcases, the moment you open a suitcase, it's not well organized, who knows what I'm wearing, who knows what the children would be wearing. So we'd start in assembly line of, you know, shirt, pants, socks, underwear, you know, whatever you need, put it in a Ziploc bag, and then it's kind of cool, because it becomes a space saver, you squish all the air out to seal it up. When the kids were little, I'd let them you know, really draw on design on their bags, so they knew it was theirs. And you know, then I would say okay, we're gonna be gone for seven days, does everyone have at least seven outfits. And that way, when they come out of the shower, or you know, wake up in the morning, I'd be like, Okay, here's your bag, get get dressed. And it was just for me a great way to stay organized as a blind mom, make sure everyone had their clothes packed. And they had enough. And you know, to this day, now I don't have to do it as much, you know, my kids are grown. And if you're having to repeat outfits, it's your own fault. You had plenty of mourning, and you can count. So share it into this day. She's 15 She still loves that, that way of packing. Yeah, whenever we pull out our suitcases, you know, she was looking for the baggies to make sure she can do her outfits that way. I do it too. So now that's my tip.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

I love that. I'm so using this for the are going to the beach this summer, I'm thinking my my toddler is three and she loves she has to pick out her own clothes, I think that's such a good idea to get her involved in the packing and then my husband so he can pack his own clothes.

Mollie Hernandez:

Yes, oh, it has been the best best travel strategy I've had. So with or without disability, it's, especially with younger ones, it just keeps it organized.

Jen Goodwin:

And I would say the same thing with travel documents. So whenever I'm booking a trip, I always make sure that I'm printing out like I always, you know, have it all on my phone. But I like to have a paper copy in case heaven forbid I lose my phone or electronics go down whatever happens. But that way I get one of the clear cover folders that just has a clip on the side to clip all the papers in. But I have a copy of all of my hotel information, all of my flight information, when we get our boarding passes, I stick it right in there. And I'm able to clip it in. So that way I have you know, if I'm going on a work trip, it's got the conference schedule in it. So I know exactly where I need to be and when I need to be there for that. So that's one of the tips there. The other tip that I would say, as a wheelchair user, especially, is make sure that you have transportation available on the other end. So I've been stuck in plenty of airports where cabs weren't accessible. Or they only had two or three, I missed a flight once because there was not an accessible cab to get me back to the airport in time. And so usually, depending on where you are, there may be only two or three accessible cabs or super shuttle any of that sort of stuff we flew into Baltimore, I would if we got to the last minute change on the flight was into a different area of DC. And I ended up stuck in an airport until well after midnight that night, because there was no transportation to get me to the ER to the hotel that I was staying in. So be sure to plan ahead. Again, we say that again. But plan ahead on all of those. So that way you know that you're not going to be stuck when you get there. And things I mean, I've traveled so on a trip to New York, I've used a plane and a train, and a taxi, and a ferry, and a subway, and a city bus all in one trip. And you know most of them are accessible and we just make it work. We've actually used city buses in areas that maybe we wouldn't have otherwise. But because I was with the group then it was the easiest form of transportation that we could hop on and off of and it worked out great. So you know, just keep your mind open. And we will integrate bus schedules and train schedules and all the things and you get quite an experience with it. So it's kind of fun.

Mollie Hernandez:

Yeah, when you live in rural Arkansas, and you end up in like New York City or DC, where there's all these forums have accessible public transit. It's actually super exciting. Like the world seems so much bigger when you can hop on subways and buses that the best is that needle still fascinating how they just there's no steps, you can just get right onto them. So yeah, it's fun. It's just it's a liberating experience when when things are accessible.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

Thank you again, Jen and Molly and thank you listeners. Traveling, taking a vacation or trip or, frankly, just public transportation is a right for everyone. And sitting at the edge of the beach when your family is playing in the water, or not being able to access your room or even being left in the airport without the appropriate escort is not the full experience. You have the right to that full experience. Make sure to advocate for your rights shared on this series. Do your research and don't forget some of the really cool perks that are out there for you too. At Disability Rights Arkansas, we envision an Arkansas where people with disabilities are equal members in their communities and can dictate their lives through self determination. And as made clear in this podcast, you can't create that change without bringing self advocates to the table. If you are interested in more information, make sure to subscribe to this podcast and visit our website. And don't forget to leave a five star rating and a review.