Your Stories Make Accessible Travel Important

Back in October, I sent out a 10-question survey to subscribers of my monthly wheelchair travel newsletter. I wanted to learn more about you and your travel interests, but I gained so much more.

A renewed passion. You see, I started this blog to share some of my travel experiences with an audience that I assumed would be quite small. But small it is not. Each month, tens of thousands of you come here looking for information that will help open your world. That is both humbling and exciting at the same time. Our lives are vibrant, and the movement of travel is enchanting. Of course my readership has grown and, in hindsight, that shouldn't have surprised me. Your passion is the same as mine - to seize the day.

Country road at sunset.
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What I Learned About WheelchairTravel.org Readers

Nearly half of the survey respondents have only joined our readership within the past 3 months. This is an exciting sign of growth for the blog. I was also happy to see that 25% of respondents have been following along for more than 6 months. Thank you for sticking with me as the website has evolved! Here are a few more statistics I was able to pull from your responses:

Connection to Disability

  • 65% of you are wheelchair users, with 50% relying on them full-time (like me!).
  • 18% of respondents said they have a friend or family member who uses a wheelchair.
  • 10% of readers are caregivers for a person with a disability - studying up on how to serve us better on hoiday!

Frequency of Accessible Trips or Vacations

I was inspired to learn that more of us are traveling than I assumed. Of those who responded to my survey:

  • 25% travel once per year.
  • 43% travel 2-3 times per year.
  • 18% travel more than 3 times per year. ūüôā
  • 14% of you haven't traveled yet - I'll keep working to inspire you!

Travel Interests

Up to now, I've traveled to places I thought you might be interested in. I've also added a few trips based on my own bucket list. But, I'll now aim to select destinations based on the regions of the world respondents said they were MOST interested in:

  • United States & Canada, 39%
  • Europe, 33%
  • Mexico, Caribbean & South America, 10%
  • Asia & Middle East, 7%
  • Australia & New Zealand, 7%
  • Africa, 4%

Although the survey was anonymous and I did not ask for any identifying information, these results are actually very close to the distribution of my website's traffic across the world. If your preferred world region was in the minority, don't fret - I'll still be keeping a diverse travel itinerary across multiple continents! ūüôā

PHOTO: World map with a passport, camera and spectacles laid on top of it.
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The Inspiration of You

The final survey question was for open-ended comments and suggestions. I read each one, and was inspired by so many. Here are a few that really touched me. Because the survey was anonymous, I couldn't reply to the respondents, but have done so here:

CP is a life long journey and at 47 I am finding a wheelchair necessary. I am really clumsy with it. It is turning me into someone who is afraid...I think wheelchair life is for people who have transitioned and I am getting there but the truth is I am scared. I need pointers about how to be the best me in my manual chair since my legs...are ok but not the best option anymore. I feel behind and left behind. --Anonymous

Disability is a lifelong journey for many of us. I want to build a community of travelers of all abilities who can come together and support one another. This website will continue to grow, and a new way to interact and exchange tips with your fellow readers is coming.

I really appreciate the amount of detail that you provide in your articles. And your adventures are a fun way for me, now a non-traveler, to feel as if I could travel again (budget constraints, as well as health, prohibit much traveling these days). Perhaps writing about some low-cost trips? And I would highly recommend an Alaskan adventure; perhaps a trip up the Inside Passage? --Anonymous

Travel is definitely more costly for those of us who have additional needs relating to disability. I need to learn more about the vacation budgets of my readers, so perhaps that will come in a future survey. I have already written about ways to save money on wheelchair travel, and have begun to write reviews of accessible accommodation that include budget hostels and 2-3 star hotels.

My wife found herself "committed" to a wheelchair about nine months ago and was pretty depressed. We decided to take a trip abroad to prove to ourselves that this was still possible with a manual wheelchair. Your website was my main source to begin to understand what wheelchair travel involves, how to do it, what to look for, what to avoid and how to manage the whole process. We made a three week trip to Toronto and New York (We live in Israel). There were virtually no problems and we both enjoyed the trip. Thanks for a very informative and helpful website. --Manuel

Travel is one of the greatest expressions of life. With each trip, you proclaim to the world, to society and to yourself that you are still alive. Being seen out in the world is exhilarating, especially when it would be easier to stay home. I am so happy for you and your wife. Keep traveling and Mazel tov!

I am a full time wheelchair user and have avoided flying ever since I've used a wheelchair (since I was 16-- I'm now 23). I just thought it was too big of a risk! But I recently got a job interview in LA (I'm from Chicago) so I had no choice but to travel by air. I used your website as my resource for EVERYTHING and can't believe how much information you have on the website and how well organized it is! My trip went very well with absolutely no bumps and that is all thanks to you!! Please keep it up! --Courtney

I hope you got the job! Air travel gives me goosebumps every time, it is so enchanting. Thank you for following along!

A Heartfelt Request

I have tried to build WheelchairTravel.org into a resource that is useful to everyone - from the able-bodied to full-time wheelchair users like me. But no matter how hard I try to consider other disability perspectives, my travel adventures are shaped by my own abilities.

Would you consider writing a post about your own travel adventure for the blog?

The disabilities experienced by members of my readership, this community, are unique to each of us. There may be things that you can do that I cannot. There may be things I can do that you cannot. But by pooling the knowledge from all of our experiences, we can build a resource that has something for everyone.

I hope you will consider writing a blog post telling the story of your own vacation. We will all benefit from your willingness to share. If you'd like to learn more, click here. If you have a question, or want to submit something you have written - e-mail me at john@wheelchairtravel.org. And yes, you reach out just to say hello as well. ūüôā

I'd love for you to join me in opening the world for our brothers and sisters in this disability community we live in.

Final Thoughts

Through your responses to the survey, I learned that both seasoned explorers and those traveling with a disability for the first time are searching for inspiration and information about accessible travel. I hope I can be that resource for you, here at WheelchairTravel.org. If you're new to the site, here are a few places to get started:

With the renewed passion I gained from the reader survey, I will double down on my efforts to build the best and most trusted wheelchair travel resource online. To that end, I have some exciting trips coming up, and am eager to reveal a few of them here. I'm currently writing this post from Las Vegas, Nevada - look for some new Sin City posts soon! Next up is an exciting trip to Dallas, Texas. You'll also catch me in London, England, as well as the United Kingdom's Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar before the year is up.

But that's not all! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more announcements of my upcoming travel plans.

Thank you, as always, for reading WheelchairTravel.org, following my travels and for the honor of your time.

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