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What to look for in a travel-friendly wheelchair

2nd April 2020 Print

A wheelchair is a form of mobility aid that is a vital part of life for many people around the world whose mobility is restricted in some way. Such aids can make a world of difference for many people, giving them a sense of freedom that can be difficult to find when one has restricted independence.

Instead of feeling down about these restrictions, you can easily find a wheelchair that fits your lifestyle and expectations to help you lift your spirits and keep living life to the fullest. 

Here’s what you should look for in a travel-friendly electric wheelchair before you purchase one.

Electric Wheelchairs vs. Manual Wheelchairs

There are different forms of wheelchairs that each have their own benefits and potential drawbacks. 

Physical Strength & Energy May Be Required

Electric wheelchairs are favored by many as they make it much easier for the user to travel and run errands independently. Manual wheelchairs often require a carer or another person to push the chair, which is not necessary with an electric wheelchair.

Consider the Class & Design of Wheelchairs

Electric wheelchairs can be designed in a number of different ways. Sites like Which describe how different classes of wheelchairs are more or less suited to use on the pavement and/or the road.

Design is also an important element of wheelchairs. Many electric wheelchairs are designed to be ergonomic and practical, as they become a huge part of the lives of their users. The Zoomer Chair is a good example, as it was designed to be easily driven with a joystick and to fit under a table.

Keep Travel-Friendliness in Mind

An electric wheelchair may be an especially good option for someone who likes to travel. The independence that an electric wheelchair can give you makes it much easier to explore places than it might be with a manual wheelchair. 

There are some considerations to make when traveling with an electric wheelchair, though.

Considerations When Traveling With An Electric Wheelchair

It’s often possible to fly with an electric wheelchair. However, it’s not possible under normal circumstances to take them into the cabin of a plane. If you use an electric wheelchair, you are generally given a manual chair before boarding the plane. This helps you on and off the plane until you get your electric wheelchair back.

Think About Weight & Durability

As such, it makes sense to look for an electric wheelchair that is especially light and durable if you intend to travel with it. This is because your electric wheelchair is going to be stowed in the cargo of the plane. You want a chair that is able to withstand some potential wear and tear, as well as rough handling in some cases.

Know the Battery Range

When looking for a wheelchair, you should consider that different chairs have different capabilities with regard to how long or far they can travel. You should look into the battery range of the chair and make this a priority if you intend to travel often. When you are traveling there is often less opportunity to charge or tend to your chair than normal.

Electric wheelchairs are often powered by batteries. If you want to travel a lot, then you should find a chair with great battery life. This should allow you to spend more time out and about without having to worry about the chair running out of power. You should also try to find a chair that is as suited to traveling on pavements and roads as possible.

Consider the Assembly

It may be necessary for the airline to disassemble and reassemble your chair to get it into the cargo hold. It’s therefore wise to choose a chair that can be easily taken apart, if possible. You may also want to bring a copy of the user’s manual with you when you travel. This often makes it much easier for the airline to work with the chair.

Wheelchairs and Airline Battery Policies

Some wheelchairs are battery-powered. There are often restrictions on taking batteries onto planes due to security and safety reasons. Despite these restrictions, you can usually take your wheelchair onto the plane if it is battery-powered. 

However, airlines often cannot accept wet batteries. If you want to travel with your chair, then it is definitely best to find one that uses dry batteries to minimize inconveniences in this way.

Find the Best Travel-Friendly Wheelchair for You

With these considerations in mind, it is certainly possible to find an electric wheelchair that is suited to traveling. You can continue to enjoy traveling to different places with an electric wheelchair as long as you find a chair that’s up to the task.