Wise Blue Yonder

Brought to you by Wise Blue Yonder – Your Limited Mobility Travel Experts

Your “home away from home” on a trip is a critical component of planning a trip you will enjoy. Some travelers favor luxury and special amenities, and others prefer to save their dollars for the experiences, the food or the night life. Regardless of your preference, getting a good night’s sleep, and staying in a convenient and safe location, will make a huge difference in your ability to have a great trip. A good night’s sleep helps stave off getting sick and helps you get the energy you need for your sightseeing and activities. A proper bed, good climate control, showers and sinks that are easy to use, and access to a nearby restaurant, bar or market in the hotel should not be overlooked.


If you or someone in your party has limited mobility and you plan to stay in a hotel, it’s very important to plan ahead and ask clear questions so that you fully understand what your lodging situation will be.


The Wise Blue Yonder Team has vetted a set of 10 questions you should ask prior to booking your accommodations.


  1. Room set-up:
    • What are the room set-ups like and how do they differ? Are suites different than studios in terms of accessibility?
    • If a handicap-accessible room is needed, do you have “handicapped accessible” rooms?”
    • Do you have any pictures of the room, including the bathroom, balcony, entryway, clothing storage areas and entryway?
    • Can I have a room close to the elevator and common areas within the resort or hotel?

  2. Parking and arrival:
    • Is there handicapped parking, a handicapped accessible airport shuttle, or ramps?
    • How far is the walk from the hotel entrance or parking lot to the rooms? (Some hotels are HUGE! And once you check in you could still have a very long walk to your hotel room.)

  3. Hotel entrance:
    • Are there stairs or a ramp to enter the hotel? If there are stairs, how many and are there railings?
    • Is there a wheelchair lift if needed?

  4. Hallways and lobby space:
    • In the main areas, are the floors flat and even? Or are they cobblestone or textured?
    • Are lobby areas raised or inset? If so, is there an easy and safe way to access those areas? For example, do they have a ramp, stairs with a railing, or lobby options that do not require going up or down stairs to get to sitting areas, bars and restaurants?


  5. Bathrooms:
    • Is the shower accessible via tub or walk-in?
    • Are there grab bars and non-slip surfaces?
    • Can I reach and work the faucet handles and showerheads?
    • Is there a roll-in shower or shower chair if needed?
    • What are the dimensions and layout of the bathroom?


  6. Movability:
    • How spacious is the room? Is it clutter free?
    • Are there rugs or furniture I will not be able to sit in, get out of, or use?
    • Is there a place where I can store and access my luggage without having to bend or reach places that cause me to be unsafe?
    • Can mobility devices such as scooters, canes, crutches and wheelchairs safely work within the space?


  7. The bed:
    • If your handi-capability is easily affected by the bed you rest in, do not take this one lightly!
    • What is the bed height? If the bed is too tall, ask if the box spring is able to be removed to lower the bed to an accessible height. If it is too low, ask if they have rooms with higher beds.
    • Are the beds firm, soft? What brand are they?
    • How many pillows can I have?
    • If allergies, do the pillows come in foam, down, or other?


  8. Elevator:
    • Is there an elevator and is it currently in operation?
    • How many are they and is there always one in operation or are they sometimes (or often) out of order?
    • If you’re using a wheelchair or other mobility device, confirm the dimensions of the elevator to make sure your device fits. (In our travels, we have seen elevators that literally cannot fit a chair!)


  9. Restaurants, pools and hotel amenities:
    • How accessible are restaurants, pools and other hotel amenities? Do they require a long walk from the hotel rooms?
    • Are stairs involved to access them? It is common for pools to have pretty but difficult-to-navigate bridges to access them and for restaurants to be rooftop or in an elevated location.
    • In the pool area, does the pool have zero-depth entry or a railing to easily enter and exit the pool?
    • What about the whirlpool? Does it have railings for easy and safe in and out access?
    • If there are shops, are the entryways free of signs and displays to easily enter? Are there inclines, declines or stairs involved?


  10. Neighborhood accessibility:
    • How accessible is the surrounding neighborhood? Are there steep curbs and difficult sidewalks, or is it easy to navigate?
    • Is the outside terrain or street uneven?
    • Can I get to the main attractions I plan to visit easily and within a reasonable timeframe?
    • Are taxis/Ubers/public transportation available nearby?

Pro Tips:

Call hotels you are exploring during the day when the full-time staff are working and ask to talk to a supervisor so that you can be sure you are getting answers from a person who likely has experience with hotel’s accommodations.

Ask for pictures of the main areas and rooms, or even consider asking the staff to FaceTime with you and offer a virtual tour.

Book your hotel as far in advance as possible to secure an accessible room if you need one. Hotels are required to hold accessible rooms for guests with disabilities until all standard rooms in that class are sold. But if there aren’t any left, try asking for a free upgrade to a more spacious room. They will sometimes be able to accommodate you.

If you run into any difficulties when you arrive, explain that you called ahead. And even if you didn’t, always communicate your needs clearly and firmly. You and those you love deserve a stay that is comfortable, inviting and safe for you, regardless of your abilities.


Also consider leaving a review of your stay on the hotel website for future travelers with limited mobility. Was the hotel accessible? Were they accommodating? How was your stay? Sharing about your experience can be a big help to future travelers!


Share your feedback!

If you use this guide, let us know if it helped you book the perfect lodging for you! Share your hotel photos, your experiences and make us all a little wiser as we wander!

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