Families are at the heart of MDA's mission. A caring and concerned group of families started MDA in 1950, and we continue to relentlessly pursue our promise to free families from the life-threatening effects of muscular dystrophy and muscle-debilitating diseases today.
When planning a vacation, it can be stressful, especially when traveling with special needs; no matter what those needs are. There are many obstacles that can pop up that need to be planned for or avoided before you even leave the comfort of your home.
When we decided to take a Florida vacation, we knew from previous research that Daytona Beach was a spot we wanted to go to. We did extensive searches for places to stay all along that coastline. Yet each place we looked into turned out to be missing something on our list of must haves. Those of you that have traveled before know what I mean, I’m sure.
For us, we needed at least three bedrooms with one large enough for a power wheelchair to move around in; two bathrooms with one preferably attached to a bedroom and large enough to use a lift in; a kitchen; an entrance that had no steps and a low threshold; and an open space living area so that the power wheelchair could move around in.
I know it sounds like we were looking for a home to move into and that we were being picky, but really, we knew what would work for us from previous trips. Each family figures out their needs as they go along. If you settle for something that only minorly meets what you need, then the trip is going to cause you more aggravation; which is not why you go on vacation. Vacations are made for fun, relaxation, and memory building.
Back to our search…
We eventually went with a place we had stayed at before even though it was nearly two hours away from the places we wanted to visit. We learned from this trip to plan a little further in advance for a trip near a beach when you need to have a certain type of housing, especially when you are on a tight budget. If you are ever in the Orlando area and need a wheelchair friendly place to stay that even those not in a wheelchair can enjoy, we suggest checking out Caribe Cove. They have worked well for us and they are very close to the theme parks.
Visiting our favorite beach…
Years ago, we found out that Daytona Beach packs their beach so that people can drive their cars on it. With this knowledge, we knew it would be possible for a large power wheelchair to get on it with little to no problems. This packed beach allows those in a wheelchair to get close to the water without transferring out of their chair. Which for many means more comfort and peace-of-mind.
One tip we would like to share with you is to expect to make adjustments. While we had researched the trip and verified that the beach was still used to drive cars on, we forgot that holidays can alter the way of the beach.
We had decided to visit the beach for July 4thin order to watch fireworks over the ocean. The beach was still packed in order for cars to travel, but there were more people on the beach so cars were not traveling in the usual spots and did not have a fully compacted traveling lane for a wheelchair to easily navigate.
So, while we were at the beach, we were not able to get close to the water via the beach. We were able to find wheelchair friendly paths and a pier that allowed for close up water views. The use of the pier also allowed us to get an up-close experience with the fireworks that they let off for the 4th.
The take away for us on our beach vacation was plan early, do your research, plan for obstacles, and role with the punches when even the best laid plans fall short. Because even though the beach trip was not what we planned, it was time for us as a family to enjoy the ocean and create memories that would not have happened in our home hundreds of miles away from the ocean.
So, go ahead and plan from the comfort of your home for the areas of your trip you know you cannot compromise on, but if an obstacle comes up, find the positive side of the situation. Sometimes the unexpected and unplanned moments can produce some of the best memories. Happy travels!
For more information about the locations mentioned above, check out these links.
Daytona Beach: http://www.codb.us/index.aspx?NID=407
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