Josh is an 8 year old wheelchair user living with Sacral Agenesis. Affecting 1 in 25,000 people, Sacral Agenesis often results in a missing tailbone, malformation of several vertebrae, no knee caps, club feet and bladder and bowel problems. Josh also only has one kidney. But if you see Josh wheeling around you’ll have to run fast to catch him for a chat, he’s a speed demon! Fortunately, we managed to slow him down long enough to ask him to share his tips for travelling with a wheelchair.
15 Tips for Travelling with Wheelchair from a Kid’s Perspective
My name is Josh, I am 8 years old and I have travelled a lot since I was a baby.
Whether it is just interstate, New Zealand, America or Mexico these are just a few places I have been and when I win some gold medals at the Paralympics I want to travel more. Maybe I could travel and be like Jeremy Wade from River Monsters.
Anyway, as an avid traveller here are some tips I have put together.
- Cover your nose so you don’t smell the aeroplane fuel. When I board the plane I am always the first on and usually have to wait down the bottom for the lift. And it stinks. Then when we are inside the plane, it still stinks. It makes me feel sick so cover your nose but this brings me to number.
- Before you even sit down, check how many sick bags you have in front of you. My Mum always makes sure I have heaps because my tummy feels funny sometimes and I might be sick.
- Always turn up early to check in because my Mum always forgets to tell them I am in a wheelchair. So when you are early it is the perfect time to ask them for an upgrade. If they don’t upgrade you they usually let us have a spare seat.
- Bring your own charger for your electronics in your carry on so when you are waiting you can play Minecraft without waiting for your parents.
- Don’t forget to download the WIFI apps for the planes before you get to the airport.
- When you are going through customs always look for the wheelchair sign, it’s faster. When we go to America I like it because someone always comes to help my Mum. They push me so I can relax and they help us all the way till we get our bags.
- Never sit backwards on a bus or train- I get sick. Make sure you take some aeroplane bags with you.
- Always pack a spare change of clothes/personal items like catheters and pull-ups in your carry on. One day my Mum and I were in DFW and I spewed all over my shoes, afos and clothes. My Mum forgot to pack spare clothes and I had to wear an adults t-shirt. That wasn’t much fun except we got upgraded.
- Always pack a spare tube or two for your wheelchair tyres. Its not fun having flat tyres after a 12-hour flight.
- Always ask for WIFI passwords.
- Talk to everybody you meet. Especially if you are in their country. It’s more fun doing what the locals suggest vs doing the tourist things.
- Try some new food you wouldn’t usually eat. I ate a jalapeno last time.
- Don’t eat too many hot dogs. They make you feel sick.
- You should always bomb (go fast down the ramp) the big tunnels from the gate to the plane in your wheelchair.
- If you have to go in one of those aeroplane wheelchairs, freak everybody out by pushing it yourself.