Birgitta posted the following question on my Travel with Aging Parents Facebook page:
Is it possible to rent electric wheelchairs or carts in Sweden? I have a friend who is traveling there with his mom, and she can’t walk long distances. In Las Vegas the casinos rent out carts like the ones you find in the grocery store, but more rugged for outdoor use. Thanks!
This is an excellent question Birgitta! Not only did it inspire me to find out exactly how to rent a wheelchair in Sweden, it also got me thinking about the process for figuring out how to rent a wheelchair for any trip. Additionally, my research turned up some spectacular wheelchair rental options that I have to share with you!
I’ll start with Sweden, a very accessible country for those with limited mobility. It is possible to rent electric wheelchairs throughout Sweden, but you have to do some legwork to find facilities in the specific part of the country you are visiting. Start your research by searching the Internet for “wheelchair rentals in [name of place in Sweden].” One resource we found on the internet is the Sweden page on the website Geographia. It lists three companies that provide wheelchair rentals (look in the Travel Facts section under “Travel for the Physically Challenged.”) Before you depart, however, contact these companies to find out if they offer electric wheelchair rentals where you’re headed.
You can also consider taking an electric wheelchair with you (such as the Pride Jazzy Select wheelchair show in the picture to the right) —either your own or one you’ve rented in the USA. Foldable power wheelchairs are also a terrific option: they’re much lighter and take up less room than their non-foldable counterparts, making them easier to transport. If you decide to take any type of electric wheelchair with you when you travel, though, first check out Mobility International USA’s website for important information and tips on voltage converters, plug adapters, and travel insurance coverage for these devices.
Whether you’re traveling abroad or domestically, you can easily find out if wheelchair rentals are available at your destination by searching online for the name of the location and “wheelchair rentals.” In the USA alone, for example, you’ll find options in many regions, including Care Medical Equipment (Orlando, Florida) and Mobility Wheelers (Arizona). Many destinations have tourism boards that can answer questions on this subject; you can find their contact information by doing Internet searches for a location name and “tourism board.”
While we’re on the topic of wheelchair rentals, I have a couple of gems to share with you. One of my readers recently sent me an e-mail encouraging people with mobility challenges to consider Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, as a travel destination. On a visit there with her 70-year-old mother, they rented a beach-friendly wheelchair (shown on the left)—that moved easily over sand and even into shallow water!—from the nonprofit organization Citizens’ Right to Access Beaches (CRAB).
You never know what you’ll find through keyword searches on the Internet. When I was looking up information on wheelchair rentals in Sweden, I came across a website called forHandicapTravelers.com that rents incredible amphibious wheelchairs to help people with mobility issues enjoy the waters of the Mexican Caribbean (see the picture to the right).
With just a little extra planning the mobility challenged can access many travel destinations. So don’t let mobility issues get in the way of seeing the world or checking places off your bucket list!