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Tips for traveling with crutches

Updated March 23, 2017

If you have a leg injury and are currently using crutches, don't let that get in the way of your travel plans. Although travelling can be more difficult on crutches, if you plan ahead you can have a more comfortable journey.

Navigating the Airport

Transportation Security Administration rules require that all crutches undergo X-ray screening. Screening agents, therefore, must assist all passengers who have mobility issues until they are able to pick up their crutches. If you find you are not getting the assistance you need, or are left standing in an uncomfortable position, inform a TSA agent so he can get you a chair or reunite you with you crutches.

Airlines are also required to assist travellers who use crutches. When booking your ticket, inform the customer service operator that you use crutches so the airline can issue you a pre-boarding pass. Pre-boarding passes allow passengers to board the plane first and get settled before general boarding begins.

Consider travelling with a pair of collapsible crutches. Collapsible crutches fold up and can easily fit in your seat pocket, under your seat or in the overhead bins. Before travelling, talk to your doctor about the best kinds of collapsible crutches; they come in both forearm and traditional styles.

Carry-on Baggage

Carry-on baggage should be limited when you are travelling with crutches. Keeping your arms free is important. Consider carrying a backpack instead. When packing carry-on luggage take only essential items in your backpack. Medications, passport, identification card, tickets and entertainment items all fit nicely in a backpack, allowing you easier mobility.

To help keep your backpack as light as possible, ask other family members if you can store other essentials in their carry-on luggage. A change of clothes and personal care items are important if you are travelling on a longer flight and will provide you with solace if your checked baggage gets lost.

Hotel Accommodations

Before leaving on your vacation check with your hotel to make sure it is equipped to deal with your disability. Ask if the hotel has an elevator and rooms that are handicapped-accessible. If the hotel does not have an elevator, request a room on the first floor.

Recreation Activities

Just because you are on crutches doesn't mean you have to stay in your hotel room. Many tourist attractions and recreational facilities cater to people with mobility issues. Consider renting a wheelchair. Or call ahead to see if the museum or attraction you are visiting has loaner wheelchairs.

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About the Author

Quentin Shires has been writing since 2003, covering topics such as safety issues, travel and counseling. Shires holds a Master of Science in mental health counseling from Nova Southeastern University and is working toward his Ph.D. in human behavior from Capella University.