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Essential European Disabled Travel Tips

  Disabled Travel Tips – Europe can be challenging for travelers with disabilities but not if you know what you’re doing. To figure out the tricks for smoothly traveling in Europe with a disability, you can either travel there numerous times to gain the expertise or you can sign up for our newsletter!

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These disabled travel tips are based on a dozen trips I’ve taken stretching across 60 European cities. With these handicapped travel tips you’ll travel like a pro by avoiding problems, saving time and money, and doing more than you thought was possible!

We provide our full list 101 Essential Disabled Travel Tips © Sage Traveling to all of our clients. Examples of our disabled travel tips are listed below.

#8 On many trains, the handicapped seats (with spaces for wheelchairs and nearby bathrooms with grab bars) are only in the 1st class cars, and you’ll only have to pay the 2nd class fare. Don’t pay for a first class seat without asking for handicapped seats first. Save money!

#17 The expiration date on a passport is a lie (or at least misleading)! Most countries actually require your passport to have 6 months of validity left. I know people who have not been allowed to get on their flight because their passport expires in a couple of months. Start your trip off right!

#22 When you get to passport control in the airport, look for a “disabled assistance” line to avoid the crowds. Save time!

#29 Keeping your valuables in a bag under your wheelchair chair is good way to prevent being a victim of pickpockets (which are quite common in crowded areas like subways, busses, and tourist attractions). Stay safe!

#36 Call or email trains beforehand to let them know you’ll need assistance – they request 24 hours, but I’ve done it as quick as 5 minutes before departure. I would recommend getting there an hour before departure. Avoid problems!

#55 RyanAir absolutely requires advanced notice if you need assistance. If you can’t travel to the gate by yourself, climb stairs to board the plane, and walk down the aisle, you must tell them 24 hrs in advance. I call them immediately after making my reservation to be safe. Call to double check the day before. If you don’t, you can be stranded! Avoid major problems!

#67 Go to for European train schedules. This German website is the best website regardless of what country you will be traveling in. Learn what the useful resources are!

#71 Boat tours can be challenging to get into the boat but absolutely wonderful. Some will require you to transfer out of your chair to get down into the boat (Bruges), some will require assistance to lift you and your wheelchair into the boat (Amsterdam, Santorini), and some boat tours have a ramp and you can stay in your wheelchair (London, Venice, Paris, Rhine River, Istanbul). Ask the boat tour company for pictures of their boat to figure out how difficult it will be. Don’t miss out on anything!

#77 Front wheels on a wheelchair (also known as casters) take a pounding on cobblestones. Consider replacing them with new ones before your trip – otherwise missing chunks of rubber can make for a tough ride. Bring the right things!

#84 Email yourself your itinerary and passport information so you can access it from anywhere. Be prepared for the trip!

#91 Hills can be a pain for disabled travelers, and most maps don’t indicate where they are. Just remember that moving towards the river is always downhill. Moving parallel to the river is essentially flat. Get expert disabled travel tips!

#100 Where should you look for an accessible bathroom? Museums usually have accessible bathrooms, and churches rarely do. Hotel lobbies, McDonald’s, and department stores are good options too. Travel like a pro!


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