Activity 16 – Traveling away from home
Alternate senses contributing to this activity are: touch and hearing.
Assistive procedures helpful for maintaining this activity are:
- Modifying or developing techniques
- Using Braille
- Using high technology devices or software
- Modifying objects or environment
- Using orientation and mobility skills
- Utilizing a public service
We will begin with:
Tag your bag with a ribbon, strap, or Braille ID you can feel.
Pack clothing items and jewelry in individual bags labeled with tactile or Brailled ID tags. You can make these yourself with a Hi-Marks pen or with a Braille label maker, both available from low vision dealers.
Modifying or developing techniques
Consult a travel agent. It’s a free service.
Book direct flights when possible.
Take carry-on luggage.
Ask ahead about guide animal restrictions.
Take advantage of guided tours.
Never bring more than you can carry.
To avoid having to make the exchange or change, use a credit or debit card whenever possible.
If alone, count the doors from the elevator to the room. Have a porter take the time to show you the elevator buttons and note them verbally, out loud.
If eating in restaurants is a nuisance, room service can be a great option.
In case you get separated from your companion, prearrange a meeting point.
Remember sounds and memories from the trip by narrating into your recorder. This can be as good as photographs.
Don’t hesitate to communicate your questions and needs. Most people are happy to help.
Modifying objects or environment
Pack a low vision travel kit in its own bag (preferably a belt pack), and keep it with you at all times. It should include:
- a travel alarm
- an MP3 or CD player
- self-recorded itinerary and emergency contact information
- medical information about you and your guide animal
- written directions
- a portable, talking, global positioning system, or GPS
- your passport and identification
- traveler’s checks, credit and debit cards
- a personal digital assistant, or PDA
- a cell phone pre-programmed with important numbers
- emergency cash
- extra medication
So your belongings are easily found, put out your morning needs on a place mat. Take along another place mat to set your watch and other night needs on.
Thieves may see you as an easier target if they note your low vision. Keep your valuables on your person, such as in a fanny pack. To carry important items out of sight, sew a square pocket with a velcro flap on the inside waist area of your travel outfit.
Identify matching outfits and reduce wrinkles, too, by layering with tissue between.
Put travel documents in a folder, then in your bag.
Using high technology devices or software
Several manufacturers offer a global positioning system, or GPS, for finding your way. You can also purchase each of these technologies individually.
Voice recognition capability is also included in some cell phones, which eliminates the need for dialing.
Use the Internet to check in prior to going to the airport.
Using orientation and mobility skills
Carry your white cane for mobility, safety, and identification.
Utilizing a public service
Let your travel carrier know you have low vision.
Check ahead of time to make sure your transportation accommodations are acceptable, to include:
- Accessible, identifiable, and safe waiting areas
- Verbal identification of stops and destinations
- Tickets and schedules in Braille
- Door-to-door service
- Employees trained in needs of visually impaired people
- Assistance in boarding and unboarding
- Reasonable fares and fees
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