A disability shouldn’t stop you from booking cheap flight deals to travel the world. However, all too often, hotels fall short at catering to special needs guests. From country to country, hotel to hotel, providing accessible rooms doesn’t come standard. Even when these types of hotel rooms are offered, they can be far from accessible. In order to avoid booking the wrong hotel, or worse, show up to a room that just won’t work for you, we have rounded up some essentials to look for in a hotel room to ensure it is in fact accessible.

Ground Floor Rooms

entering hotel room

In some countries, a hotel might say it’s mobility friendly if it merely offers an elevator. Think of the worst case scenario; if there’s a fire, you can’t count on an elevator. Some hotels are truly inaccessible as they only offer rooms on higher floors with stair access. Before you book a property, be sure that your room is going to be on the ground floor. If rooms are only available by way of the elevator and you’re not concerned about a fire, you will need to find out just how wide that elevator may be. In some hotels, the elevators can fit no more than a few people squeezed in tight.

Roll-In Showers

Many hotels will claim that they’re accessible, only to offer rooms with bathrooms that those with mobility issues can’t use. If you have reduced mobility, you’ll have to seek out rooms with roll-in showers so you don’t have to mess with steps. In addition to a roll-in shower, the bathroom should also have a shower chair. A room with a roll-in shower isn’t exactly mobility friendly if it lacks a shower chair to transfer into and out of for showers.

Once you find the hotel to accommodate your needs, grab cheap flight deals to complete your trip!

Grab Bars

accessible hotel bathroom

The hotel might tout its swanky rooftop bar, but if you need an accessible hotel room, you are interested in a different kind of bar. Hotels advertising accessible rooms can leave out a crucially required amenity, grab bars. If you want an accessible hotel room, you’ll need a room, specifically the bathroom, to have grab bars. These bars should not just be featured prominently and conveniently around the shower space but also around the toilet.

Wide Doorways

If you’re traveling with a wheelchair or a walker, you’ll need hotel rooms with wide doorways to get into the room and the bathroom. If you have booked a suite with a separate door to the bedroom, be sure this doorway is also wide enough. If a hotel doesn’t state that the doorways are accessibility friendly, it’s worth making a call to the property to ask about the width of the doorways.

Beds with Space Underneath

Most hotels don’t list the height of their beds. You’ll need to confirm that the beds aren’t too high or too low to the ground for your needs. If you need a lift to get from a wheelchair into a bed, you can’t book a room that features a low box spring and no space underneath the bed. You’ll want to look for hotel rooms that have space under the bed to roll a lift under so that you can actually get into the bed.

A Convenient Height for Light Switches and Outlets

turn on light switch

Some hotels will merely take out extra furniture in a standard room and call it accessible. If this is the case, the light switches and outlets might be out of reach. The height of light switches and outlets can play a factor in if you can actually stay in the room. If you are just placed in a standard hotel room, those switches and outlets might not work for your needs.

RELATED: 6 Tips to Make Your Trip Less Stressful If You’re Traveling with a Disability

Service Animal Allowance

Some hotels will impose a fee for traveling with your pet or some won’t even allow pets. However, if you must travel with a service dog, you’ll need to be sure that your hotel allows service animals, even if they don’t allow pets normally. Some will have a strict no pet policy. Others will not provide any sort of amenities for your service animal. Find out what your hotel allows and provides especially if you are traveling with Fido.

Closed Captioning and Braille Signage

braille in elevator

Accessibility shouldn’t just mean the room is wheelchair friendly. If you are hearing impaired, you’ll want to be sure your hotel room has closed-captioning on the TV. In addition, look out for hotel rooms with phones that don’t just ring, but also those that light up and flash. Those who are visually impaired should seek out hotels with braille signage, even down to the room service menu, and plenty of lighting in the guestrooms.

What do you look for in an accessible hotel room? Share your checklist with us in the comments below!

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About The Author

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at http://suzyguese.com.