Typically, families with small chirldren and/or handicap family members avoid traveling or choose to travel only when strictly necessary. Traveling to the U.S. East Coast with my family this summer was quite a learning, eye-opening, and amazing experience. Our party included my husband, my three month-old daughter, and my father who just recently went through a knee surgery (therefore, is on crutches and wheelchair). My brother, his pregnant wife, and their three years-old daughter joined the trip later on. Quite an interesting group!
Our journey began at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, AZ. Renting a baggage cart to carry everyone's suitcases without hassle is fairly easy at the automathic cart dispatcher located at the departure's curb and which takes both cash and credit card. From there, a wheelchair man showed up promplty as soon as my father (on crutches) got off the car. Having my baby and my father on wheelchair fast-tracked us all through the check-in line, security check point, and actual boarding. The wheelchair man took my father from the curb all the way to our gate and waited until bording, a decent tip was paid in exchange. Sky Harbor provided us all with an excellent service.
Our next stop on our qwest to Harrsiburgh, PA (our final destination) was Denver International Airport in Colorado. Handicap services at Denver's airport was equally respectable. Kudos to Frontier Airline's staff who made sure to schedule wheelchair service upon our arrival to Denver. Visiting the departure and arrival airports' websites was found to be incredibly helpful with the planning of out trip.
While visiting with my brother and his family in Hagerstown, MD we had the opportunity to go on day trips to Hershey, PA; Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, MD; New York, NY, and some other small towns in the area. Most cities, towns, museums, landmarks, restaurants, parks, and/or malls visited within the tri-state area and beyond were found to fully and succesfully comply with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). For instance, all museums and parks accounted with complementary wheelchairs available for the duration of our visit. For this, our most sincere gratitude!
I'd have to mention that while most New York places visited did comply with ADA, some of the subway stations are outdated, lacking the elevator service essential for wheelchairs and strollers. However, the city of New York has made sure to keep subway sigs and maps up to date with the proper information in regards to services available at each station.
Morale of the story: Please, please, please do not miss out getting to know wonderful places and having the opportunity to share great moments with your family and friends just because you have to deal with small children or a handicap family member. As long as the trip is well-planned ahead of time, considering timing, transportation, whether, fees, and any other additional special need your party might have, your trip should be a successful and fulfilling experience.
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