Travel Season Need Not Cause the Summertime Blues

A suitcase with stickers from many different countries on it

Summer travel season is in full swing. The U.S. Travel Association reports that just over half of all Americans have travel planned in the coming months. With all this coming and going, we decided to ask our Vision Services staff if they had any tips for travelers with vision loss.

Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Rachel Pavone says rubber bands and zip lock bags can be magical. “You can use rubber bands or large zip lock bags to put outfits together for your travels,” she says. “This makes getting ready in the morning easy. Just put the shirt, pants, underwear and a pair of socks into a resealable bag or wrap a rubber band around them to keep them together. Then when you are getting ready, just reach into your luggage and pull out the set.”

Access Technology Specialist Jim Denham adds that packing cubes are handy for clothing. They’re like mini suitcases within a suitcase. He says these are especially helpful for long trips. “Packing cubes can really help you keep items organized,” Jim says. “For example, you could keep all your casual shirts in a cube. Then, when you’re searching for a casual shirt at your hotel, you can just go to the cube and pull one out. Packing cubes are also helpful if multiple people are sharing the same suitcase.”

Not surprisingly, Jim also has some great tech tips for travelers. “Mark chargers so you can easily identify what devices they are for,” Jim advises. “So many chargers feel similar, it’s very easy to use the wrong charger with a device.” Jim says he uses braille labels with a letter or two, but this could also be done with bump dots or some other easily identifiable tactile marker.

Jim also suggests that if you use Apple products, always put an Air Tag in your checked luggage. “Air Tags can be purchased for around $30. Using an iPhone, not only can you always determine the exact location of your luggage, but you can also make the Air Tag beep when you are searching for your suitcase at baggage claim.”

Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist Brent Perzentka has advice to keep you moving at the airport. “Talk with the airport prior to arrival if traveling alone about obtaining service through them,” Brent says. “Most airports are able to accommodate having someone escort you from the front gate to the boarding area.” Brent also recommends downloading your airline’s app to make it easier than a paper copy for reading flight information.

Here are some more great travel tips from Rachel, Jim and Brent:

  • Almost everyone has a brown, blue or black suitcase. You can put your name on the little name tag, but for someone with low vision, it may be helpful to go big. Place a large sticker on the side of the bag or something decorative on the handle, like a length of ribbon.
  • For guide dog users: All airports have dog relief areas for your dogs to get an opportunity to go to the bathroom before they get on the plane. But some dogs simply will not use this space. Make sure that if you are getting a ride to the airport that you stop close to the airport and give your guide dog one last chance to relieve themselves before you get on the plane.
  • In crowded areas like airports and bus terminals, having a white cane will help identify you as someone with vision loss. This can help you avoid bumping into others and also make it smoother to request help if needed.
  • When preparing to travel to a new destination, it might be helpful to contact a mobility manager from the transportation authority in that place for information.

Safe and smooth travels this summer!

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