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What Is a Travel Wheelchair?

Some people who rely on crutches or canes may choose to use a travel wheelchair for some tasks.
A travel wheelchair is typically lightweight and easy to fold-up for storing while traveling.
Travel wheelchairs collapse in on themselves even more so than standard wheelchairs.
A travel wheelchair might have more maneuverability so it can work outdoors better than a standard wheelchair.
Article Details
  • Written By: Kay Paddock
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Travel with a wheelchair can be difficult, and it is important to make travel as easy as possible when someone is disabled. A person who needs to use a wheelchair can benefit from a special travel wheelchair. This is a type of lightweight, folding and easily portable wheelchair. A travel wheelchair can be much more convenient to store, transport and set up than a standard model. Using this type of device can make traveling less stressful and more enjoyable.

There are many different types of wheelchairs that fold up. Most manual wheelchairs come with seats that will collapse so the sides can be pressed together. While this type of transport wheelchair can be hooked to the back of a vehicle on a special carrier, it may still be inconvenient. Even a collapsed standard wheelchair can be heavy. It will also probably require a lot of space in a truck or backseat, because it will still be the same depth even though it is flattened.

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A travel wheelchair goes a few steps further. Many models not only flatten from side to side like a standard mobility wheelchair, they also fold up much like a portable stroller. The sides press inward, and it folds together front and back, into a cylinder shape, as well. The footrests and the handles often fold to the side. The entire chair should end up compacted in both width and depth. Many models come with a special vinyl bag for storage. This can help prevent the wheelchair from getting scuffed or damaged in a trunk.

Some situations might not be right for a travel wheelchair. Someone who weighs very little might be able to use a light wheelchair on a regular basis. Most people, however, will want a standard chair for daily use and will only use a travel wheelchair when going long distances by car or other transportation. Some who is overweight, especially someone very obese, may need a special bariatric wheelchair that is reinforced. These typically do not come in folding models because they must be extra sturdy to be safe.

A travel wheelchair can be chosen in a variety of styles, colors and sizes. Some of the most common options are the width of the seat, the size of the wheels and the type of footrests. Many medical wheelchair accessories like seat inserts and special footrests may have to be purchased specifically for a travel wheelchair. The accessories for this type of chair will most likely be designed for portability. Special attachments may fold along with the chair or be easily removable for storage.

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Discuss this Article

Laotionne
Post 3

@Sporkasia - I agree that these travel wheelchairs are very helpful and make people's lives better. There have been many advancements in wheelchairs over the years along these lines. The electric wheelchair has made a big difference to my aunt.

Before she got one of the electric wheelchairs, she would hardly leave the house alone because moving about in manual wheelchairs can be so tiring. Now she is able to go to her mailbox or go down the street to the local with the new power wheelchair, and no one has to go with her.

Sporkasia
Post 2

From reading this article, I get the impression that these travel wheelchairs can make a person's life much easier. I imagine having a chair that can be handled and stored this easily allows many people to keep their independence and do more on their own. These sound like great pieces of equipment.

Feryll
Post 1

I have a friend who did a trip across Europe. She was injured in an accident when she was in high school, so she has used a wheelchair ever since then. When she was in Europe she said getting around was difficult in some countries because using the mass transportation system was particularly difficult.

Some countries are not as well prepared to handle people in wheelchairs as others. She said she was able to hire special cabs that had larger storage spaces for her wheelchair, but these taxis were much more expensive, and she had to wait longer for one to arrive.

A travel wheelchair that could fold and take up less space so it would fit into a regular cab would have been the perfect item for her.

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