Your Essential WAV Road Trip Tips

A man looks out at a vast mountainscape from his wheelchair accessible vehicle during a holiday roadtrip rest stop

It’s summer and we’ve rounded up some top wheelchair accessible vehicle travel tips. We’ve got the best landscapes on our doorstep in Australia (yes, slightly biased), which makes a holiday road trip a seriously attractive option. Given the number of new accessible wheelchair travel destinations to choose from, we couldn’t resist!

A road trip gives you more control of your schedule, is generally cheaper than flying and means you get to see more of the country. To make sure your journey in your wheelchair accessible vehicle is as wonderful and easeful as possible, take note of the following travel tips.

Plan your route and stop offs

Plan your journey in advance, typing/writing it down so you can add to it and don’t have to memorise it. That’s not to say you can’t make changes and adapt your plan along the way, but having a blueprint gives you a great foundation to work with.

Do a thorough pre-planning of routes, stop offs and accessible activities. Familiarise yourself with key locations like scenic destinations, towns, petrol stations and rest stops. Make sure your intended stop offs have accessible parking and restrooms if needed (and take along your MLAK key for 24/7 access).

Allow for extra time both for travel time and rest stops as well as to get ready for sightseeing.

Service your wheelchair accessible vehicle for travel

Wheelchair accessible vans can be extremely liberating in getting you out and about to explore Australia.

The enablement of ramps, lifts, hoists and travelling or driving from your wheelchair can make the logistics of travel much simpler. That’s why one of your priority wheelchair accessible vehicle travel tips should be getting your vehicle and its assistive technology serviced before travelling.

You want to enjoy the sightseeing, stop offs and stay-overs without the hassle of your vehicle or equipment breaking down. Your vehicle supplier should also check your wheelchair docks are working properly as part of the service.

A power assist is added to make a wheelchair more maneuverable

Make your wheelchair ultra comfy

It’s also a good idea to have your wheelchair serviced before doing any accessible wheelchair travel. After all, your wheelchair is customised to suit your body and lifestyle. Having it break during a holiday road trip would put a serious dent in your mood.

In addition to a service, try making your wheelchair extra super comfy for the drive and sightseeing. You likely won’t be able to lie down for long stretches, so having the right accessories could provide that extra special soft landing. For example, check out the sheepskin seat cover on our list of gifts for people in wheelchairs and have a look at these comfy armrests too.

We’re guessing there might be nature walks, parks, rivers, day and night markets and more to peruse during the holiday road trip. Is your wheelchair up to everything you want to enjoy while away? Perhaps something to make all this sightseeing that much smoother is power assist add-ons for powering your wheelchair?

Read eight more tips on how to make your wheelchair more comfortable.

A woman in a wheelchair spends some downtime at a lake during her wheelchair accessible vehicle road trip

Book everything in advance

Another essential on our list of wheelchair accessible vehicle travel tips is booking well in advance.

Accessible accommodation

Be sure to your accommodation weeks, if not months, beforehand – your holiday destination may have limited accessible rooms. No one wants to plan their holiday only to find out it’s all booked up. Before you get your heart set on any locations read up on accessible holiday spots and other disability friendly travel destinations.

Pet-friendly stays

Travelling with an Assistance Dog or pet? It’s important to let accommodation and tour providers know long before you travel. This means they can cater to your needs and make sure everything is in place before your arrival.

Read our list of some favourite pet friendly accessible accommodation options and look into getting your animals covered with Blue Badge pet insurance or Assistance Dogs insurance.

Wheelchair hire

If you’re hiring a beach wheelchair to spend some time on the beach or need a different kind of chair for sightseeing, definitely book this in advance. Don’t get to your anticipated location and the only suitable wheelchair is gone!

Here are some top tips for beach holidays and some interesting facts about wheelchair hire.

Wheelchair accessible vehicle hire

Hiring a vehicle also deserves a spot on our list of wheelchair accessible vehicle travel tips. You might want to hire a vehicle for the entire holiday road trip. That will save you servicing your own car and racking up mileage.

Perhaps you want one that has a lift, rather than a ramp for ease of entry and exit, or maybe you just want to hire one for when you arrive at your destination. Either way, we have a list of 15 wheelchair accessible vehicle hire companies in Australia.

Items in a first aid kit

Pack mobility aids and medication

Plan a list of what you’ll need to take. You can add to it in the weeks leading up to your accessible wheelchair travel bonanza so that you don’t end up at your holiday spot without your spare wheelchair battery or something else essential.

In addition to the basics, like adaptive clothing and toiletries, here are some items that could be on your list:

  • medicine and your prescription
  • mobile phone charger (and spare charged battery if you have one)
  • first aid kit
  • printed out map (in case you lose GPS signal or your phone dies)
  • disability parking permit
  • folding ramp (for destinations that don’t have wheelchair access)
  • extra water (you can never have too much)
  • box of snacks (in case your car breaks down)
  • torch and batteries

Also make sure you have important numbers saved to your phone. That includes the numbers for your holiday destinations, your doctor, your emergency contact person, your car and/or wheelchair insurance provider and any suppliers for your vehicle and mobility equipment.

Storage tips for wheelchair accessible vehicle travel

Another one for your wheelchair accessible vehicle travel tips list is packing wisely. Wheelchair accessible vehicles accommodate space for a wheelchair to easily enter, exit and fit into the vehicle. They often don’t have a closed boot, or a separate boot area for stowage.

Turn the available space in your wheelchair accessible vehicle into storage space for luggage, snacks, water and other essential items with car storage hacks. Collapsible storage space and bags that hang on the back of the car seats are winners.

You might need added space for luggage or other mobility equipment during the drive. This is why we’ve also rounded up the following helpful info:

If you use a mobility rooftop container or a trailer, plan for the added space you’ll need wherever you’ll be parking.

A man uses a wheelchair lift to easily access his vehicle during a wheelchair accessible vehicle road trip

Insurance for wheelchair accessible vehicle travel

We think one of the crucial wheelchair accessible vehicle travel tips is having wheelchair and converted car or WAV insurance. As Australia’s first disability and independence insurance specialist, Blue Badge Insurance knows how valuable your car and mobility equipment are.

That’s why we offer affordable insurance for these precious items.

Find out about getting up to 25% off your disability car insurance premium or on car insurance for wheelchair accessible vehicles and disability converted cars. Your insurance can also cover your wheelchair and other mobility equipment that you travel with if they’re in the car when you have an accident. Check out our wheelchair insurance too.

Should your vehicle or mobility equipment get stolen or accidentally damaged in an accident, fire, flood, or storm, we can help pay for repairs or replacement. There are many more benefits. There’s also the optional add-on of 24/7 roadside assistance. If you have a breakdown on your holiday road trip, you’ll be able to call us to come help.

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