Agencies that specialize in travel for people with disabilities offer tips on everything from protecting a wheelchair when flying to dealing with bathrooms.

Agencies that specialize in travel for people with disabilities offer tips on everything from protecting a wheelchair when flying to dealing with bathrooms. (Simone Becchetti/Vetta via Getty Photo)

Always ask for the free wheelchair assistance at airports, trains stations, etc. At airports, especially, it expedites trips through passport control, security and customs. Public museums and monuments in many countries will admit a wheelchair user and a companion for free, even if this information isn't posted. They also often have handicapped parking that's closer than the regular lots, so if you have a handicapped-parking placard, take it along. Your tag can be used in most states. Rules overseas vary, but most of the time you can get by. At the Valley of the Temples in Sicily, I was allowed to drive on the pedestrian roadway and park next to each temple.

If you don't feel comfortable making arrangements, use a travel agent who specializes in accessible travel.

"We have firsthand knowledge, send clients to accessible destinations every day and work with partners around the world who specialize exclusively in accessible travel," said Glasbergen, a quadriplegic.

Jacobson pointed out that to get the most help possible, it's crucial to be completely truthful about your condition. "Some people aren't because they're afraid we'll reject them as clients," she explained.

McCoy added that people who are new to wheelchair use may benefit most from professional help on planning where and when they want to travel and within their budget and time constraints.

"Don't be afraid to dream big," he advised. "We've had clients do things they never imagined."

Online resources

Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality, sath.org

World on Wheelz, worldonwheelz.com.

Accessible Journeys, accessiblejourneys.com.

Flying Wheels Travel, flyingwheelstravel.com.

Easy Access Travel, easyaccesstravel.com.

Sage Traveling specializes in European travel for people with disabilities, sagetraveling.com.

Undiscovered Britain is not exclusively for people with disabilities but very strong on the subject, undiscoveredbritain.com.

ctc-travel@tribune.com