Considerations for travelers with disabilities

Global Programs is committed to supporting international travel for all students. Travelers should be prepared for how "disability" may be culturally defined, and how attitudes towards disability and levels of accessibility can vary greatly from country to country.  Each country has its own standards of accessibility. Unlike the United States, many countries do not legally require accommodations.

Before you go

Find out as much as you can about your host culture and how local people view disability. The more you know, the better prepared you will be for the new environment. While international travel can be challenging, an overseas experience can help you learn more about yourself and your capabilities. The Office of Student Disability Resources is an excellent resource both on the Penn State campus and while preparing to travel abroad.

Assistive Equipment

Find out if there are specific policies for devices such as wheelchairs, portable machines, batteries, respirators, and oxygen. Research the availability of wheelchair and medical equipment providers. If your assistive equipment requires electricity, prepare for different voltages, electrical outlet types, and try to determine if the electricity is reliable.

Service Animals

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate of your destination country for information on possible restrictions and cultural norms about service animals. Find out about any quarantine, vaccination, and documentation requirements. Talk with your vet about tips for traveling with your service animal. Make sure your hotel will accommodate your service animal.

Next Page: Module 1 Summary