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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


If you have special needs, there are time tested tips to make travel easier. Click on the link that covers your situation:

If you need a companion to travel with you, paid companions are available. In your favorite search engine, type the words "senior travel companion."

Travelers with special needs can find out about accessibility of accommodations at: offsite link

If you are traveling outside of the United States, see Travel Outside The United States

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How To Travel If You Are Visually Impaired

  • Make sure your travel agent and airline know that you might need help
  • If you can't read a monitor or find a gate, ask an airline representative or another traveler to help you find your way
  • Use your cane. It's the best way to let others know you're visually impaired.
  • Remember the color and description of your luggage so that others can help you more easily find it. A sticker or a piece of yarn tied to the handle makes it even more identifiable.
  • Gift shops often sell small replicas of attractions.Touching them may give you a better idea of the shape of large buildings, and the layout of other tourist sites.
  • Carry written directions for where you want to go, including the street address as well as the name. Even though you may not be able to read them, you can show them to someone else if you get lost.
  • If you use a guide dog, refer to How To Travel With A Service Animal

How To Travel If You Have A Compromised Immune System

Avoid crowds and bad air circulation as much as possible.

  • Travel at non-peak hours.
  • Travel by direct flights if possible.
  • Avoid crowded waiting rooms. Sit in remote areas of the terminal. If possible, join an airline passengers club to take advantage of their private lounge. If you belong to an airline club but find yourself in an airport that does not have a lounge for that airline, go to the club of the airline you are flying. Chances are they will allow you to use their club that day as a courtesy, provided you show them your ticket or boarding pass.
  • Pack a surgical mask for high traffic areas.While uncommon in our country, in countries such as Japan, they're used often to avoid air borne disease.
  • Try to book a seat in the front of the plane. Air is usually circulated from the front to the back of the plane's cabin. You'll also pass fewer passengers on your way to your seat.
  • Delay boarding until the last possible moment to limit your exposure to the crowded space. If you have luggage you need to store overhead and it looks as if the flight will be crowded, you can board, stow your luggage, and leave the plane while the remainder of the passengers board.
  • Inform the airline as far in advance as possible about your special needs.

Drinking Water

Be aware that even in the United States, drinking water may contain contaminants that could be harmful to you. If in doubt, drink bottled water or boil the water first for at least one minute (and longer in elevations over 6,000 feet.)

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Drinking Water Safety

How To Travel If You Are Hearing Impaired

  • At the gate, ask the ticketing agent to inform you directly when it is time to board.
  • Inform a flight attendant that you are hearing-impaired and request any in-flight announcements be delivered to you directly.
  • At a hotel, inform a receptionist that you are hearing-impaired. This is very important in case there is an emergency.
  • Bring extra batteries for your hearing aid. They may be hard or impossible to find in other areas or countries.
  • Bring a phone amplifier.
  • Bring an alarm clock that flashes a light or vibrates your pillow.

How To Travel If You Have Speech Difficulties

People with speech disabilities can dial toll free all across the country through a trained communication assistant patient. The communications assistant makes telephone calls for you and repeats your words exactly in a 3-way calling environment. This system is the only way for many people to telephone others not accustomed to their speech.

To try the system, known as STS, report problems or get more information, call 800.854.7784. Or see: offsite link

How To Travel With A Wheelchair

Travel By Bus:  Local Shuttles and Buses

More and more transit systems and equipment are equipped for access by people with a disability. In addition, every city in the U.S.that has a public transit system must also provide a paratransit system - a door-to-door accessible service available to people unable to use regular public transit because of disability.

  • Check yellow page directories online or off-line to determine the contact information for the transit system in the city to which you are traveling. Alternatively, contact the information and referral person at the Center for Independent Living in most cities. In case you're not familiar with them, Independent Living Centers are private, non-profit, community-based organizations providing services for people with all types of disabilities. To find a Center for Independent Living in an area to which you're considering traveling, see offsite link 
  • Find out the information you need to know about availability of the service, cost, and how much advance notice you have to give. Processing can take several weeks, so the earlier you start making your plans the better.
  • Some cities require proof of eligibility to use their paratransit system. While you're making contact, find out what proof, if any, they need about your health condition.

Travel by Bus: Inter City Buses

Find out about accessibility to interstate bus travel by contacting Greyhound Lines, Greyhound Towers, Phoenix, AR 85077 and ask about their "Helping Hands Service for the Handicapped." ( offsite link or call the phone number for people with disabilities 800.752.4841.) Trailways also offers a "Good Samaritan Plan" with information on aid and accessibility. See, tel. 703.691.3052. offsite link

Travel by Train

Check the accessibility of trains and stations and the availability of additional assistance through an authorized travel agent or call Amtrak directly at 800.USA.RAIL or by  mail: Access Amtrak, Office of Customer Relations, Amtrak, P.O. Box 2709, Washington, D.C. 20013

Amtrak offers a 25% discount on round trip travel to travelers with a disability who have a doctor's card or letter showing disability.

offsite link

offsite link

Travel By Boat

Great advances have been made for travelers in a wheelchair. For instance, Princess Cruises offers a brochure titled "Love Boat Access". The brochure provides information about wheelchair accessibility and assistance availability for all of its ships. See offsite link or call 800 PRINCESS.

Shore excursions can  be difficult. Sometimes ship booking staff have contacts on shore to assist. You may also be able to hire a taxi once ashore.

Travel By Airplane

  • Check the website of the airline you are considering using. Airline websites have information for their procedures for assisting travelers with a disability.
  • Make your reservations early  - at least 30 days ahead of your flight if possible. 
    • Explain you will be traveling with a wheelchair. Let the agent know you will need help boarding and that you will require an "aisle chair." An aisle chair is a narrow, straight-back chair on wheels can fit down airplane aisle. A transfer from a regular wheel chair to an aisle chair allows you to get to your seat without undue assistance. 
    • Ask if you will be able to stow your seat on board rather than with the luggage so you will be able to exit the plan without delay.
    • Try to use airports that are easily accessible. A pamphlet on the accessibility of airports is available from Access Travel: Airports, Federal Aviation Administration, US Department of Transportation, Washington, DC 20591 offsite link or call 202.366.2220.
    • Look for a direct flight - preferably one that leaves early in the day. Early flights are less likely to be delayed.
    • If you do have to change planes, leave plenty of time to get from one plane to the other.
  • Call 48 hours before your flight to make sure that your needs are being met.
  • Before proceeding to the airport, check the website of The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at  The TSA site describes security procedures at airports, what types of items are allowed through the checkpoints, and how to pack your medicines to go through security.
  • Get to the airport before the recommended time to give yourself plenty of time. Checking in early will also make it less likely that you will be bumped from the flight if it is overbooked.
  • On a long flight, ask that the aisle chair be made available to help you get to the restroom. Wide body aircraft must have an on-board wheelchair. Airlines must put an on-board wheelchair on most other flights upon a passenger's request (48 hours notice required).
  • Some planes have a privacy curtain that shields the aisle outside the restroom, allowing a companion to assist you. The newer, wide-body planes have one accessible bathroom large enough for the aisle chair.
  • Consider where to sit on the plane.
    • Some planes have aisle seats whose arms lift up, making it easier to transfer.
    • Some travelers prefer to sit away from the aisle so that other passengers don't have to climb over them if they need the restroom. They also are not pummeled by every piece of carry-on luggage that passes.
    • Bulkhead seats sometime offer more leg-room.
    • Check the seating configuration when checking in.
    • Most airlines have seats designated for handicapped passengers.
  • If you use a fold-up, manual wheelchair, you may be able to store it in the onboard coat closet (if the plane has one).There will only be room for one wheelchair, so get there early. Or check your wheelchair at the boarding gate and request that it be delivered to the gate at your destination.
  • Label your chair with your name and address. Don't put your address in a conspicuous place. It can be used by thieves who will know your home may be empty. 
  • Attach a gate delivery tag if your wheelchair is being stowed below.
  • Take any pads or attachments that might be damaged with you on the plane.
  • If you have a long layover, you can ask that your wheelchair be made available for you.
  • Before you land, if your chair was stowed with the luggage, remind the attendant that you will need your chair brought to the gate. Cabin crew can radio ahead to make arrangements and save you a lot of time.
  • Traveling with a motorized scooter may require dismantling, separate storage of batteries and size restrictions.
  • If you run into problems with the airline during your trip, ask to speak to the Complaints Resolution Official (CRO). The CRO is an airline employee who is trained in the ACAA rules.  A CRO is required to be available in person or by phone at all times.


Generally, newer hotels are more accessible than the quaint old hotel on the old town square. Information on hotel accessibility and other travel tips are available through the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality (SATH), 212.447.SATH

If accessibility is uncertain:

  • Contact the specific hotel where you're considering staying. The clerk at a national reservation number has never seen the room and can only read a description to you.
  • Find someone (a receptionist, a manager, a hotel engineer) who has actually seen the room and is able to address your specific needs.
  • Take nothing for granted. A perfectly accessible room does you no good if there is no ramp to the front door of the hotel.
  • Make sure your reservation is for a guaranteed accessible room, not just a room with a request for an accessible room.

How To Travel With Oxygen

If you will fly

FAA rulings state that all US airlines require a physician's letter explaining your oxygen needs to fly with oxygen on a commercial airline.

You must use airline-supplied oxygen. There is a charge and arrangements must be made in advance. Advance notice requirements vary from airline to airline, so call as far in advance as possible.Airlines can charge either by flight or by the amount of oxygen used. Airlines do not provide oxygen in the terminals. Separate arrangements must be made.

At your destination

Oxygen is readily available in US, but may be harder to obtain abroad. To arrange oxygen at your destination contact your local supplier. Many local dealers belong to a network of oxygen providers or a national chain that can assist with arrangements.

For more information about traveling with oxygen, contact

How To Travel With Service Animals Such As Guide Or Signal Dogs

A few tips that have helped other travelers with service animals:

  • Check with the train, airline or boat well before travel to find out about their requirements concerning service animals.
  • Carry a copy of the papers proving your animal is a service animal in case you are qusetioned.
  • Arrive at the terminal earlier than required by normal t ravelers in case you are given a hassle.
  • Be sure the animal is fed and relieves itself prior to arriving at the departure terminal.

NOTE: At least in the United States, private taxicab companies are prohibited from charging higher fares or fees for transporting individuals with disabilities and their service animals than they charge to other people for the same service.