Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. Default Planning a road trip with wheelchair

    We are a family of 3 from the UK and are hoping to start our trip in the first week of July this year! Have left the planning a little late but I'm confident we can do this. Hope to fly in to San Francisco and leave from San Diego about 17 days later.
    During the trip we may have an RV for a week if we can locate one to hire that is wheelchair accessible. I'd like to have a few days in SF then take the RV to Napa, Yosemite. We then want to travel the PCH to LA stopping at Monterey.
    Will have the last Few days in SD.
    How does that sound? Can anyone give me a decent itinerary and are there places we should avoid or head for?
    I am paraplegic and use a manual wheelchair which is fairly flexible in some situations - can be bumped on to boats etc!
    Would like to include whale watching or similar and time around beaches in general for 16 yr old daughter.
    Thanks in advance for any offers of advice!!
    Deb UK

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default It Won't Be Easy and It Won't Be Cheap

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I was actually a bit surprised at what I found when I started poking around for wheelchair-accessible vehicles for rent. What I expected was that RVs would be out of the question, but that you should be able to rent a lift-equipped minivan from at least the major rental agencies. What I found was just the opposite, accessible RVs could be had (albeit at $250/day - Ouch!) But none of the main rental firms, Hertz, Avis, or National had any reference to handicap-accessible vehicles anywhere on their website! National even told me that they have NO cars available at all for the time you're interested in!!! So what to do? The first thing I'd do in your shoes is get on the phone and call the rental desks at San Francisco Airport (SFO) directly. Do not call a 1-800 number - call the airport location itself - and see what they can work out for you. I would still be a bit surprised if they can't arrange a minivan with a hitch mounted wheelchair carrier at the very least. Failing that, and understanding that it's liable to get quite expensive, start checking with the major RV rental outfits: El Monte, Camping World, Cruise America. Again, call the local outlet and see if they can work with you.

    If you can get over that hurdle, I think you'll find the rest of your trip much easier by comparison. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been in effect for 23 years now, requiring that all public facilities be wheelchair accessible, including most city sidewalks which will have cutouts/ramps at corners to allow you to cross the street. My wife was in a wheelchair when we visited Moscow a number of years back and it was a nightmare. You will not find that to be the case here. For more general hints on things to see in the California area (and a bit beyond) check out the discussions linked to here.


  3. Default

    What I found was just the opposite, accessible RVs could be had (albeit at $250/day - Ouch!)
    Thanks AZ, I have a travel agent here in the UK who is looking in to the RV rental for me - how much is a regular RV for a day? Stamdard size for 4 - I expect there will be a hefty premium attached to mine.

    We should be able to manage with a standard car - station wagon type so chair can be stowed in the boot without dismantling every time. Do you know the names of US cars that might be suitable?
    I'm looking forward to benefitting from the ADA's access - it's going to be a whole lot better than Prague where we were last week!

    I still need to work out how many days to plan for the RV section SF - Napa - Yosemite and poss Death Valley if we have time but I want to leave enough time to travel leisurely down PCH with LA and SD at the end.
    Deb UK
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-12-2013 at 04:40 AM. Reason: Fixed Quote Format

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default on par

    I'm not sure what the $250 a day quote that Buck found includes, but just looking at Cruise America and El Monte's websites, it looks like you'd be paying $200-250 a day to rent an RV for 2 weeks in July out of SF anyway. That was just looking at standard quotes - with no consideration of accessability - and for a round trip rental. There would likely be an additional one way drop fee if you left it in San Diego or LA.

    It looks like their is an entire group that is focused on Disabled Travel, including RV travel with some resources you might want to check out.

    I am a little confused now, however, when you are talking about also renting a car and having an "rv section." What part of the trip are you thinking of renting a car? If you're just talking about getting around San Francisco before you get on the road, then public transit might be a better bet. All bus/train service is required to follow the ADA law that Buck referenced, and will have lifts and special seating areas for wheelchair travelers.

    For the actual roadtrip, you might consider a full loop, where you head down the coast to SD, and then back via Death Valley and Yosemite. Such a trip might also allow for a detour out to the Grand Canyon or some other inland parks too. A round trip should save you money, and might basically be required if you need a specialty RV. With 17 days, I that should still be very possible without being rushed.

  5. Default

    Hi, I think I'm not making myself very clear - sort of thinking aloud! Sorry.
    If we fly in to SFO, we could stay a few days then take RV to do the inland part heading back to SF where we would pick up a car and then drive down PCH.
    I know I have to make some decisions soon but in the meantime I have to book the flights and want to be sure that it is better to start in SFO and end in SD.
    Thanks for your help
    Deb UK

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    No I don't that it is better to start in SFO and end in SD.

    As I mentioned in my previous post, it actually sounds like a full loop starting and ending in the same city would really be the best bet. At the very least, doing that should save you money, both in airfare and car rental cost.

    However, the bigger thing is that it is going to save you miles and backtracking. Your idea to rent an RV to drive out to Yosemite and Death Valley, and then turn around and drive it back to SF before heading back down the cost would mean a lot more miles and time than just doing a big loop.

    I also don't really think it is going to be worth your time and money to only rent an RV for such a small portion of your trip. Why were you thinking this would be the best way to go? I suspect just sticking with the same rental car and staying in hotels for your inland stops will be much cheaper and easier, than bothering with an RV that you'll have to drop off just as you are getting used to it.

  7. Default

    I was thinking it would be fun to have the RV experience but also if it was an adapted van it might have been easier than finding an accessible room in every hotel we booked to stay in. You're right though, it might be better to just get a car and start trying to sort out an itinerary and book hotels en route.
    Deb UK
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-28-2013 at 11:34 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    If you think the RV experience would be fun, then go for it. It could certainly work for the trip.

    But I would consider it an either/or with a regular rental car, which I would say really for almost any trip. Switching between cars/RVs is typically going to add a lot of extra expense, time, and hassle.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Oakville, ON, Canada

    Default Experienced power wheelchair user

    We are from Canada and my son is also in a power wheelchair. We road trip frequently in USA as we find it more accessible than here at home and easier than flying. Obtaining a wheelchair accessible rental car is extremely hard. However, when my son was younger and in his manual chair we were able to use a standard minivan or SUV. If you are able to transfer into a regular vehicle, renting a minivan or SUV should work for you. A minivan may be best as a previous poster said you can fold down the back seat, still have room for 4 or 5 people, luggage and chair. This is how we travelled before we purchased a modified van.

    I once looked into renting an accessible RV. They are nearly impossible to find, booked up many months in advance and ultimately may not meet your disability needs. I would stick with the van and stay in hotels. We have never had a problem obtaining a handicap accessible room. Many have roll in showers (if that is required) and will provide a shower chair on request. I would stick with the major chains and call their front desk directly to ensure your needs are met. San Diego has beach wheelchairs available for free as do some other Southern California beaches. We visited California in 2011 and all restaurants, attractions and sights were very accessible. As well, remember to bring your parking permit with you. From what I read you can use it in California.

    Finally, I would stick with the loop trip. Enjoy your travels.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-28-2013 at 11:23 AM. Reason: approved link

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Personal expertise is always appreciate herein

    Ed, welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum and thanks for the post about your personal experience with wheelchairs. (And thanks for the side-note about the link -- on rare occasions, we do allow new members to post exterior links).


Similar Threads

  1. west to east with a wheelchair van and 15 yr old co pilot
    By gully jimsen in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-27-2011, 12:42 PM
  2. How much planning should I do for a road trip?
    By vibull in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-15-2011, 03:41 PM
  3. Planning a road trip through CO and NM
    By jimnjen in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 08-22-2009, 09:48 PM
  4. Planning for my first road trip
    By Halzman in forum Off the Beaten Path
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-26-2008, 10:28 PM
  5. planning a road trip...
    By laine7 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 06-08-2006, 08:31 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name