Those who know me or have read my blogs in the past know that I LOVE to travel, and I write about my travels to encourage others to get out and do something fun!* While cruising will always be my favorite vacation, an annual trip to Vegas is high on the list, too.
I’ve been going to Vegas for more than 20 years, so that means both before and after my injury. In fact, my first flight after my injury was in March of 1997 to Las Vegas. It’s really amazing just how accessible this happening town was back then, and it’s even better now.
INSIDER TIP #1: Visit the bathroom as close to your boarding time as possible, remembering that you will be the first to board and last to deplane. Be careful what you drink while on the plane, too.
It’s a long flight from Philly, so you need to plan ahead with regard to eating, drinking, and using the bathroom. If you require a straightback and assistance to get on and off of the plane, you won’t be able to use the bathroom until you are off the plane, so plan ahead.
INSIDER TIP #2: Once you arrive in Vegas, just look for the blue wheelchair guy on the taxis to be able to tell which ones are accessible with a lift, or make a quick call to the dispatch service which represents six different taxi companies who are happy to pick up a passenger in a wheelchair!
I wish other cities across the country would follow Vegas’s lead when it comes to finding an accessible taxi with a lift. My 10 minute wait at the airport was the longest wait of the trip, and what was also unusual was that the airport employee was happy to help, and even walked down the taxi line until he found one with a ramp and drove back to me with the driver. The next two times I needed a taxi, I called the dispatch line. I got a call back within a minute and had a taxi that worked in front of me in less than 5 minutes.
INSIDER TIP #3: When checking into your hotel, be sure to reconfirm your needs for an accessible room. When you get to the room, double-check that the bathroom is right BEFORE you start to unpack anything, as sometimes mistakes happen when assigning rooms.
As far as accessible rooms go, that was very easy, as the casino hotels are very large and have lots of rooms that are accessible with roll in showers or a tub. Just specify what you need when making your reservation. You might have a bit of a workout pushing across the carpeting in the casinos, but you will quickly find the best paths to take or ways to travel on the tiled floors.
INSIDER TIP #4: If you are going to visit Las Vegas and try to cover the strip, be prepared to push multiple miles to do it. Stay hydrated and when it gets too hot outside, head inside where you can cool off in the air conditioning.
Plenty of ramps of all grades, lengths, and textures grace this town! While Las Vegas is known as the City of Lights, those of us in wheelchairs could also call it the City of Ramps. All of the casinos and restaurants that I tend to visit have accessible entrances and ramps to get you inside, as well as ramps to get you into bars, restaurants, and performance venues. They tend to be easy to find, and though they might be a workout depending on your strength and ability to push, they are all very doable.
No matter what you like to do: eat, drink, play, or see a show, all of it is possible for those of us in wheelchairs in Las Vegas, and you will definitely have fun in this very accessible town. Enjoy!
*My usual disclaimer is just a reminder that I do not work for any hotels, airlines, or cruise companies. I am just an individual with a disability who loves to travel. I offer tips and guidance to try to make it easy for you to get out and enjoy life!