With so many people with disabilities traveling these days it's surprising that there aren't many companies that cater to this growing market. But the few companies out there that specialize in accessible van rentals have very good experience at it. Wheelchair Getaways, Inc. (www.wheelchairgetaways.com) has been operating since 1989, delivering accessible transportation to over 450 major cities with a network of 50 locations nationwide that provide accessible van rental services. The company offers the newest fleet of full-size and minivans for rent on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis or for long-term lease. The vans are up-fitted with a ramp or lift with accessories tailored to each client's needs. Some vans are also equipped as driver units with hand controls and power transfer seats.
"We will meet our clients at airports, offices, hospitals, wherever they need us to, and we'll help with luggage, make sure they have everything they need to get on their way," explained Dale Richardson, president of Wheelchair Getaways. "We also have the most locations and the most vehicles ensuring that when a client calls, we'll be there for them. Our fleet is among the newest available. The vast majority of our accessible vans are less than 5 years old and are offered with considerably fewer miles than our competitors. They're also among the most reliable in the nation, but to be safe, we offer 24/7 emergency service."
Richardson added that each franchise operating under the Wheelchair Getaways flag is constantly concerned about the special needs of their clients. "While [many] of vehicles available across the US are Braun or VMI minivans, most of our franchises provide full-size vehicles with lifts such as the Dodge Sprinter or Fords with raised roofs and doors. Vehicles with transfer seats and hand controls are available by request as well. Some even offer child seats for family members."
Getaways offers their services to a wide range of people with
disabilities, not just vacationers. A majority of their business comes
from local clients who need a replacement vehicle while their van is
being repaired or has been damaged in an accident. They also provide
rental vans to families or caregivers of newly injured clients who need
to be transported back and forth to their rehab appointments instead of
using costly transportation services.
The best advice Richardson can give to those thinking about renting a van is to plan well in advance. "Accessible rental vans go fast, especially before major holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving or even Mother's Day and Father's Day. Also, it helps to plan your trip backwards. A flight and hotel won't do you any good if you aren't able to rent a van. We always suggest clients reserve the van, then book flights and rooms."
Accessible Vans of America, LLC (www.accessiblevans.com) is another accessible van rental company operating across the US. Founded in 1997, Accessible Vans is a member-owned organization made up of mobility dealers who rent, sell, and service accessible vehicles. The organization requires that all dealers are members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) to ensure that each dealer has the knowledge, training, and understanding of the specialized needs and abilities that exist for their customers.
Wheelers Accessible Van Rentals (www.wheelersvanrentals.com) has also provided rentals for people with disabilities since 1987. The company offers their services at every major airport and metropolitan city within the US.
For more information about van rentals for vacation, or about any other accessible travel needs, visit United Spinal's www.ABLEtoTravel.org or call them toll free at 888-211-3635. Find out more about United Spinal at www.unitedspinal.org/motorability