America Blog U.S.A


Planning on travelling to USA from Australia with a wheelchair. We’ve all of the recommendations on entry, loos, safety and extra.

We’ve travelled as a family to the US many occasions now and we’ve learnt a thing or two which may make travel easier. So we’re sharing our ideas within the hopes of creating your travels smoother.

Our first trip to USA as a family.

Travelling to USA from Australia – Wheelchair Access


Because of the high value of medical intervention and care in the US, it may be the hardest destination to get cowl if in case you have an present medical condition. If I may give you one piece of recommendation, it’s to please get a quote to ensure you will get cowl PRIOR to reserving and paying in your trip. A quote prices you nothing, and it provides you with the peace of mind that you could get insurance coverage earlier than paying money on your journey. Travelling to USA without insurance coverage shouldn’t be an choice.

Travelling to US from Australia - wheelchair accessTesting the New York Skyline from The Statue of Liberty

ESTA – Visa Waiver

When you’re eligible to travel to america beneath the Visa Waiver program you will need to apply and pay for it prematurely of your travel. As a result of attainable delays it’s advised you apply on the time of booking but the latest is 72 hours prematurely.


Even in case you’ve previously been permitted for the ESTA, this is no guarantee of receiving it again. Apply early.

Pretend websites offering the ESTA are listed on the web. Make sure you use the US Government website

If your passport expires, keep in mind a brand new passport means a new ESTA – renewing your passport voids your present ESTA.

Travelling to US from Australia - wheelchair access


If you’re taking a look at lodge and attraction websites you may even see a mention of it being “ADA compliant”.

Travelling to US from Australia - wheelchair accessEven the previous tram automotive at Disneyland is ADA compliant

ADA stands for the People with Disabilities Act which turned regulation in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights regulation that prohibits discrimination towards individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, faculties, transportation, and all public and private locations which might be open to most of the people. The purpose of the regulation is to ensure individuals with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everybody else. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public lodging, employment, transportation, state and local government providers, and telecommunications.


The ADA should only be used a guide. It’s crucial you ask questions in regard to access. An ADA room might not have a roll-in shower for instance. I’ve seen an ADA room which has a bath with a bench over it for a person with a incapacity to switch to for a bathe. While this can be accessible for some it’s not accessible to all.

We discover the ADA has paved the best way for a basic understanding within the US which we welcome once we journey.

TSA  – Transportation Security Administration

Travelling to US from Australia - wheelchair access

If travelling to the US, make sure you lock your bag with a TSA recognised lock. The TSA screens all checked and carry-on baggage. Often, the digital screening allows the luggage to be checked without being opened, however there are occasions when a bit of bags needs further checking.  The TSA has developed locks that may be opened by security officers using universal “master” keys, so the locks don’t have to be reduce. The locks might be bought at most airports, baggage shops, Kathmandu and low cost shops like Goal and Massive W.

Travelling to US from Australia - wheelchair access

With the weird gadgets we travel with, together with a transportable rest room, our luggage clearly seems to be suspicious as our luggage have been opened a number of occasions. When a bag has been inspected a ”Discover of Baggage Inspection” observe is left inside to let you already know it’s been opened.

This doesn’t hassle me in the least, I figure all these measures are in place to ensure traveller’s safety.


It’s good to know safety is tight within the US, particularly given occasions which have been occurring right all over the world. Tight measures do imply travellers need to allow further time to go to major points of interest and to clear airport security.

Travelling to US from Australia - wheelchair accessSecurity screening

Whether you’re visiting Disneyland, the Empire State Building, the 9/11 Memorial or going by means of the airport, permit loads of time to clear security. Many points of interest have airport-style security which means it’s worthwhile to remove your jacket, scarf and put your luggage via an x-ray machine.


Travelling to USA from Australia - wheelchair access

The Australian greenback is presently weak towards the US greenback which suggests it’s good to hunt round for the perfect change price. As soon as we all know we’re travelling to the US, I start watching the change price. Even for those who plan on utilizing your credit card if you travel, you will have some cash. We have now found some retailers in the US will solely accept cash and others are cashless, so it’s greatest to have a bit of each. I additionally be certain that we get some dollar bills for tipping.

As a common rule, avoid exchanging your cash on the airport. I often use Travelex online and have it delivered to our native submit workplace. In any other case I examine the speed at our local buying centre and use one of the money change retailers.


Travelling to US from Australia - wheelchair access

My cellular plan isn’t good for travel overseas so I often hold my telephone in aeroplane mode for my travels and buy an area sim. On my last journey I checked the price of an area sim at Los Angeles Airport and it was inflated. I deliberate to get one at a T-Cellular outlet at a mall, as I had in New York last yr, but I used to be solely travelling for every week and found with the lodge WIFI, conference WIFI and different scorching spots I didn’t need it.

Once I was in the US for 10 days and using Google maps and searching up points of interest I discovered the $40 plan with T-Cellular to be wonderful. Have a look online earlier than you travel and find your closest T-Cellular or AT&T store to your lodge and get it day one to benefit from the deal.


Travelling to US from Australia - wheelchair access

The current state of affairs with the change price signifies that finding good value is essential. If you find yourself dropping approximately 30 cents in each greenback, it provides up shortly. In the event you’re in search of clothes head to the retailers. They supply the most effective worth purchasing, notably in the event you’re buying in the reverse season (ie when it’s the US summer time and you’re purchasing winter garments you’ll do even better). Search for the sale rack behind each store should you can’t get to the retailers. That’s where you’ll find plenty of bargains.

If in case you have a US telephone quantity, let employees sign you up to their loyalty packages as they typically supply reductions up to 20% on your first purchase. All of it counts.

Travelling to US from Australia - wheelchair access

Most shops have one part of the counter at a lowered peak for wheelchair customers.


Travelling to US from Australia - wheelchair access

Tax is added to many things within the US, together with your lodge invoice and this is unavoidable. However it’s essential to know that some resorts will add a ‘resort fee’ or ‘facilities fee’ to the advertised room price. These charges aren’t to be sneezed at when they are around USD$30 per night time. On the current change price that adds round $45 an evening to your lodge value.

On my current trip to the US I learnt some areas don’t charge this payment. For instance, in the event you stay in New Jersey fairly than Manhattan there isn’t any resort payment. A 6 minute ferry journey links you to Manhattan (and sure, it is accessible, I checked). The rooms are historically greater on this area of New York and the room fee is cheaper per night time.

Should you’re on a decent price range, it’s value considering travelling just a little additional for the savings. Travelling six minutes in a ferry which provides you fab views of the Manhattan skyline doesn’t appear a nasty method to economize.


As in Australia, US inns ask for a credit card on arrival for any further fees or “incidentals”. On the time of taking your bank card particulars they place a holding quantity towards your card. This can be a few hundred dollars or typically extra. Whereas that is launched on your take a look at if not used, remember it might take days or the bank to return it as credit to your card. Guarantee you will have enough credit score in your travels to take into consideration these hold amounts. I mistakenly gave my pre-loaded travel money card because the hold and it resulted in me being unable to make use of the cash I’d transferred to the card for a lot of days.


Travelling to US from Australia - wheelchair access

When on the lookout for a stand alone accessible rest room, it’s good to know these are often either often known as Companion Restrooms or Household Restrooms. Stores like GAP and Nordstroms are sometimes good places to go for a great stand alone accessible rest room.

On the theme parks there are Companion Restrooms but when it is advisable to change an older baby or adult, head straight to First Assist where they will accommodate you with a change mattress.


While tipping in Australia is something we do as an indication of appreciation of excellent service, it’s a part of the tradition within the US. I typically hear Aussies complaining about tipping however I feel it’s necessary to know work circumstances and wages will not be the same as here. Employees in eating places and different lower paid jobs actually depend upon tips to make a dwelling.

Travelling to US from Australia - wheelchair access


In some US vacationer areas it’s customary to add the gratuity to the invoice routinely. It’s necessary to verify your bill rigorously so you don’t double tip. It’s also widespread place in common vacationer areas to put a prompt gratuity on the bill (as pictured above). I might say a 10-20% tip is predicted by Taxi drivers and restaurant employees. The overall rule I work with for luggage is $1 per bag but I’ve observed employees are also positive with you managing your personal luggage if you wish to take action.


Though we share a language it’s essential to remember our accent can throw People. I typically find individuals take a minute to work out what I’ve stated. I find it easier if I exploit American terminology once I ask for things ie a scorching tea (in Australia I’d just ask for tea), restroom (I’d often say rest room), cellular phone (as an alternative of cellular), retailer as an alternative of store and line as an alternative of queue. Whether or not you like it or hate it the phrase handicapped continues to be often used ie handicapped room. I don’t use it but I assumed I’d mention you could come throughout it being used in your travels.

Travelling to US from Australia - wheelchair access

The best way you phrase a query might appear to be a small factor, however utilizing the native lingo can make for faster communication and smoother travels. And an added bonus is no-one will take a look at you such as you’re an alien whenever you ask for one thing.


If the worst ought to happen dial 911 for help.

CVS and Ceremony-Assist pharmacy have a variety of medical supplies you’d discover over the counter in Australia.

Travelling to US from Australia - wheelchair access

We find individuals extremely helpful and pleasant and we all the time have a great time once we travel to the US. We hope our ideas enable you to together with your planning.

In case you stay within the US and have any ideas please be happy to share them in comments. Should you’re an Aussie or stay someplace aside from the US and have a tip to share we’d additionally love to hear it.