Don't Forget These 4 Items for Wheelchair Travel (+ Luggage Tips)

Wheelchair-user carrying luggage on her lap while wheelchair attendant assists her through the airport.
Wheelchair attendant at the airport.

One of the challenges of traveling as a wheelchair user is when it comes to handling luggage, essential equipment, and items to pack for a better trip. While the modern wheelchair has transformed the way individuals with mobility needs explore the world, the logistics of carrying gear efficiently remain a crucial consideration.

In this article, we will explore essential tips and considerations on what to pack and the best ways to carry your luggage while traveling through airports, hotels, or wherever your journey takes you.

The Essentials Packing List for Wheelchair Travel

These items should help you feel better prepared for your next trip and help out if something goes wrong.

Pack extra medication, catheters, or any medical essentials in case of an emergency
Pack extra medication and medical essentials

Pack Extra Medicine and Medical Supplies

Do you use catheters? Pack extra. Do you take medication? Pack extra. If you're going on a week-long trip, pack the essentials to cover at least a few extra days.

You never know what could happen during a trip. Delayed flights due to weather or mechanical problems, an airline suddenly goes out of business (yes, that happened to an airline in Iceland and many were stuck without their flights), accidents, or anything you can think of. Pack extra to be safe.

Also consider:

  • Documentation: Have documentation with you that explains the medical reason for use from your doctor. You most likely won't need this, but it will help if any problems arise.
  • Packing Medical Supplies Together in Your Carry-On: Airlines typically allow passengers to bring medical supplies with them on the plane without extra charge. Packing all your medical supplies in the same bag will make it easier to bring them with you as a carry-on. If you need extra baggage due to medical supplies, research the specific airline policies to double-check that you won't be charged. Give them a call for extra precaution.

Basic Repair-Kit for Your Wheelchair

Unfortunately, wheelchairs don't always make it to their destination without incurring some damage. Airlines sort of have a reputation for it. Therefore, it is best to be prepared incase this happens. Consider bringing:

  • Some Allen wrenches to adjust certain parts of your wheelchair if they come apart or loosen during transit.
  • Wheel patches, tubes, and any spare parts incase you need to replace any essential parts during your trip.
  • Zip-ties and duct-tape can also come in handy for a quick fix. If you are using a power wheelchair, bringing some plastic bags and bubble wrap can help protect parts of the chair (such as the joy-stick) during a rainy day.

Portable Folding Shower Chair

When you book a hotel room that has a shower chair, you might show up only to find that there isn't one available. For extra preparation, there are many lightweight, foldable shower chairs available that won't be too much of a hassle to pack and bring with you.

There are many options to choose from, like this one on Amazon, that are quite affordable. We are not endorsing that specific chair - everyone has different needs, so make sure to do your research to find the one that is suitable for you.

To avoid the problem of not having a shower chair in your hotel room, booking a room with Wheel the World will guarantee accurate and reliable accessibility information. If you need a shower chair, you can filter hotels by your needs. Below you will find an illustration on how to do this with a shower seat, among other features.

Packing a portable folding shower chair is helpful for travel, but booking with Wheel the World ensures a shower seat every time.
Filter hotel rooms by shower seat, roll-in shower, or other accessible features.

Portable Battery for Power Wheelchairs

If you are a power wheelchair-user, bringing a portable charger will help immensely. You can purchase one that is a more travel-friendly size instead of hauling the traditional battery at home that is too bulky. The portable ones don't charge as quickly as the usual chargers, but it adds much more convenience during travel.

Airline policies require these types of batteries to be with in your carry-on. Make sure you leave enough room to pack this either in your carry-on or personal bag.

Wheelchair Luggage and Equipment Tips

That might seem like a lot of equipment to bring, especially in addition to the usual clothes, toiletries, and other regular items for a trip. How do you pack and haul all of this equipment in an efficient way? Let's get into it.

Pack Smart and Plan Ahead

Like we mentioned before, keep your items together. Make sure your medical supplies are all in one bag and repair kit stored in one container. Keep them in a place where you can access them at any time during the flight. The same goes for items you might frequently need, like the medication, snacks, sweatshirt, or water. Since airlines permit personal bags, that is a perfect place to keep these things.

Request Assistance When Booking a Flight

During the booking process, there should be a section where you can request airport assistance. Afterwards, make sure to call the airline directly and notify them that you will be traveling with a wheelchair. The customer service agent will then make a note on your reservation.

Once you arrive at the airport on departure day, immediately notify them again at the check-in counter. A wheelchair attendant will come and provide assistance. If you have a lot of luggage, they should be able to help you carry it.

Request wheelchair assistance at the airport. They should help you navigate the airport and carry luggage.
Airport wheelchair assistance.

Consider Spinner Wheel Luggage

For hauling luggage through airports, hotels, or on the sidewalks, these types of luggages make it much easier. They have wheels on the bottom while standing upright, and the wheels can change directions making it convenient for transportation.

There are products on the market that are specifically designed for wheelchair-travel. They provide extra convenience without the hassle of having to carry everything on your lap. Combine that with the next piece of advice, and traveling with luggage will be infinitely easier.

Invest in a Wheelchair Luggage Attachment

Combine the spinner wheel luggage with a wheelchair luggage attachment. The products at Phoenix Instinct are specially designed for carrying luggage behind wheelchairs and are worth a consideration. They have trolleys, bags, and attachments, with options for extra large luggage. If you are traveling with a significant amount of baggage, these types of products may be worth it for your next trip.

Bring a Day Pack

When you arrive to your destination and get settled into your accommodation, you will want to have a smaller day-pack / backpack for when you're out exploring. It's perfect for packing only the essentials you will need during the day. There are options out there for wheelchair attachments and straps that allow the packs to easily be stowed without too much restriction.

Using a day-pack or backpack is ideal for exploring the destination while keeping the essentials with you.
Traveling with a daypack while exploring.


The main idea here is that it's better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Overall, there are just a few extra items that you should consider bringing that will help quell some of the stresses of travel. For information on flying as a wheelchair-user, check out related articles below.

You Might Also Like:

>> Flying with a Manual Wheelchair: 16 Tips to Make it Easier

>> The Ultimate Guide to Flying With a Power Wheelchair

>> Wheelchair Travel Anxiety: Airport Tips & Words of Encouragement

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