- If you have a physical disability, the USA can be an accommodating place. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that all public buildings, private buildings built after 1993 (including hotels, restaurants, theaters and museums) and public transit be wheelchair accessible. However, call ahead to confirm what is available. Some local tourist offices publish detailed accessibility guides.
- Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guide from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.
- Telephone companies offer relay operators, available via teletypewriter (TTY) numbers, for the hearing impaired. Most banks provide ATM instructions in Braille, and via earphone jacks for hearing-impaired customers. All major airlines, Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains will assist travelers with disabilities; just describe your needs when making reservations at least 48 hours in advance. Service animals (guide dogs) are allowed to accompany passengers, but bring documentation.
- Some car-rental agencies – such as Avis and Hertz – offer hand-controlled vehicles and vans with wheelchair lifts at no extra charge, but you must reserve them well in advance. Wheelchair Getaways (www.wheelchairgetaways.com) rents accessible vans throughout the USA. In many cities and towns, public buses are accessible to wheelchair riders; just let the driver know that you need the lift or ramp.
- Many national and some state parks and recreation areas have wheelchair-accessible paved, graded dirt or boardwalk trails. The website for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (www.traillink.com) lists wheelchair-accessible trails by state.
- US citizens and permanent residents with permanent disabilities are entitled to a free 'America the Beautiful' Access Pass, which gives free entry to all federal recreation lands (eg national parks).
Some helpful resources for travelers with disabilities:
Access Northern California (http://accessnca.org) Extensive links to accessible-travel resources, publications, tours and transportation, including outdoor recreation opportunities, plus a searchable lodgings database and an events calendar.
Arizona Raft Adventures (www.azraft.com) Can accommodate disabled travelers on rafting trips through the Grand Canyon.
Disabled Sports USA Offers sport, adventure and recreation programs for those with disabilities. Also publishes Challenge magazine.
Mobility International USA Advises USA-bound disabled travelers on mobility issues.
Splore Offers accessible outdoor adventure trips in Utah.