Transport and Travel

Accessible Transport and Travel

Helping you navigate your community and the world

Helping you to plan ahead

Have the freedom to go on an adventure

Getting out and about with a spinal cord injury can require much planning. Knowing your options is key, but knowing what assistance you can access is also crucial. Whether it’s travelling into town to see a show or going on a holiday there is a lot to organise and when you have a spinal cord injury and navigate the world in a wheelchair there are a few extra things to consider and decide. Things such as where to go and how you are going to travel, booking accommodation that is accessible, ensuring you have enough medications and supplies, organising equipment such as hoists/commode chairs, or researching your destination for activities that are accessible. To help you plan we have provided some information and resources to inspire you and get you started.

Help with organising your holiday

Having a stress free enjoyable time

To help you plan your holiday there is an abundance of travel websites, information about accessible attractions & restaurants and other places, blogs, travel stories to read, general travel advice and people to talk to who have been there done that. Here are some resources to get you started and don’t forget you can contact us at SCIA for advice and information at any time.

  • In Australia Time Fly’s Travel in Sydney is a travel agency and has extensive experience in assisting people with physical disability. Visit to find out what they can do for you and watch Trudy Rice talk about disability travel at SCIA’s Independence Expo held in March 2012.
  • Fiona Donaldson at Travel Managers has over 20 years experience in the travel industry, has travelled extensively and is a wheelchair user so she has personal experience of what is involved in travelling with a disability.
  • David Stern here at SCIA is a seasoned traveller and has travelled extensively to the US and Europe. David has collected lots of tips and tricks along the way and would love to share his knowledge.
  • Accessible Europe is a pool of European travel agents expert in accessible tourism services for people with special needs.
  • In New Zealand Ability Adventures offers a range of accessible holiday options from tailored multi-day guided tours, tailored self drive holidays, scheduled group tours, and easy access shore excursions.
  • In South Africa Epic Enabled are a tour operator who specialise in accessible travel throughout South Africa.
  • SCIA’s Resource Library has searched the Internet and found travel advice websites, directories of accessible attractions & restaurants, travel blogs and other travel resources

  • Read travel stories that the SCIA Library has collected by people who have travelled to places, come home and written about their experiences. Read them and get inspired
  • CareCure Forums is a US based forum – See the discussion on Recreation, Sports, Travel, & Hobbies
  • LonelyPlanet has a Travellers with disabilities forum where you can share information and ask questions
  • Need to organise travel insurance?
  • You can get travel insurance if you have a spinal cord injury. Suresave, HCF, Insure and Go and Southern Cross have all been recommended by SCIA staff and members as providing travel insurance for people with pre-existing conditions such as a spinal cord injury. When you apply you will need to fully disclose your medical condition and the cover offered will be based on that and other factors. The application process can be a little tricky so if you need assistance with your application, Time Fly’s Travel is very happy to help guide you through the process.
  • Medical Travel Companions is a unique service providing Nannies, Nurses or Paramedics to accompany travellers on all forms of travel transport including, Flights, Cruises, Tours, Private vacations or Concierge transport services for local transportation requirements.
  • Flying? See our section on this page to learn everything about flying with a wheelchair.
  • Travel accommodation

    Helping you to find accessible accommodation

    If you use wheels to get around, unless your wheelchair can climb stairs, at a bare minimum you are going to need level access into the accommodation, your room and the shower! Good advice though before you go ahead and make your booking, is to contact the venue and speak to someone about the features of the room so that you can be sure your needs will be met. The definition of “accessible” can be widely interpreted and many a person has arrived at their room to discover a small step into the shower which the venue hadn’t considered would be a problem. If possible ask for photos of the room so that you know for sure there won’t be any obstacles. To help you find a suitable place, there are a number of sites and resources that you can search to find accessible accommodation which we have listed here.

  • RollAwayz SCIA’s database of more than 1,800 properties around Australia. You can search by location or browse the map. SCIA has checked that the properties have at least one room that is wheelchair accessible meaning that there are no steps to get to and into the room and that its bathroom has a stepless shower stall.
  • Accessible travel accommodation listings Directories and websites offering accessible travel accommodation – the Good Scout, Wheelie Campers, Wheel the World and others.
  • Can Go Everywhere has listings of accessible accommodation, destinations, services and activities across Australia.
  • Accessible homes on Airbnb. Airbnb acquired Accomable in Nov 2017 and now has over 1000 accessible listings. To search for accessible accommodation enter the suburb or town in the main search box, then select Homes. Then see More filters – click on that and you will see Accessibility. Click on “choose home features” and it will show you all the features categorised under accessibility.
  • Search on Trivago for location then click on Extra filters to filter your search results to display accessible accommodation.
  • Matching Houses is a holiday house exchange where people with disabilities swap houses with other people who have the same accessibility needs.
  • Brettapproved has over 1400 listings for accessible accommodation around the US.
  • Flying and airline assistance

    Tips and tricks to make flying an enjoyable experience

    Flying involves much planning, research, more planning and preparation. There will be lots to organise and think about such as:

  • working out where you want to go and booking your flight
  • checking in on the day
  • understanding what happens at the gate and how you will access the plane
  • what kind of assistance flight attendants can provide and whether you need to have a companion with you
  • how to look after yourself on the flight
  • arriving at your destination
  • Don’t be daunted though – if you start early you can have everything organised in plenty of time and then you will be able to relax and look forward to your flight.

    To help you in your preparations, the airlines have produced guides which tell you everything you need to know about flying with them, Dan Holt has some very useful advice and the SCIA Resource Library has collected some helpful advice and tips.

  • Qantas travel information for passengers with a disability
  • Virgin Australia travel information on its procedures for mobility assistance.
  • Jetstar travel information on special assistance
  • Visit the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for information on what air travellers with a disability can do to ensure safety and comfort.
  • Dan Holt works in SCIA’s Peer Support department and has provided some very useful advice for having a great flying experience
  • On holiday or just need an accessible vehicle for a short period?

    Where to hire an accessible vehicle

    If you need to hire a wheelchair accessible vehicle all of the companies listed here provide wheelchair accessible or hand control fitted vehicles:

  • AAB – Access All Bus Rentals provide accessible bus rental. Vehicles can be configured for up to six wheelchair seated passengers. The bus can be delivered anywhere in Australia.
  • Disability Hire Vehicles are based in Sydney. The vehicles are available for hire anywhere in Australia. They also have hand controls that can be fitted to a car.
  • Europcar have a Kia Grand Carnival wheelchair accessible vehicle for hire.
  • GoGet have an accessible car for hire at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. The vehicle, an eight-seater, Kia Carnival, is equipped with a single wheelchair rear entry with hydraulic floor and can accommodate a wide range of wheelchairs.
  • Freedom Motors Australia have a pick up and return centre at St Marys (40km from Sydney CBD), NSW.
  • Hertz have ten wheelchair accessible vehicles available for hire from Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and the Gold Coast.
  • Hire Mobility are based in Western Australia and have a range of options available.
  • Integrity Car Sales and Rentals have locations in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.
  • Les Brazier Special Vehicles have vehicles available for hire and are located in Edinburgh North, SA.
  • Wheelaway Vehicles are available for hire anywhere in Australia.
  • Uber have (very limited at this stage) wheelchair accessible vehicles. To opt in download the Uber app, create a free Uber account and enter the code AUSWAV in the payment section of the menu to see if a vehicle is available in your area.
  • Wheelies Van Rentals have wheelchair accessible car hire – Locations in Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart.
  • Avis and Budget both have hand controls that can be fitted to cars. Advanced bookings are required and bookings can be made via regular booking services. The process is to ring the reservation line and request a hand control fitted car. The reservation line will then organise with their fleet manager for a car to be available.
  • Parking in Australia and overseas

    Using your disability parking pass

    Did you know that your Australian disability parking registration is valid in a number of countries outside Australia? That’s right, you can use your parking pass in countries including England, New Zealand and others. If you are travelling overseas to other countries and are planning to use a motor vehicle we advise you to investigate requirements and eligibility for each country that you will be visiting. If you are having trouble finding this information, our Customer Connect team will be very happy to assist you with your plans. You can also use your pass across states when travelling within Australia. Similarly if you are travelling to Australia, check with the relevant authorities to find out if your parking pass is valid in Australia. Links to state and territory disability parking schemes in Australia are available here.

    Community transport and driving services

    Don’t drive or use public transport? Here are some alternatives

    There are alternatives available to you if you don’t drive or use public transport. Some services are free and others require payment. Community transport provides transport for people with disabilities to assist them with shopping, appointments and social activities. They are generally operated by community service groups such as Rotary, Apex, Returned Soldiers Leagues Clubs and other charitable organisations. If you are living in NSW and need to travel a long distance for treatment you may be eligible for the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme. Some care agencies also provide transport services and some services such as Carers that Drive specifically provide driving and transport services.

    To find providers of these services visit:

  • New South Wales Community Transport Organisation
  • For community transport options in other states visit Victoria, South Australia and Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia and Tasmania
  • The Roden and Lady Cutler Foundation provides a free transport service all over Sydney for the seriously ill, elderly and disabled to and from medical appointments.
  • The Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme is a NSW Government scheme providing financial assistance towards travel and accommodation costs when a patient needs to travel long distances for treatment that is not available locally.
  • Carers that Drive is a service based in Sydney run by experienced carers with excellent driving records and police checks to enable people to remain independent by helping them go out. All ages can use the service and it can be in your car or the carers.
  • Caring Approach is a care agency providing driving services to and from appointments or social activities. Coverage is currently Sydney, Canberra and Goulburn NSW.
  • Alliance Health is a care agency based in Sydney and provides driving services.
  • Accommodation & Care Solutions operates in Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Queensland and provides driving services.
  • Public transport

    Helping you to get around

    Train stations, buses and ferries are gradually becoming accessible and sometime in the not too distant future all public transport will be 100% accessible. But until this happens we advise you do some research before you leave the house just to make sure that the public transport option you choose is accessible. To find timetables and information about accessibility on all modes of transport visit Transport for New South Wales.

    For other states visit the relevant state transport website for accessible public transport information.

    Assistance with transport costs

    Some options to help finance your transport choice

    In Australia there are a number of benefits and concessions you can claim to help with your transport costs such as the taxi transport subsidy scheme, public transport concessions, the mobility allowance and transport funding under the NDIS. If you need help to take advantage of these benefits, or you want to find out what is available or if you have had funding taken away from you for any reason, we can help you so give us a call on 1800 819 775 or email us at info@scia.org.au

    For further information

    For further information about a wide range of topics, visit the SCIA Resource Library