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How I'm helping wheelchair users travel the world

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Susie Twydell has always been an avid traveller, and when she was diagnosed with MS she was determined this wasn't going to get in her way. But travelling with her wheelchair she often came across unexpected difficulties. Here she explains why she has set up a new site to help wheelchair users plan ahead and get the most from their adventures

My MS dream is to visit more than 100 countries. Now that I'm in a wheelchair, travelling is not as easy as it used to be. Before my diagnosis I had been to over 60 countries. And now? In March, I will go to my 78th country. In my wheelchair. I won't be stopped. But I know that it will not always be a smooth ride (pun intended).

Susie on Valencia BeachI want to help all wheelchair users have a positive travel experience so that more wheelchair users travel and wheelchair travelling becomes commonplace. But the wrong information or incorrect, inaccurate information is a real problem.

The information that we really need comes from other wheelchair users. That is why I have created Wheelchair World, where people know that somewhere being flat or having a lift doesn't automatically make it "wheelchair accessible" and people can tell you from experience that there is a special entrance around the back, or that the staff are more than happy to bring out their ramp.

Wheelchair World connects wheelchair users like myself, and helps us to help each other travel by sharing our experiences, both good and bad.

There are actually loads of blogs, groups and sites, all dedicated to the art of travelling in a wheelchair. But it is difficult to find them and find the information you need when you most need it!

So this is why I have set up Wheelchair World, a place where individuals can post their travel reviews and also get connected to the many other sites that have information on their destination of choice.

I have spent months researching on the Internet to find as much information as I can.  I am pleased to say that I am now in touch with nearly everyone and they will let me know whenever they add something new, so that I can make sure that Wheelchair World is fully updated.

I love doing the research. The other day I read about of wheelchair accessible holiday resort in Micronesia… I didn't even know it was a country! I adore reading people's travel experiences and even more so when I know that the information can really help wheelchair users to travel more easily.

Wheelchair World went live at the end of July and with very little promotion it has had over 1200 visitors. Wheelchair World started out with information for just over 10 countries and now there is information on more than 70 countries!

I am about to publicise Wheelchair World as widely as possible and I have plans to develop an area for cruises, an area for airports and airlines and a a discussion forum. But I need your help. Find out more about my plans and how you can help.

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