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Tips For Special Needs Travelers Going To Las Vegas

equipment-rental: Rental Of Medical EquipmentIf you've been considering a trip to Las Vegas but worry that it isn't accessible for travelers with special needs, you can relax. With a little advance planning (emphasis on "a little") , the city can be be a snap to get around. One of our family members uses a walker as well as a wheelchair (as needed) and Las Vegas has never been a problem.

Here's some of our favorite tips for making the most of Las Vegas when visiting there with special needs travelers:

Tip one: advance planning helps to keep a trip to Las Vegas smooth and easy for those with disabilities or other medical or physical challenges

Having a great time in Vegas can be ensured by making sure everything is scheduled ahead of time. You might want to start by using a travel agent or service which specializes in catering to those with special needs. There are many out there. If you are interested in this option, check with your local motor club or AAA organization for suggested agents. Some motor clubs even have their own departments for such travelers. Make sure you are clear about any and all medications, physical limitations and room accommodations you want. Be specific and clear about those.

Tip two: become familiar with hotels that are best for your particular needs.

We always request rooms that are wheelchair-accessible. Luckily, plenty of Las Vegas hotels have room for wheelchairs. We also ask for a room with a special tub to hold a built-in seat. An example of a hotel which works well is Ballys Las Vegas, found Depending on your specifics, you'll want to inquire about hotel rooms which are best for travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind travelers or have seeing eye dogs, etc.

The handicapped-accessible rooms at Ballys are located near elevators and have bathing or shower facilities which hold wheelchairs. Seeing eye dogs are also permitted there. Whatever hotel you choose, be sure to ask about such special needs or features as TDD phone devices for those with hearing impairment, transfer showers or baths, flashing lights for deaf people or those who might not hear fire alarms and Braille signs or room numbers. By asking clear questions, you can select the hotel that best suits your particular needs.

Tip three: make sure the hotel rooms will be available when you want them

Sound simple, doesn't it? Unfortunately, we once made the mistake of finding a hotel with rooms which could accommodate wheelchairs but didn't make sure the rooms would be available during the week we would be there. Oops! So do keep in mind that many hotels have only a certain number of rooms on hand which work for special needs travelers and be sure they'll be open for your visit.

It doesn't hurt to make reservations well in advance of your planned arrival date. Doing so will keep you from arriving at a hotel only to find out there aren't rooms available.

Tip four: plan to have extra medication with you on the plane, a crucial step for those with special needs

With the extra guidelines and limitations for air travelers these days, you'll want to make sure that your carry-on bag has everything you use regularly. That serves as back-up in case your regular luggage doesn't get to Las Vegas on time. It is a good idea to take extra medication in your carry-on bag and that you've cleared these medications with the airport ahead of time - especially if they come in cream or lotion form.

Also, be sure to have a list of all medications as well as their various names (including generic names). That way, if your medication does get lost or stolen, you'll know exactly what you need to replace.

Tip five: pack properly so you can get dressed quickly and easily while in Las Vegas

You may have a specific routine at home but want to get moving more quickly while you are in Las Vegas. If so, consider bringing along clothing that doesn't wrinkle and is made for travel. If you wear clothing which is specially designed, try to select those items which are wrinkle free or less likely to require dry cleaning. Also, consider pieces which layer well so that you can add or subtract a jacket, vest or sweater as the weather permits. Try to limit the number of outfits you bring along to make things especially easy.

Tip six: plan your entertainment to meet your special needs

If you are going to Las Vegas, the emphasis should be on fun. So be sure to ask about wheelchair seating or other requirements at any shows you're considering. You can double check this by calling the box office numbers for particular shows or Las Vegas acts you want to see. That way, you'll minimize your chance of last minute disappointments. Luckily, Las Vegas caters to special needs travelers. Many shows are designed to have room for wheelchairs, walkers and other medical equipment or items.

Tip seven: if you want to gamble, know your options

Las Vegas is made for gamblers, of course, and special needs gamblers aren't left out. We've never had trouble finding slot machines that accommodate wheelchairs or walkers. You aren't just limited to slot machines, either - many of the gambling tables allow wheelchairs or walkers or other medical equipment. It can be a bit more difficult if you want a dealer who understands sign language so do call ahead of time if you need that option.

Find out the days and times when you can find a dealer who knows either ASL (American Sign Language) or some other form of signing. There are rules about what types of signing are allowed at gambling tables but this option does exist. In fact, Las Vegas has even hosted a National Deaf Poker Tour! Information about that can be found here:

Tip eight: keep up with the latest updates for special needs travelers

Everything changes and Las Vegas is no exception. If you traveled there a year ago, don't assume that things are necessarily the same or that your favorite room is in the exact location as last time. We've found the best course of action is not to make assumptions. We don't presume or assume things will be the same. We make sure of that.

Tip nine: make plans for getting around Las Vegas, including scooters and rental cars that offer extra access and features

Avis has a great program called Avis Access and this is available in Las Vegas. However, you do want to line that up ahead of time by calling their toll free number at (888) 879-4273. Features in specially equipped cars include swiveling seats or special knobs. This is an excellent option! If you prefer to use a scooter much of the time, check out Scootaround at: , a company which rents scooters and other items for those who like those conveniences in Las Vegas. You should also know that many casinos can rent scooters on a daily basis so ask about this as well.

Tip ten: consider networking or going on tours of Las Vegas with other travelers who also have special needs

This is something we've been considering in the future since a family member has expressed interest in being part of a group of people with similar needs or limitations. If this appeals to you as well, check with travel agent or Las Vegas hotel staff about special tours that may be available now and in the future. Most importantly, once you've finished planning for your Las Vegas trip, be sure to relax and have a great time!

By Jan Corn - I ve had extensive experience with DIY and home renovation projects, particularly after buying a home that was in need of repair. As the daughter of a builder, I d learned a few things when helping my fathe...  

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