Travelers with Disabilities

Research Your Destination

Each country has its own laws regarding accessibility for, or discrimination against, persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities. Before you travel, visit and enter the name of a country or area to find information for travelers with disabilities in the Local Laws & Special Circumstances section. Unlike the United States, enforcement of accessibility and other laws relating to persons with disabilities is inconsistent. 


Know Before You Go

Preparing for your trip is critical:

  • Consult your travel agent, hotel, airline, or cruise ship company to learn about services during your trip and your destination, including specific requirements for service animals. View Mobility International USA’s tip sheet for Guide Dogs and International Travel.
  • Call the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) helpline for travelers with disabilities and medical conditions at 855-787-2227 (toll-free) to request assistance with the security screening process, or check TSA’s website, TSA Cares. They can answer questions about screening policies, procedures, and the security checkpoints.
  • Check websites such as Mobility International USA to find overseas disability organizations.
  • Read Section 6 of the State Department's annual Human Rights Report for information about the human rights and social service framework protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities in your destination country.

Service Animals

Before traveling, you should research taking a service animal abroad:

  • Contact your destination country’s nearest embassy or consulate for information on possible legal restrictions, accessibility issues, or cultural norms that may affect your travel with your service animal.
  • Find out about any quarantine, vaccination, and documentation requirements that your destination, and any transit countries, may have.
  • Talk with your vet about tips for traveling with your service animal.
  • Make sure your hotel will accommodate your service animal.
  • Confirm with your airline whether it has any additional requirements.

Assistive Equipment

Research whether the airline follows specific policies for devices such as wheelchairs, portable machines, batteries, respirators, and oxygen. The airport/security screening in the departing and arriving airports may also have specific policies.

  • Research the availability of wheelchair and/or medical equipment providers and repair services.
  • Consider the following regarding wheelchairs:
    • Manual vs. power
    • Supplies such as wheelchair tires, tubes, and patch kits – consider bringing extra as these may not be available at your destination.
    • Gate checking – Always gate check your wheelchair and retain the receipt
    • Airline policies on damaged equipment
    • Voltage of electricity at destination vs. voltage of power wheelchair
    • Type of electrical plug
    • Reliability of electrical system 24/7

Medical Consideration

Consult with your physician before traveling overseas to identify health care needs during your trip. If your health insurance plan does not provide coverage overseas, we strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans. Remember that Medicare does not provide coverage overseas. Private insurance plans may require you to pay for costs directly before getting reimbursed.

  • Visit our webpage, Your Health Abroad.
  • See the Travelers’ Health page of the Centers for Disease Control website.
  • Carry medical alert information and a letter from your health care provider describing your medical condition, medications, potential complications, and other pertinent medical information.
  • Carry sufficient prescription medication to last your entire trip, including extra medicine in case of delay. Some prescription medications that are legal in the United States are illegal in other countries. See for the specific area where you will be traveling, and contact the foreign embassy or consulate for more information.
  • Always carry your prescriptions in their labeled containers, not in a pill pack. 
  • Pack medications in your carry-on luggage. Avoid packing medications in checked luggage, in case your luggage is lost or delayed.
  • For medications that require refrigeration, consider how to best transport your medication (i.e., use an insulated bag; request a hotel room with a small refrigerator, etc.)
  • Consider bringing extra supplies such as incontinence supplies, diabetes test strips, hearing aid batteries, etc., as these may not be available at your destination.
  • Check out Mobility International USA’s tip sheet on health coverage while overseas.

Stay Connected

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier for the U.S. embassy or consulate to help in an emergency.


The U.S. Department of State assumes no responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the private organizations whose links appear above. The inclusion of the websites above on does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of the U.S. Department of State.  Additionally, the Department of State has not verified the veracity of information included on those websites nor is the Department of State involved in updating the information on websites maintained by private groups or organizations.

Last Updated: November 23, 2020