Travelers with Disabilities

Research Your Destination

Each country has its own laws regarding discrimination against and accessibility for persons with disabilities. Before you travel, visit Find information for travelers with disabilities in the Local Laws & Special Circumstances section. In some countries, there is little to no requirement for accessibility.  


Know Before You Go

Preparing for your trip is critical:

  • Talk to your travel agent, hotel, airline, or cruise ship company. Learn about services including accessible accommodations and travel during your trip and at your destination. Ask them about rules for traveling with a service animal. Ask about any other rules for assistive devices on various modes of transport.
  • Call the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) helpline at 855-787-2227 (toll-free). They may assist if you need help with the security screening process. You can also check TSA’s website, TSA Cares. They can answer questions about screening policies, procedures, and security checkpoints.
  • Check websites such as Mobility International USA to find overseas disability organizations. See more links below.
  • Check out the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program. It’s in 230+ airports and helps travelers who have hidden disabilities. Travelers wear the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard or related aid. These can be found at information desks of participating airports. By wearing them, travelers alert staff that they may need help. More information can be found on the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower website.
  • Read Section 6 of the State Department's annual Human Rights Report. Find information about the human rights and social service framework. It governs the rights of individuals with disabilities in your destination country. 
  • Check on the help services available that are provided at your destination airport. 

Service Animals

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

  • Check the Country Information Page for the country you are going to visit. Look for information on legallimits, access issues, or cultural norms. They may affect travel with your service animal.
  • Find out about any quarantine, vaccination, or documentation requirements. Research these for your destination country. Research this also for any countries you will travel through.
  • 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 what its requirement are.
  • View Mobility International USA’s tip sheet for Service Dogs and International Travel.

Assistive Devices and Equipment

Research whether the airline follows specific rules for your assistive devices and equipment. These may include wheelchairs, portable machines, batteries, respirators, and oxygen. You could be required either to take such items only as checked baggage, or only as carry-ons.  Security screening in the departing and arriving airports may also have specific rules for such equipment.  

  • Research if there are wheelchair and/or medical equipment providers at your destination. Also check if there are repair services there.
  • Consider the following regarding wheelchairs and other assistive devices and equipment:
    • Check on any rules about wheelchairs. This includes the type, like manual vs. power, and other devices like scooters. Bring extra supplies as wheelchair tires, tubes, and patch kits may not be available at your destination
    • Always gate check your wheelchair and keep the receipt. 
    • Have information about your equipment at hand.  This includes its make and model and type of battery used, if any.  
    • Check airline policies on damaged equipment and how long it may take for replacement.
    • Check the voltage of electricity at your destination and the voltage of the power wheelchair. You may need a converter.
    • Check the type of electrical plug and outlets at your destination. Consider bringing an adaptor if needed.
    • Consider the reliability of the electrical system at your destination, 24/7
    • Bring extra batteries for devices such as hearing aids.
    • Consider bringing a portable external charger for equipment such as communication devices.

Medical Consideration

Check with your physician before traveling overseas. Understand what health care you may need during your trip. Your health insurance plan may not provide coverage overseas. We strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans. Remember that U.S. Medicare / Medicaid does not provide coverage overseas. Private health insurance plans may not cover claims. If they do, they may require you to pay costs directly before getting reimbursed.

  • Visit our webpage Your Health Abroad.
  •  Visit the Travelers’ Health page of the Centers for Disease Control website.
  • Carry medical alert information and emergency contacts. Also, bring a letter from your health care provider. The lettershould describe your medical condition, allergies, medications, potential complications, and other important information.
  • Carry sufficient prescription medication to last your entire trip. Bring extra medicine in case of delays. Some prescription medications that are legal in the United States are illegal in other countries. Visit to make sure your medication is legal.
  • Always carry your prescriptions in their labeled containers, not in a pill pack. 
  • Pack medications in your carry-on luggage. Do not pack medication in checked luggage, which can be lost or delayed.
  • If you medication requires refrigeration, consider how to transport it. For example, use an insulated bag. Request a hotel room with a small refrigerator.
  • Consider bringing extra supplies. For example, incontinence supplies, diabetes test strips, and hearing aid batteries may not be available at your destination. 
  • Find out the type of medical services, hospitals, and urgent care facilities at your destination. This may include dialysis centers. 
  • Check out Mobility International USA’s tip sheet on health coverage while overseas.


While some airports have real-time alerts appearing on screens, not all have this feature. If you need real-time information related to your travel, sign up for alerts with your airline. Check with your airline’s service desk. You can get up-to-date information like gate changes, delays, and cancellations.


Stay Connected

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages. It also makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or consulate to reach you in an emergency.


Useful Links


This site is managed by the U.S. Department of State. External links to other Internet sites and listings of private entities on this page are provided as a convenience and should not be construed as the U.S. Department of State or U.S. government endorsement of the entity, its views, the products or services it provides, or the accuracy of information contained therein. The order in which names appear has no significance, and the listings or links may be removed at any time at the discretion of the Department.

Last Updated: February 28, 2024