Most disabilities shouldn't stop anyone from traveling in the U.S. Thanks to provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act, most public places are required to comply with disability-friendly regulations. Almost all public establishments (including hotels, restaurants, museums, and so on, but not including certain National Historic Landmarks), and at least some modes of public transportation, provide accessible entrances and other facilities for those with disabilities.
Before planning a trip to Atlanta, travelers with disabilities should request A Guide to Atlanta for People with Disabilities, available from the Shepherd Center, a nationally renowned Atlanta hospital specializing in the treatment of spinal-cord injuries and diseases. The guide rates the accessibility of local museums, parks, restaurants, hotels, theaters, sports venues, and other popular tourist stops. Accessibility is assessed in several categories, including restrooms, parking, main entrances, and telephones. The booklet also lists services and other information of interest to travelers with disabilities. For a free copy, contact the Noble Learning Resource Center, Shepherd Center, 2020 Peachtree Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30309 (tel. 404/350-7473). The guide is also available at www.shepherd.org.
Many travel agencies offer customized tours and itineraries for travelers with disabilities. Flying Wheels Travel (tel. 507/451-5005; www.flyingwheelstravel.com) provides escorted tours and cruises that emphasize sports, as well as private tours in minivans with lifts. Access-Able Travel Source (tel. 303/232-2979; www.access-able.com) offers extensive access information and advice for traveling around the world with disabilities. Accessible Journeys (tel. 800/846-4537 or 610/521-0339; www.disabilitytravel.com) caters specifically to slow walkers and wheelchair travelers and their families and friends.
Avis Rent a Car has an "Avis Access" program that offers such services as a dedicated 24-hour toll-free number (tel. 888/879-4273) for customers with special travel needs; special car features such as swivel seats, spinner knobs, and hand controls; and accessible bus service.
Organizations that provide assistance to travelers with disabilities include MossRehab (www.mossresourcenet.org), which provides a library of accessible-travel resources online; SATH (Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality; tel. 212/447-7284; www.sath.org; annual membership fees: $45 adults, $30 seniors and students), which offers a wealth of travel resources for all types of disabilities and informed recommendations on destinations, access guides, travel agents, tour operators, vehicle rentals, and companion services; and the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) (tel. 800/232-5463; www.afb.org), a referral resource for the blind and visually impaired, which includes information on traveling with Seeing Eye dogs.
For more information specifically targeted to travelers with disabilities, check out the magazines Emerging Horizons ($15 per year, $20 outside the U.S.; www.emerginghorizons.com) and Open World ($13 per year, $21 outside the U.S.; published by SATH).
For more on organizations that offer resources to travelers with disabilities, go to www.frommers.com/planning.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.