Solo Travelers with Disabilities Inspire Inclusion and Accessible Travel: How The Senate Is Responding

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Man Sitting Alone Cliff Backpacker Concept.

NEWS - A recent USA Today article highlights the challenges faced by disabled travelers, even in some of the most accessible destinations. The article identifies the top three US cities for disabled travelers, while also acknowledging the need for further improvements.

Additionally, accessibility issues in travel have been highlighted by the US Senate.  A new bill has been introduced that would require more detailed reporting on complaints from disabled travelers. USA Today reports that there were "1,394 disability-related complaints in 2021, which was a 54% increase from the 905 disability-related complaints DOT received in 2019 and a more than 157% increase from the 542 complaints received in 2020." As a separate report, approximately 1.5 of every 100 mobility assistance devices are mishandled by airlines. The Senate bill aims to understand these issues and better accommodate individuals of all abilities.

Contributors to exposing traveling with disabilities are influencers on various social media platforms. The individuals highlighted in this article overcome their obstacles while providing information for others that may have similar challenges. These individuals push the boundaries of what is possible and inspire others to explore the world. Perhaps more importantly, they are inspiring inclusion and are setting the trend for anyone to travel confidently. Let us introduce you to five of these incredible influencers.

Cory Lee

Cory Lee has been diagnosed with type-2 spinal muscular atrophy since he was two years old. At the age of four, he began using a power wheelchair. But this doesn't stop Cory from exploring the world.

He has mastered the art of worldwide travel by wheelchair and now considers himself an expert. He has visited 41 countries across seven continents!

Cory not only shares his experiences at Curb Free with Cory Lee, but his insight into traveling via wheelchair helps others to reach those far-off destinations they may have only dreamt about.

He provides travel tips, detailing which cities and beaches he's personally visited that are the most wheelchair-accessible. Cory also interviews other disabled travel bloggers for inspiring insight as to what they've experienced in their ventures.

Cory has overcome some challenges along the journey. He was once trapped inside a burning bus, had his wheelchair charger blow, and was even attacked by an angry hippo!

He's overcome these challenges, learning from each, along a path toward individual growth and aiming to improve the world around him so that everyone can access it safely.

Cory has received numerous awards for his blogs for inspiring people with disabilities who also want to travel freely. As one of his followers, Vicki Girarsin said, "he has shown me the possibility of travel to places I only would have dreamed of."

Parvinder Chawla

Parvinder, or Pammu as she likes to be called, has been to 59 countries to date. She was stricken with rheumatic arthritis when she was 22 and 16 years later, began traveling solo! Her first international solo trip was to Bali and since she has been to six continents so far.

She went paragliding in Taiwan, kayaking in Udupi, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, took the metro in China, and backpacked across Europe. Pretty impressive!

When you search for @wheelchairandeye on IG, you'll see that Pammu's recent posts focus on India, her home country. She uses her platform to advocate for inclusive travel, enabling more people with disabilities to explore the world independently.

She believes that the infrastructure, transport facilities, language, and affordability of traveling should be given more thought. According to her, this would prevent people with disabilities from being hindered from experiencing the beauty of the world.

Pammu dreams of traveling all over the globe completely by herself but she also wants other people to have that choice and confidence no matter what their circumstances are in life. She said in an interview that "what we lack in infrastructure, people make up for with their generosity and helpful nature."

Tony Giles

Tony Giles, who goes by the same name on YouTube, Tony the Traveller on FB, and @theblindbackpacker on IG, shares how he, "sees the world through his senses."

He may be differently abled by being blind and severely deaf but he makes sure that his other senses help him experience the very best of each country he visits.

He savors the taste of the local food no matter how exotic it may be (fried cockroach, perhaps), enjoys the music and sound of nature, delights in the smells around him, and he never backs down from any adventure.

He has photos and videos of himself quad biking in a desert in Namibia, riding a motorized wooden boat to Ilhèu das Rolas Island, standing at the mouth of Boca do Inferno (Mouth of Hell) in São Tomè, and listening to the sound of the fountain in Yerevan, Armenia just to name a few of his adventures to cap off 2022.

He credits the people he meets from all over the world for being able to enjoy all these places. He said that "people just want to help you and want to look after you" when they realize that you're a person with a disability.

Because of this, he has visited over a hundred nations on the seven continents of the world.


With an IG handle that screams wanderlust, it's no surprise that she's passionate about travel. Her deafness isn't stopping her from pursuing her dreams.

Marlene says in her bio, she's an "empowered deaf woman" who proudly represents their community. She wants to break misconceptions about deaf girls and women.
As she says, "they are capable of taking care of themselves and being independent." She urges their community to use #DeafCANTravel to raise awareness and empower other members of the deaf community to feel free to travel anywhere they want to go.
Marlene acknowledges that there is a stigma on deaf travelers and points out the lack of global accessibility and inclusivity among the challenges to traveling solo for those with disabilities. But she also shares the perks of being a deaf traveler such as, "being able to sleep through the noisy hotels at night!"
Clearly, she packs a lot of positivity whenever she travels.
Marlene has been to 11 countries outside of the USA that includes China, Brazil, Mongolia, Taiwan, Nepal, and Mexico. She makes a video of the places she's been to show other travelers how to experience the local culture. She also meets with local deaf communities when possible.


Tali is another traveler in a wheelchair who has been to 21 countries so far. She shares her travels and adventures on her blog and IG account which both go by the name @rollwithasmile where she also provides useful information for fellow wheelchair travelers.

For Tali, being a full-time wheelchair user because of muscular dystrophy has helped her, "regain her freedom and find a way back to her love of travel." She wants to encourage others to discover the joys of wheelchair traveling and explore the world.

She shares accessible places and activities in her home country in Israel and European countries that she's been to.

She admits that it hasn't been easy and that she also has fears most of the time. Traveling also takes a toll on her body and she needs days to recover after each trip. But for Tali, it's all worth it!

How The Senate Is Responding to Improve Accessible Travel for Individuals with Disabilities

In summary, these tenacious solo travelers (and many others) with disabilities are motivating organizations to join the movement for inclusive and accessible travel. The recent USA Today article exposed the prevalent challenges encountered by disabled travelers, even in the most convenient locations. While these challenges haven't discouraged the fearless adventurers featured here, they still do encounter them, use their platform to discuss them in a productive way, and have inspired others to do the same.

The US Senate is now taking note of their compelling stories and is responding with a new proposal to enhance accessibility and accommodations for disabled travelers. The bill would necessitate more detailed reporting on complaints from these individuals and would address issues like airlines' mishandling of mobility assistance devices.

Through their expeditions, these travel influencers are not only motivating others to travel solo, but they are also fostering a movement towards a world that is more inclusive. By sharing their perspectives and experiences, they are paving the way for a future where accessible travel is the norm.

Thanks to Cory, Tony, Pammu, Marlene, and Tali, we can all play a part in creating the possibility for everyone to explore the magnificent world without restrictions or boundaries.

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