A wheelchair user from Europe reached out to me a few days ago. He's about to tour America and wanted to ask for some tips on accessibility. I always say, it depends where you are. Older cities with historic areas such as New York and Washington DC tend to have more problems than places that had their growth spur in the last couple of decades. My advice when booking a hotel? Even if it shows on one of those tourism websites as "accessible" always check with the front desk. Call them up to make sure what the have and they don't have. Is there an elevator? Do they have rooms on the ground floor? Even if you don't need a special, "wheelchair friendly" adapted room- if like me you can crawl or lean on the furniture to get around- confirm that it's not set up in a way that can hardly fit a wheelchair in there (which was my latest experience at a Days Inn in Ft Lauderdale). Bottom line: educate yourself, get the information you need, because you may end up sitting in your chair in front of a hotel with an elegant staircase leading to the front entrance frantically calling the front desk and freezing your hands off in the middle of winter. All because the website I used to book it with had it listed as accessible. It turned out that it wasn't, so I was on the phone with the site, while they were looking for a hotel to put me in. No apologies, no discounts- they're just the agent. The man wasn't really pleased with what I told him. He thought New York City is very accessible. And it is- compared to some places in Europe for example it's heaven. But then, I don't care for statistics. I can either get somewhere or I can't. If I'm rolling down the sidewalk and there's no ramp forcing me to go back a block- it doesn't help me that 70, 80% or however large number of the city is wheelchair accessible. It doesn't make me feel better if I'm in the wrong area, if this is where I am at the moment. That this is a sidewalk of a limited number of sidewalks in Manhattan that I should avoid if I'm already on it. All I know is, sidewalks were an issue for me in New York City. And there were subway stations that where not wheelchair friendly, you had to find the one in the area that was. That seeing all those buildings with stairs I would never be able to enter made me sad. You do develop this "It could be worse" type of an attitude. But I do get where he's coming from. For the longest time after I moved to this country I had this "it has to work out"approach, which made me bold. I assumed everything would be wheelchair accessible, because this is America- people make it here. And then if it wasn't - I treated that as a problem that I had to solve, because I needed to make it there. That for some reason gave me plenty of drive and motivation as if I needed to show the world what I'm made of, but also to validate my own assumptions and presumptions as to what America really was. Failure was not an option. I reacted to every obstacle with even more energy and "I got this" kind of a take. There was no stopping me. Then I told him about my experiences in DC- "Accessible room" meant a $20 shower handicapped sit over a pretty regular bathtub. Then I told him to make sure to ask for the right type of the bed. With the big boxsprings and mattress and the fluffy covers a person sitting down in a wheelchair can actually be lower than the top of the bed, making it so much harder to get in and out. Bottom line: don't be afraid to ask and to straight to the horses mouth. Don't assume that just because it's a good chain or a city that you know well that it has to work out. Because if there is a problem, it's much better to deal with it over the phone from the comfort of your home rather than the sidewalk in front of your hotel when you're trying to think what what to do next and how you got into this situation. The front desk people, they just work there and you'll be the one stuck with the consequences.