"Access to the World, Travel Guide for the Handicapped," by Louise Weiss, Chatham Square Press, Inc., New York (178pp., $7.95). "Rollin' On: A Wheelchair Guide to U.S. Cities," by Maxine H. Atwater, Dodd Mead, New York (290 pp., $9.95). "Travel Ability: A Guide for Physically Disabled Travelers in the United States," by Lois Reamy, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York (298pp., illustrated, $9.95).
If you're a physically disabled adult - either wheelchair jockey or ambulatory-with boundless restless energy, and you are suffering the agonies of wanderlust but don't know the first thing about independently planning for a trip that will get you from here to there and back without your disability horning in (too much), then these three books are for you.
In "Access to the World," Louise Weiss, former assistant travel editor for Esquire magazine and a free-lance travel writer, discusses, diagrams and charts out everything you've ever wanted to know about taking your wheelchair (crutch) along to Tahiti but were afraid to ask.
Beginning with advice on how to cope with every existing mode of mass or private transportation from jumbo jet to four-wheel drive, the book is replete with lists: accessible airlines, their requirements, and how well equipped they are to serve the disabled, especially in emergencies; accessible airports and terminals everywhere; accessible bus lines, railways and shiplines the world over, the comments on the capacity (or incapacity) of each to serve the handicapped; descriptions of specific destinations, guidebooks, motels and hotels by name and location (there are even phone numbers for the most unexpected place).
Weiss also discusses, with thoroughness and humor, the chief Do's and Don't of traveling if you're disabled. Using her guide I'd feel comfortable mounting a safari to the Serengetti! Before you set out the next time (or the first) read it. You and your wheelchair (or crutch) will be more than safe: You'll be rewarded.
Should you be not yet quite up to taking on the world in one easy hangglide. Maxine H. Atwater's "Rollin' On" may be just the thing to get you started discovering the great places in our own land. Atwater, a Washington resident, is public relations director, Continuing, Education for Women Center, George Washington University.
In her easy, conversational style, the author suggests strategies for planning trips, getting there, choosing things to see and do, and contacts for travel information in eight large cities from coast to coast. A writer who has had extensive experience in the travel industry, she has either visited and personally researched, the high (and low) lights of each location, or taken the advice of travel-experienced handicapped people ("wheelers") residing in each area.
Atwater's book details the convenience of everything from bedrooms to zoo exhibits, with lists of restaurants, hotels and motels, their locations, and how well able they are to cater to the handicapped traveler's needs and desires. (She even remembers to list the bars.)
I found the separate discussion of each selected city, with specific suggestions for particular tours, quite unique. The author stresses that she found these eight locations the most highly accessible. She lists others that the disabled wanderer might enjoy, but does not regard them either as convenient or as attractive as those given detailed consideration.
Lois Reamy's "Travel Ability" duplicates, in form and substance, some of the best features of the two other books. It contains detailed recommendations and information concerning various modes of transportation, discusses the accessibility of hotel and motel chains nationwide, has advice on pre-planning, where to go, and whom to tip when. A very well-organized Appendix lists international travel sources by country, address and telephone numbers.
Reamy does follow some paths not taken by the other two authors. A prolific travel writer, she journeyed 14,000 miles to research her book. She is very concerned with attitudes , particularly in connection with certain qualities she says are required by the serious traveler, emphasizing the need for patient self-assertion and knowledgeable cooperation-especially with travel agents. The importance of agents to the handicapped traveler is covered in minute detail.
In addition, the author includes a chapter on medical matters of significance to the handicapped, all expertly discussed by Dr. Arthur S. Abramson, chairman of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and, himself, a veteran wheelchair pilgrim.
And if you don't know where to head with your wheelchair, crutch or companion, Reamy will tell you that, too. She singles out Hawaii-especially Oahu-as "a perfect place" and tells you how to plan your trip.