How to Find the Perfect Accessible Vacation Rental House

Rental houses can be a great alternative to hotel rooms, especially if you're going to be vacationing in an area for more than a couple of days. Finding an accessible rental house used to be very difficult, as many private listings didn't disclose all the details about the house. With the growing prevalence of vacation rental house websites, it's getting easier to find the perfect rental house for your next vacation.

If this is your first time renting an accessible house for a vacation, the following is a great guide to get you started. It's best to start with what you know: your own home. Consider your must-have amenities; this helps you tailor your search. Next, you'll want to know where to search, and in just a few minutes you'll know what you're looking for and how to find it.

What to Look for in an Accessible Vacation Home

Before you start searching for an accessible vacation home for your next trip, first consider what you should look for in an ideal home. This will make it easier to narrow down your search and ensure the home you book will suit your needs.

The best place to start when considering what to look for in an accessible vacation home is to look at your own home. Make a list of some of your must-have accessible amenities. This can start with an accessible bathroom, accessible bedrooms, and a spacious kitchen and dining area.

Choosing a home with enough square footage and good room sizes is also helpful, as some homes range from cabins and condos to full mansions. It's suggested to make a list, because then you can choose what's a must-have and what can be adjusted to make things easier. Referring to your list as you search makes it easier to choose filters, keywords, and home styles.

In addition to the rooms themselves and the home layout, you'll also want to make sure that the doorways are wide enough for a wheelchair or walker to fit through. The home may appear accessible due to the room size, but navigating throughout the home is also important. It's easy to assume that all homes have standard doorways, but depending on the age of the home, doors may be narrower than you'd like. Looking at the year of the home, or asking before you book the home, is the best way to ensure every doorway and entryway is accessible.

Here are some general features most homes should include:

  • Spacious rooms: Both for sleeping and lounging, you'll want space everyone can enjoy together.
  • A large master bathroom: Typically, the master or biggest bedroom will have the most space which could mean a more accessible space.
  • Vehicle access: You'll want to make sure the path from the home to the vehicle is accessible, or can be adjusted with a portable ramp if needed.
  • Wheelchair or handicap accessibility to the following spaces:
    • Balcony or deck spaces
    • Outdoor areas
    • Driveway, garage, and front door
    • Bed height
    • Shower accessibility
    • Special amenities like a hot tub, swimming pool, or lake access

When searching for an accessible rental house, it's important to consider what you're willing to do to make the home fit your needs. This can mean renting a home further away from your destination because it's more accessible, or renting or bringing equipment to adjust the space.

Rental equipment companies can provide lifts, shower access equipment, or an adjustable bed if needed. Choosing to take the extra step to rent equipment, both for indoor and outdoor use, can make a big different in how accessible a rental house can be.

Equipment that may be available to rent includes:

  • Shower chair and bathroom rails
  • Hoyer lift
  • Adjustable bed
  • Power wheelchair or scooter
  • Outdoor ramps
  • Rental vehicle for wheelchair-accessible transportation

When you're looking for an accessible rental house, you should also consider what your deal-breakers are. This will help you know what to completely avoid. Some listings will be easy to rule out due to the home layout or lack of accessible rooms, but you should also consider what you can't or won't adapt. You don't want to agree to a rental house because you think you can make adjustments, only to then discover that the house won't work.

Don't hesitate to send messages to place calls to ask for more specifics about a listing. You can also contact the renter or company to address your needs, as they may know how a specific listing can be adapted or if there's another home available that may better suit what you're looking for.

Where to Find Accessible Vacation Homes

Vacation home

Online Services

There are several online websites that offer rental houses specifically for vacations. These sites offer a range of homes from either private owners or through a company. These listings look a lot like real estate listings and provide pictures of the house as well as the property. The services that post these houses operate as a go-between for the lister and the renter.

The most popular websites for vacation houses are Airbnb and VRBO. Both of these sites have accessibility filters, including wheelchair accessibility, which means you can sort the potential rental houses by what's available. Airbnb has more accessibility-specific filters like roll-in showers, no steps, and bedroom specifics. Another good option is Handiscover, but it has more properties in Europe, so keep that in mind depending on where you're headed for your vacation.

You may need to use a variety of filters, both the obvious accessibility options as well as specifics like air conditioning, parking, and home features in order to find the best home for your needs.

Local Rental Companies

Another options for finding accessible vacation homes is starting with an internet search for your destination and the term "vacation home rental." This may seem obvious, but there's a greater chance of finding a local rental company through a general search than finding a listing through a rental website that happens to be with a local company.

Using a local company may be a better option in terms of the home having specifics about the location. Here's an example: If you want to rent an accessible lake house, using a rental company may be better because they'll have a better idea of the area, what's available, and what could fulfill your needs rather than trying to find homes on a third-party website for your specific location.

Putting Everything Together

By taking the time to consider what you'll need in a vacation home and where to look for a vacation home, you'll be more likely to find a home that suits your needs. It could also be a good idea to look into equipment rentals, vehicle rentals, local wheelchair/handicap-accessible taxi or bus services, and local grocery options before booking the rental house.

Choosing an accessible rental house for your next vacation could be a great idea if you can find the right accessibility. I recently stayed in an accessible rental home while vacationing at Margaritaville Orlando Resort and it was great. Sometimes choosing a larger house is better than staying in a hotel, as everyone can relax, spread out, and have the space they need. Vacation rental houses can be a great alternative to hotels because of convenience, accessibility, and cost.

Accessible vacation rentals are becoming more prevalent and hopefully this trend continues. The more people inquire about and show the need for accessible spaces, the easier they will be to discover. Many websites and property management or rental companies are accommodating more accessibility, including wheelchairs and other disabilities. This paired with rental companies, grocery delivery, and other third-party services, means many vacation houses can be adapted to accommodate your needs.

About the Author

Cory Lee

After being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two, Cory Lee's thirst for adventure never ceased. He went on many trips around the U.S. when he was younger, and then started taking things internationally when he turned 15. Since then, Cory has traveled to 21 countries across six continents, all while managing to start up his travel blog Curb Free with Cory Lee, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not-so-accessible travel adventures with others. Cory is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). He has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, in a nationwide segment for CBS News, Lonely Planet, and many others. His blog won the 2017 Best Travel Blog Gold Lowell Thomas Award. He hopes to inspire other wheelchair users to roll out of their comfort zone and see all of the beauty that the world has to offer.

Cory Lee's ride is a Quickie QM-710.

Most of the stories here on were submitted by readers. Do you have a story to tell? We'd love to hear it. Submit your story here.

Date: 11/7/2019 12:00:00 AM

Latest Comments

4/16/2024 | José Díaz
Invaluable resource! ¡Tu guía sobre el uso de GoFundMe para gastos de movilidad ofrece consejos p...

2/18/2024 | Jamie Elliott
I played in a wc hybrid tournament, Mid South, last yr. He is an amazing player and I’m sure he i...

2/8/2024 | Elaine Cook
Great article written by a wonderful Christain man. You're such an inspiration!!!

2/7/2024 | Diana Weaver
I enjoyed reading your article. I'm thankful I had the opportunity to play with you as my pi...

1/10/2024 | Mary Goldberg
Thanks to Tyler for sharing the awesome opportunities! As the MRT Program Director, I'm always ha...

How to get funding for your assistive technology