I use a mobility scooter when I travel. I will be staying in Los Angeles for a month this year. Unfortunately my scooter is too big for a car, and I almost choked on the $2600 it will cost to rent an accessible van. Can you offer any alternatives, as this is a little rich for my blood.
First, you might want to look into getting a lightweight folding scooter when it’s time to replace your current model. These can easily be broken down to fit in the trunk of most cars. The Travel Scoot has gotten some good ratings and the company is very reputable. www.travelscoot.com/ I know many people who use one, specifically so they can travel.
I don’t know the extent of your disability, but I also have friends who use power wheelchairs that take a folding manual wheelchair when they travel, specifically so they don’t have to shell out the cost for an accessible rental van. The down side of this is that if you can’t self-propel, you’ll have to have somebody push you, and that greatly takes away from your independence. If you do go this route, stay away from the flimsy transport chairs (they have four little wheels). They are cheap, but they don’t work very well and they break a lot.
Another option is to look into public transportation, and see how accessible it is. Many cities also have accessible taxis, so that can help supplement it a bit.
Another option is rent a standard (not accessible) van and take a portable suitcase ramp with you. Budget rents regular vans, and although they aren’t as cheap as a rental car, they are far cheaper that an accessible van. The portable ramp comes in handy for buildings (like maybe a friend’s house) that aren’t accessible. EZ Access offers a ramp for these purposes, and I even know a few tour operators who use them in vans in Europe. ezaccess.com/products/portables.asp
The one thing that I don’t recommend is paratransit (the handy ride). You do have to be certified to use this service, but it is largely for people going to doctors appointments, and they put a very low priority on everything else. It’s also not that dependable, and some paratransit agencies won’t go to airports.
I’m sorry I can’t offer a better solution to you, but it’s one of those cases where you really just have to do the best you can to make something accessible for you. Believe me, there are many people like you out there that are doing the same. Good luck.