Editor’s Note: This story was written by William Flood and first appeared on the Mobile RVing blog “The Buzz.”
In 1973, five disabled couples from California and Texas came together to form a club which would encourage other handicapped people to travel, meet, as well as exchange ideas and information about making RVs accessible for disabled travelers. From that meeting emerged the Handicapped Travel Club (HTC).
Originally, the HTC was open only to families where at least one person was handicapped. However, so many people without handicaps started asking to join — motivated by HTC’s principles — that membership was opened to anyone regardless of disability.
Today, the group’s mission of “fun and fellowship” has helped attract over 250 members across dozens of states and even from Canada and England. Their Facebook group is 1,200 strong.
One fan’s enthusiastic comments on the HTC website reflects how well the group is received: “I was so happy to read about your group. I never knew something existed for people with handicapping conditions traveling and enjoying the great outdoor life. So excited to see that you are able to find people that hold your same interest. I am not handicapped, but my daughter has an autoimmune disease that leaves her unable to walk. She is otherwise very independent. She is in still quite young; not yet 40. She would love to travel, but our 5th wheel is not accessible. So I am learning from this site on how she could do this with people her age.”
Benefits of membership include a quarterly newsletter, local gatherings, as well as regional and annual rallies in various locations across the country. Those rallies are events where folks can meet, ask questions about the RV lifestyle, and get insight into accessibility modifications before purchasing a vehicle.
Barbara Gratzke, head of marketing for the group, said one of the benefits of the rallies are, “Opportunities to tour rigs we call “Show and Tell,” where attendees can see peoples’ RVs, go inside, and see what the owners did.”
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