An Intro to Accessible RV Travel with Cory Lee
An Intro to Accessible RV Travel with Cory Lee
Plus, top features and benefits of the Winnebago Inspire.
By: GoLife Staff
For Cory Lee, a love of travel and exploring new places has been a constant since childhood. However, during his first international trip to the Bahamas at 15, the travel bug really sunk its teeth in. Realizing such a different culture existed not too far from his home in Georgia made him wonder how exciting places on the other side of the world might be! However, as someone who uses a wheelchair, planning travel involves a lot more research and challenges.
While researching a trip to Australia, Cory realized that accessibility information was very lacking online and was inspired to create a blog, CurbFreeWithCoryLee.com, to share more insights and tips for people traveling with a disability. He even wrote a children’s book with his mom, Sandy, to help inspire younger generations to travel and “show that the possibilities for all children are limitless.”
Cory has traveled to 37 countries and every continent. He explored the ‘Golden Triangle’ of India, rode a camel in the Sahara Desert, and soared in a hot air balloon over Israel. Even after all of these adventures, traveling in an RV was an experience still on the list – until this March, when he went on a road trip with his mom in the accessibility enhanced Winnebago Inspire!
First Impressions of RVing & the Winnebago Inspire
Like many other travel lovers, the pandemic led to a long pause in taking trips for Cory. (Although, he did check off visiting Antarctica – his seventh continent! – in February of 2020, just before things began to shut down around the world). Now that domestic travel is possible again, he has been excited to explore his home country a bit more. Traveling in an RV turned out to be a fun and convenient way to do so!
However, Cory admits that he was a little nervous in the days leading up to his much-anticipated RV trip. And his mom, who would be driving the almost-36-ft RV during their trip, was worried about how difficult it would be to maneuver.
Cory’s first-ever glimpse of RVing came from a movie, so part of him wondered if it would indeed be a comedy of errors filled with near-misses and traumatic tank issues. Luckily, Cory and Sandy had a wonderful trip that was hiccup-free and filled with great memories. Sandy even became confident in driving their temporary rolling home after the initial anxiety wore off!
For other new RVers, Cory does highly recommend researching before heading out in an RV for the first time. He credits their smooth trip to watching YouTube video tutorials, studying up on important RVing information beforehand, and paying close attention to the knowledgeable team who introduced them to the Winnebago Inspire.
Top Features of the Accessibility Enhanced Winnebago Inspire
Getting to test out traveling in an accessibility enhanced RV was the main focus of their trip and something Cory really enjoyed. Although they fell in love with the many comforts of this motorhome, there were two features of the Winnebago Inspire that really impressed Cory: the BraunAbility Lift and the roll-in shower.
As an avid traveler who also uses a wheelchair, Cory is used to not being sure what options will be available when arriving at a new destination. Even hotel rooms that claim to be accessible vary significantly in their features. So, having the comforts of home and accessibility enhanced features readily available for the entirety of his trip really allowed Cory to enjoy the journey more than ever before.
He noted that the lift “made getting in and out of the RV extremely easy.” (Check out a video here). The roll-in shower was another stand-out feature because not all ‘accessible’ showers are easy to use. Plus, a roll-in shower option is actually very uncommon to find in accessible hotel rooms.
Cory felt that having these options in a comfortable home on wheels is an ideal way to travel for people with accessibility needs. It offers so many valuable benefits that improve the travel experience!
Benefits of Traveling in an RV for a Wheelchair User
When asked how traveling in an accessibility enhanced RV compared to other types of travel, Cory was quick to mention that “air travel for someone who uses a wheelchair is a nightmare.” He has to be physically lifted into his seat on the airplane, can’t use the restroom during the flight, and his wheelchair is put in with the luggage, which can lead to damage – on one trip, it was actually unusable when returned to him after the flight!
RVing is very low stress (especially in comparison to flying) and allows much more control and freedom. Cory had easy access to a bed, restroom, kitchen, and everything else he needed for an enjoyable trip – all within a few feet. Removing the discomfort, hassles, and uncertainties of traveling by plane or hotel hopping made him a quick RV enthusiast!
Plus, with RVing, Cory loved that he could visit multiple destinations in one trip, save hours of time he would usually dedicate to searching for accessible hotel rooms, and not have to pack and unpack all of his equipment constantly.
If you read Cory’s blog, you’ll soon find out that he is not afraid of having to do deep internet research, find creative solutions, or endure some major inconveniences in the pursuit of adventure. However, taking a break from the research and just enjoying the trip was a welcome change of pace.
During his trip, he shared with his Instagram followers that he felt like he was really on ‘vacation’ for the first time in years. “Since the Winnebago Inspire is so spacious and accommodating, I’ve really been able to enjoy my time and relax. There’s no need to rush to do everything. I’ve loved just chilling at the campgrounds and in the RV more than anything.”
Cory’s Florida RV Road Trip Recap
Obviously, the RV was a hit, but are you wondering where Cory and his mom went on their first-ever RV trip? After narrowing down their options to a warm-weather March destination not too far from home, they decided on a trip to some unique, beach-focused places in Florida.
After driving down from Georgia, they picked up the RV in Sanford and headed to the nearby Orange City RV Resort to get acquainted with their new adventure mobile. Luckily, they received plenty of offers to help with setup, so they knew they had support if needed!
On their first full day as RVers, they headed to St. Augustine – a place Cory always wanted to visit due to its interesting history as America’s oldest city. St. Augustine not only came through with gorgeous architecture and historical sites, but it also had plenty of accessible options (including a free tour of the city on an open-air vehicle). Cory was also very impressed by Anastasia State Park, where they stayed for three nights. There was even accessible access to the beach!
Another stop on their trip was Jensen Beach, where they stayed at Ocean Breeze RV Resort. They fell in love with this “hidden gem of a small beach town” and the very welcoming ‘snowbirding’ community at the RV park.
Although Cory and Sandy enjoyed the stops on their trip, it was the RVing community and the welcoming nature of RVers that they felt really made the trip. They regularly received warm welcomes at every park they visited, along with kind offers for help getting parked and set up.
Final Thoughts on Making RVing More Accessible
While Cory was testing out the Winnebago Inspire on this trip, he received multiple comments on his social posts asking how one of these RVs could be rented. Currently, Winnebago’s accessibility enhanced vehicles are only available for purchase; however, Winnebago is working to make their accessible RVs available to dealerships that have rental programs. Hopefully, renting will soon be an option for others wanting to try out an accessibility enhanced motorhome!
And for those wondering how they can help make the RVing lifestyle more accessible, there is a simple way we can all start making things a little bit easier for those with accessibility needs: help get campgrounds, attractions, and other establishments to post accessibility information online!
Cory had only great things to say about RVing, but he did mention that researching places to stay and visit could get a little frustrating when the information he was looking for wasn’t available on a company’s website. Having to call and get an (often unsure) answer over the phone is not ideal when it’s something that can make or break the trip. So, when you book your camping reservation or tourist activity online, try to remember to take a moment to check if accessibility information is easy to find and send a quick note to the company if it isn’t.
Luckily, finding information on accessible RV parks is getting easier thanks to a growing awareness of the need to make RVing more accessible. For example, RVingAccessibiliy.org is a great resource for finding parks. The RVing Accessibility Group (RVAG) is also committed to providing educational training to the RV and campground industry on accommodating customers with disabilities.
Of course, if you are an RVer, continuing to wave and welcome others also makes a huge difference to anyone who is trying out RVing for the first time! As Cory noted, RVers really are a wonderful group. Winnebago is proud to help make it easier for more people to experience and join this lovely community.
To follow along with more of Cory’s adventures, find accessible travel tips, and read about his past trips, don’t forget to check out his Instagram and blog. And to learn more about Winnebago’s accessibility enhanced options, click here!