Holiday Travel with a Child That Has Special Needs

December 1, 2015

The holidays can be a fun but stressful time, especially for families that have a child with special needs! For most families there is extra planning and preparation needed before trips and outings are made. Here is a compilation of some tips to ease the stress of traveling this year:

Planning

  1. Before you go on your fun family trip you have to decide how you are getting there. This sounds simple but for each mode of transportation there could be barriers and frustrations.
  2. Make your travel arrangements as early as possible and start talking to your kids about your trip. If you are flying, ask if you can get priority boarding.
  3. Call around or search the internet for destinations and hotels that have accommodations for you and your family. The number of places that do are growing each year! (below is a list of some resources for both in and out of country trips)

Resources:

Preparation

  1. Packing: When packing for a holiday trip you always pack your essentials (clothes and toiletries), but in addition it is a great idea to pack distractions as well; toys, games, movies, iPads. If you’re going to the airport or have a long car ride you’ll want to bring some items that can serve as entertainment for the kids.
  2. Practice: Practicing for your trip is a great way to lessen the stress of being out of routine. If you are flying, take a trip to the airport even if it’s a short one. Call the airport and ask if they have an autism access program in place. Many times they will let you come to the airport and do a run through of the boarding process.
  3. Meal Prep: Whether you are driving or flying, take into consideration meal and snack times. Fill a cooler or bag with snacks for long drives. At the airport and on the flight, see if there are in flight meals or buy food in the terminal to bring with you on the flight.

Safety

  1. No matter where you go, make sure you are prepared for emergencies.
  2. Bring necessary identifying documentations and medical information.
  3. If possible, bring extra medication. Accidents happen and this is something you don’t want to be without!

Have Fun!

  1. Take breaks when needed and remember to HAVE FUN! This is a great time to be and experience new things with your family!

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