Whether on a train, plane or automobile, there are things we can try to do to make travel a little better. Even if it is a car ride that is only a few hours, with some planning, the experience may be more positive for everyone involved. Travel can be a challenge anyway, adding our special needs children to this, is an additional layer.
My biggest tip is to plan and prepare!
Have a check list .
There are apps that can help with this too. One that I love is Packpoint. It is very organized and even tells you the temperature of your destination. Keep everything on your list. There is no such thing as too much to plan for. Think about special foods, medications, any equipment, documents, extra clothing and even a favorite toy. All that you need to be sure you have everything to offer comfort and entertain.
If you are traveling by train or auto, you will have more flexibility with what you bring with you. If traveling by plane, don’t forget about the security measures and sizes you can have in flight. Here is a website to offer all info on air travel check ins.
Have extra items of clothing in case you need it, it will be better to have them on you then to buy them while away. If you are lucky enough to have a washer & dryer at your destination- even better! Have some comfort items for your child, a favorite pair of pajamas, book, or t shirt. Think about small items to entertain too, download some favorite TV shows, movies or games. Bring a deck of cards , coloring
See if you can Pre check in for a flight, pre board and de plane early if need be. Let hotel know any special needs or requests. If you rather be on a lower level floor to eliminate longer waits on elevators, ask.
Prepare Your Child.
The change in routine may bring stress, so the more we can do to help prepare, the better off we will all be. Social Stories may help along with a visual calendar to count the days. Showing pictures of the destination and things you will be doing while away, may also be helpful. We also show our son the date we will return home, so he has that info as well. An app that does a great social story for travel is Model Me Going Places.
Plan For The Unknown.
Just incase and just because, we need to have info and cover all bases. It is what we try do every day! Have resources. Have your doctor write a letter for your child stating their diagnosis. Some of our children have an “invisible” diagnosis and having that letter may prove helpful at the airport, hotel or somewhere else.
Look into resources at your destination, know where there is a doctor or facility in case an emergency arises.
Be a part of all you can. Communicate as much as you can and breathe. You deserve to have a wonderful vacation and it may take extra steps to prepare and we may have more unknown moments, but we can do it! It is as important for us to create family memories and our children deserve the same opportunities.
I hope that all that have any plans for travel find these tips helpful and along with all of this, please allow yourself a little alone time. Have a plan with your travel partner to take a walk alone or a bath or a spa service if that can be a possibility . Nothing helps us be ready for the day and taking care of our loved ones than starting by taking the time to take care of ourselves.