Just so you know, I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. Links may be affiliate links, which won't cost you anything extra when you purchase. For full affiliate disclosures, click here.
Autism Vacation Planning: Special Vacations for Special Families
If you have a special needs family member, then you likely need a vacation MORE than the average person. But you are probably less likely to take one.
Because traveling with a special needs family member can be challenging, as highlighted in this article from Children’s Disabilities Information. Planning for “extras” like vacations can seem frivolous, but in the months and years after the diagnosis sets it, you will find that maintaining quality of life – for your child and for entire family – will become essential.
Where to Go
For most families, this is the first step – and the most challenging step – in autism vacation planning. A typical family can often take a long day trip, go out to a special restaurant, or stay up late for an event or party without thinking twice. Sometimes that could just be one weekend.
If your special needs family is like ours, then each and every one of those special occasions might cause hours – or days- of fall-out in the form of disrupted sleep and eating patterns, and difficult behaviors. Putting them all together is really pushing the envelope, but no matter what your next vacation destination, here are three essentials to keep in mind as you choose your destination.
Tips for Travel
Often autism vacation planning involves traveling by air. These tips for airplane travel can help make your next flight – and thus the entire trip – more enjoyable not only for your loved one with special needs but for the rest of your family as well. The tips spell “SEATS” – an easy way to remember what to look for when planning, booking and taking your next flight.
READ MORE: 5 Essential Tips for Airplane Travel
Where to Stay
Where to stay is a big part of most travel. Being an autism family can shrink your radius – and make what can already be an isolating disorder feel even more so. Part of expanding your radius is being thoughtful about where you will stay in a new place, whether it be a special needs-friendly hotel or rental home. So take care of yourself – and your family – and plan a vacation now!
READ MORE: Autism Travel: 4 Rules for Where to Stay
What to Pack
Special needs travel can be challenging, but the right tools can go a long way to make it more manageable. And remember, the travel itself is just a short part of your vacation. If you can manage the plane, train or automobile part, your reward can be some peace of mind. Here are some ideas we found to help make your next trip safer and more enjoyable.
READ MORE: What to Pack: Piece of Mind Picks
After some challenging flights – and four years without flying anywhere – our family learned to fly again by building our own “sensory survival kit.” You can add or subtract items in your sensory survival kit, to meet the needs of your loved one, but here is what we have come to rely on.
Now is the time. Don’t wait a minute longer. It’s time for a break.
Are you ready to start your autism vacation planning? Then click here to download your FREE Ultimate Autism Vacation Planner.