No matter the family, the first step in planning a successful trip is to always create a viable travel itinerary. Booking the right transportation and hotels, finding the best places and attractions to visit, and making sure to keep within your traveling dates are all challenging things to overcome.
While this may be a difficult step for many parents, it can be downright overwhelming for parents to special needs kids. To help parents to kids with autism plan better here are six simple guidelines to follow.
In today’s world of social media and Internet, you can research attractions and destinations ahead of time, and judge whether or not they will be a good fit for your family. Don’t hesitate to contact the venues you are interested in to ask if they can provide additional accommodations to help your child with autism.
2. Start small
Vacationing takes practice, and can begin by starting with a local destination that is an hour or so away from where you live, instead of picking a challenging destination that’s across the country. Take several day trips — or even better sleep somewhere close overnight — in order to acclimate your kid to the concept of sleeping away from home. Next, try a weekend getaway so that your child slowly gets used to the idea of spending time away from the areas that surround home.
3. Chose quality over quantity
The trick when building successful travel itineraries for special needs kids, is to give up trying to see it all, and focus on a few places to visit that you can make memorable instead. You can create two lists: one with the spots you absolutely must visit, and the second with places that you can skip if the day gets too tiring for your kid. Keeping a steady pace for your child will always be more rewarding, rather than overwhelming them with so many attractions.
4. Avoid long haul flights or car rides
If your child has not gone on long haul flights, you might want to fly to a mid-point destination, stay overnight and then continue to your intended destination. This way, your child won’t have to sit through a long flight, and will be refreshed, less stressed and better adjusted–especially if you are traveling to a different time zone.
5. Provide intermissions
Visiting one destination for the entire day can be very tiring for some kids with autism, especially when they are young. Instead of one continuous day, consider going to one attraction for a couple of hours, returning to your hotel to rest and then heading out to sightsee a different place.
6. Schedule free time
Whether you fly overseas, or road trip out to a nearby theme park, make sure you schedule plenty of free time so your kid can do an activity he or she enjoys, like watching TV or playing on their iPad, so they can also feel relaxed on their vacation.
Traveling with your special needs child can be challenging and maybe even sometimes stressful, but it can also be completely rewarding as well. Have you taken your child with autism on vacation – How did you create a viable travel itinerary for your family?