Is traveling with kids who have special needs on your summer schedule? Then you’ll want to check out this port from guest blogger, Alex Robbnsi. As the dad of a child with special needs, he’s discovered 4 tips to make family trips safe and healthy for everyone.
4 Tips for Traveling with Kids Who Have Special Needs
Traveling can be stressful no matter what the circumstances are, so it’s important to make sure you plan out any trip with thought and care. When you’re traveling with a child who has special needs, there are several things you’ll need to take into consideration, so the planning will be amped up a few notches. There’s no need to feel overwhelmed; with some preparation and organization, you can get through the trip while keeping everyone safe and happy.
Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or automobile, there are many things to think about and plan for before the trip begins. Timing can be key for many kids living with special needs, so sit down and work out a schedule for the trip, and create some backup plans in case things don’t work out exactly the way you want.
Here are a few more of the best ways to plan for a trip with your child.
Tip #1: Do Some Research
If you’re taking a flight, try to book it at a time when your child is typically most relaxed and happy. For many kids, this is usually in the morning after a good night’s sleep. Consider how long the flight is and check to see if you can find one that includes a stopover if you think your child will need a break from sitting still. If you do stop, make sure you speak with an airline employee about hanging on to your child’s wheelchair, stroller, or medical equipment for the layover instead of having them checked through to the final destination.
It’s also important to consider what the best area of the plane is for your child. An aisle seat may be problematic if your child is overwhelmed easily by being around many people.
Tip #2: Pack Smart
No matter how you’ll be getting to your destination, it’s important to pack smart. Make a list well before the trip of all the things your child will need both during the travel part of the trip and while you’re at your destination. These might include medications, comfort items such as small toys or a special blanket, a letter from the doctor concerning your child’s diagnosis (which might be helpful when asking for assistance on a flight), and any medical equipment your child might need.
Tip #3: Plan for Any Contingency
Whether you’re flying or driving, it’s imperative to plan for anything your child might need while you’re away, and that includes ensuring that your accommodations will be able to meet your needs. Pack plenty of snacks, plan for several stops to allow your child to get out of the car for a bit, and bring along all the items your child will need to feel comfortable at bedtime. Pack extras where medicine is concerned, and do some research before the trip to make sure you’ll be able to find a doctor or emergency services on the trip should your child need it.
Tip #4: Manage Your Expectations
Family vacations and trips can be stressful when you expect everything to go smoothly at all times. Traveling is full of ups and downs, and any trip has the potential to have days where it’s difficult to please everyone. Keep your expectations manageable and plan for plenty of downtime or free time so that everyone is able to have fun in their own way.
Remember to have fun during your trip, and do things that will relax you as often as possible; schedule a massage or pedicure, and try not to get overwhelmed. Take it one day at a time and your loved ones will take their cues from you.
What Are Your Tips for Traveling with Kids Who Have Special Needs?
Have you discovered ways to make traveling with kids who have special needs easier? You’re invited to share them in the comment box below. Thanks!
Writer Alex Robbins is part of the Safety Today team, and loves having the opportunity to promote home and community safety through his writing.
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