With vacation season around the corner, you may be looking to plan your next family getaway but not sure where to start.
And if you’ve never taken your child with special needs on a long road trip, you may be nervous at all the things that “could go wrong.”
But with just a few tips and a bit of extra planning, you can relieve your anxiety and create a custom trip which is sure to wow your child and be a memorable experience for all.
Check out our three tips for planning your next vacation when you have a child with special needs:
1. Ahead Of Time: Take the time to tell your child about your upcoming trip.
So many children with special needs love routine, and a sudden and sporadic change in schedule can really throw them off.
By giving them time to prepare, they won’t be caught off guard.
You can even use this opportunity to teach them about the new place they are going, or have them research it if they like to learn new information. Who knows, they may even feel part of the planning process and adore this additional responsibility.
Of course, you know your child best – if telling them too far in advance would make them anxious, you can adjust accordingly.
But often you’ll find they’ll be excited to know they get to go on a special trip!
2. Transportation: If you’re driving, you have a little bit more flexibility as you’re able to stop and take breaks.
However, if you have a long road trip and your child struggles with being in enclosed small spaces for long periods of time, things can get a bit tense.
Consider preparing a few activities for your child to do on the road – there are all kinds of game packs you can make to keep your child entertained.
And even if you aren’t a fan of allowing your child screen time – a movie in the car might be a calming and soothing distraction to keep them entertained on the trip.
Don’t forget to pack lots of snacks!
If you’re traveling by plane, make sure to get to the airport an extra hour earlier than you normally would to allow plenty of time to make it on the plane.
3. Lodging And Entertainment: Be mindful when selecting your room.
If you’re staying in a hotel, consider getting a bigger suite to give your child space. And you might want to consider getting a room at the end of the hall in case there is an outburst and you need to exit quickly.
Of course, if your child loves to swim, a hotel with a pool will keep them happy and entertained!
And another thing to consider is taking your child to a place made for children with special needs.
These days, there are so many places today that make special theme parks just for kids with special needs!
Trip Savvy reported on a place called Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, Texas:
“Flexible policies make all the difference. For example, if your child wants to go on a ride more than once, you don’t have to get out and wait in line again. Kids also love the Sensory Village, which has a pretend supermarket, weather station, and other attractions.
It might serve you well to check out the city you are traveling to and see what kind of activities they have for children with special needs.
Remember to have fun on your next vacation! Traveling with a child with special needs can have unique challenges, but at the end of the day kids are kids and they like to have fun!
By planning ahead and knowing what you are walking into, and scouting out a few sensory fun activities, your child is bound to have an incredible vacation.
(h/t Mommy Underground)