null
FREE Flat Rate Shipping on Orders $65+

Travel Tips for Families with Special Needs Children

Posted by Shannon on Nov 17th 2022

Traveling with kids has always been a reality. Whether you’re visiting family for Thanksgiving, or going on a summer vacation, traveling with children can be challenging. Traveling with a special needs child brings its own set of challenges. Following the below stress-free traveling tips will help ease some of the challenges, so that you can focus on an enjoyable experience with your family.

Mom and little girl smiling in car, SmartKnitKIDS, traveling with special needs child, travel with special needs child, air travel with special needs child, traveling with a child with autism, travel tips for families, travel tips for parents of young children, stress-free traveling tips, traveling with an autistic kid, airplane travel with an autistic child, traveling with kids, traveling with children, children with anxiety, travel expectations, sensory processing disorder

TRAVEL PLANNING

Plan Ahead of Time

Make a detailed itinerary and make sure your children understand each leg of the journey. For children with anxiety, it may help to rehearse parts of the trip. Take some short practice runs in the car to help the child become accustomed to entertaining themselves in the car. Visit the airport in advance and point things out to your children. Watch planes land and take off. When your trip arrives, the travel expectations you have for your children will feel more familiar and comfortable.

Give Yourself Extra Time

If your journey includes air travel with a special needs child, be sure to arrive at the airport well in advance. Although, it does mean extra time at the airport, it will ensure that you have time to make any necessary adjustments. If you are driving, leave extra early so you can plan to stop several times along the way to stretch your legs or even visit interesting sites on the road. If you are not in a hurry, the trip will be more enjoyable for all.

Travel with Help

If possible, you should plan on at least two adults traveling with your party, especially if you are bringing more than one child, or a special needs child. When things get rough, an extra person who can help with baggage, check-ins or even truck-stop bathroom breaks will help things go more smoothly.

Accommodations for Children

If you are using commercial transportation, call ahead to see what accommodations are in place for families traveling with an autistic kid. Take advantage of anything that may be helpful in keeping your children comfortable and entertained.

Sensory Kids, SmartKnitKIDS, boy with headphones, traveling with special needs child, travel with special needs child, air travel with special needs child, traveling with a child with autism, travel tips for families, travel tips for parents of young children, stress-free traveling tips, traveling with an autistic kid, airplane travel with an autistic child, traveling with kids, traveling with children, children with anxiety, travel expectations, sensory processing disorder

Travel During Sleep Times

Many children have an easier time traveling while they sleep. If possible, plan to leave at night or when your kids are used to taking naps.


WHAT TO PACK

Snacks

Pack plenty of healthy, low-sugar snacks that your children are familiar with and enjoy. Chewable and high-protein snacks are great choices, as well as things that do not need a lot of prep and can easily be eaten on the go. You never know when a flight will be delayed or if the next restaurant is not for another 100 miles down the road.

Special Needs Foods

If your child has special dietary restrictions, be sure to bring things you know they can eat. Special needs foods may be harder to find if you don’t know the area as well as home.

Safety First

Pack a first aid kit. Make sure each child has a proper car seat. Bring all medications your children are on.

Mom packing First aid Kit, traveling with special needs child, travel with special needs child, air travel with special needs child, traveling with a child with autism, travel tips for families, travel tips for parents of young children, stress-free traveling tips, traveling with an autistic kid, airplane travel with an autistic child, traveling with kids, traveling with children, children with anxiety, travel expectations, sensory processing disorder

Insurance Cards

Just in case you need to visit a doctor while out of town, be sure to carry your insurance cards with you. It will make the process much easier and you’ll be able to save your concerns for your sick child.

Bring Extra Clothes

Most likely, if flying, you’ll need to check bags. Or, if driving, you may have a very packed trunk with multiple bags. Easy access to an extra set of clothes for each child will make getting through any mishaps easier and stress free. Socks tend to disappear easily, so don’t forget a few extra pairs of SmartKnitKIDS socks, too.

Seamless, Sensory, SmartKnitKIDS Seamless Socks, Boy wearing SmartKnitKIDS white socks, traveling with special needs child, travel with special needs child, air travel with special needs child, traveling with a child with autism, travel tips for families, travel tips for parents of young children, stress-free traveling tips, traveling with an autistic kid, airplane travel with an autistic child, traveling with kids, traveling with children, children with anxiety, travel expectations, sensory processing disorder

Toys

Pack several small sensory input toys that will keep your children’s attention for longer periods of time. Choose things that are easy to pack and pick up, but also things that your children already enjoy. Good examples are Rubix Cubes, rubber band balls and Play-Doh. You may want to have a few things to play with in the hotel, as well, for downtime.

What to Wear

When traveling with a child with autism or sensory processing disorder, what you dress your child in can make a difference in your trip. Make sure they are comfortable since they’ll probably be in these clothes for a while. Dress in layers to plan accordingly for each climate you’ll encounter. Try having your child wear a Compresso-T. It will help keep them calm and better able to manage their anxieties and sensory input.

Happy girl, Happy family, Sensory Kids, Hug, Compresso-T, traveling with special needs child, travel with special needs child, air travel with special needs child, traveling with a child with autism, travel tips for families, travel tips for parents of young children, stress-free traveling tips, traveling with an autistic kid, airplane travel with an autistic child, traveling with kids, traveling with children, children with anxiety, travel expectations, sensory processing disorder

ESTABLISH GROUND RULES

Create Realistic Expectations

Know what your children can handle and what they will not be able to handle. You may need to add extra stops into your itinerary or perhaps travel over multiple days. Don’t pack too much into your day to overwhelm kids.

Discuss the House Rules

Make sure your children know what will be expected of them at all locations – how to behave on a plane or in a hotel or even what special rules Grandma has at her house. Knowing what is expected up front will help them to follow along with your expectations.

ELECTRONIC DEVICES

Electronic Devices

Tablets, phones or other electronic devices provide touch, visual and audio input for children. Remember a set of headphones and a pair of sunglasses to help those sensitive to bright light. Download age-appropriate games ahead of time, or make sure your data plan will be sufficient for your entire trip. You can also bring a data hotspot. Ensure that all your devices are charged and that you’ve brought extra chargers, especially if you are sharing devices with your children. You won’t want to be in a jam if the kids used up all the battery playing games just when you need your map app to get you to your next stop.

Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism, Travel Tips, SmartKNITKIDS, traveling with special needs child, travel with special needs child, air travel with special needs child, traveling with a child with autism, travel tips for families, travel tips for parents of young children, stress-free traveling tips, traveling with an autistic kid, airplane travel with an autistic child, traveling with kids, traveling with children, children with anxiety, travel expectations, sensory processing disorder

MAKE MEMORIES

Pack Your Sense of Humor

The best travel tip for parents of young children is just to make the trip fun for you and your kids. Laugh with your kids and tell jokes. Make up road trip games to play together along the way. It will make the trip more fun, enjoyable and memorable for you and your kids.

Visit Local Site for Children

Help your kids create a memory of their adventure. Visiting a playground, children’s museum or other children’s attractions while on the road will not only give them something fun to remember during your travels, but will also give your kids a chance to burn up some energy they’ve accumulated along the way.

Happy girl, Happy family, Sensory Kids, Hug, Compresso-T, traveling with special needs child, travel with special needs child, air travel with special needs child, traveling with a child with autism, travel tips for families, travel tips for parents of young children, stress-free traveling tips, traveling with an autistic kid, airplane travel with an autistic child, traveling with kids, traveling with children, children with anxiety, travel expectations, sensory processing disorder

STAY CALM AND EXPECT CHANGES OF PLANS

Remain Calm

Don’t let yourself get discouraged with minor setbacks. There will always be things that happen – a speeding ticket or a missed connection during a layover. Take each day in stride and enjoy your trip as best as you can.

Expect Changes in Plans

It’s okay if you don’t make it to everything you wanted to do with your kids. If you stay calm and continue to have fun with what you do make it to, your kids will build happy memories of your travels. If you stress about changes, they may, too, and that’s what they’ll remember about your trip. a speeding ticket or a missed connection during a layover. Take each day in stride and enjoy your trip as best as you can.

Happy family, Sensory Kids,Travel Tips, traveling with special needs child, travel with special needs child, air travel with special needs child, traveling with a child with autism, travel tips for families, travel tips for parents of young children, stress-free traveling tips, traveling with an autistic kid, airplane travel with an autistic child, traveling with kids, traveling with children, children with anxiety, travel expectations, sensory processing disorder

Car and airplane travel with an autistic child, a child with sensory processing disorder, or any other child with special needs can be rewarding and enjoyable. Follow these helpful tips for your next family trip.


This article should not be used in place of advice from a medical doctor or occupational therapist.


Keep reading...

10 Reasons To Go Seamless

5 Tips for Helping Autistic Teens and Adults Manage Stress

Email Format