Updated: Mar 3
Are you ready to get back to traveling with your family? Do you want to start visiting some destinations on your bucket list, but the anxiety begins as soon as you look at the airline policies? I feel your pain and I am here to help! I have spent my fair share of time looking at all the different airline policies and keeping up to date with the numerous changes. I want you to know that there are plenty of autism-friendly travel options available to your family right now! I will help you find the perfect vacation destination for your family, so you can get away safely and have a fabulous time away from the hustle and bustle of life.
How to Prepare for Autism Travel During the Pandemic
Choose Your Destination Carefully
As I mentioned above, I have plenty of ideas of where you can go on vacation this year. I will ask you a few questions, so I can learn more about your family and more importantly, your autistic child. The answers you share with me will allow me to talk about different options when it comes to which destination will be perfect for your family.
Have Your Autistic Child Help During the Planning Process
Your autistic child is going to want to be included in the planning process of your family vacation and they should be! You can give them a choice of where they want to sit on the plane, which two or three outfits they want in their suitcase, or even what special snack you take. These options will let them prepare for your vacation without getting them overwhelmed.
Be Prepared for Sensory Issues
Sensory issues can be an issue at any time when you are traveling, but even more so at this point in time. Loud engines can be scary for kids with autism, as can the other buzzing sounds of many people talking at once. Headphones that block noise, or play their favorite music, can be helpful in this situation.
Encourage Wearing a Mask
Wearing a mask can be difficult for anyone, but it is especially trying for a child with autism. However, a little encouragement from you, and a little work with their OT therapist, can go a long way with how much success your child has. Have your child put their mask on in your home for a few minutes one day and then encourage them to keep it on longer until it is time for your trip. You can even have them practice putting their mask on properly, and taking it off, so they understand and can do it themselves. This will also allow you to share where they should place their mask when it is not on them.
Share the New Rules of Travel
Even if your autistic child is a seasoned traveler, there are a few changes in travel right now that can cause them to have a meltdown. Weeks before your trip is the time to start discussing all the new rules of travel. The biggest one will be wearing their mask for the duration of the flight and in the airport.
Contact the Airline Prior to Your Departure Date
Letting the airline know you are traveling with a child with autism is always a good idea. They can provide helpful information to the crew before you board and even get you on the plane and seated before the other passengers if you think that would be helpful.
Contact TSA Cares
TSA Cares can help guide you with screening procedures and even give you a Passenger Support Specialist when you arrive at the airport. You must notify TSA Cares 72 hours prior to your departure.
Yes, travel is different thanks to the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean you must avoid it with your autistic child. I am sharing these seven different things you must know to travel with your autistic child with all the new pandemic guidelines. I have many other tips that you can use though, and I will share them all with you as I am booking your next family vacation.
You won’t need to stress over knowing the latest guidelines for airplanes or anything else for your trip. I will give you all the information you must know, in an easy-to-read form, so your eyes do not begin to glaze over with panic. Vacations should never be about panic and what-ifs. I am here to ensure you never need to do either of those things by planning a successful trip that includes everything you must know for a fun-filled vacation with your family.
Are you ready to plan your next family vacation? If you answered yes, (which I think we all can answer that way at this point!), I would like to invite you to schedule a planning session by clicking here. When you click this link, you will be taken to my digital calendar. There you will be able to set up a convenient time for us to connect.