With school coming to a close and the fancy free days of summer in front of you, it’s the perfect time of year to take a family vacation. When you have a child on the spectrum, traveling out of the comforts of home can be a daunting task but we have compiled a few tips for those of you venturing out this summer that might help make the journey a little smoother:
1. Pre-Select Music for Long Car Trips
Especially with streaming services readily available, pre-select a series of movie soundtracks, sing-along songs, popular music, and even a book on tape the whole family can enjoy. A roadtrip playlist can be a lifesaver and a comfort when driving on a loud highway or in an unfamiliar area with a lot of construction. This pre-selected entertainment list can also be a good tool to help your child prepare for the long journey – include them in the choices and remind them about the trip daily to keep them comfortable with the upcoming changes to their schedule. You could even consider a morning countdown where the child adds a new song choice every day in preparation for the beginning of the trip.
2. Start Out Slow - Day Tripping
Before you pack your bags for a week in Bermuda, take a few smaller trips and build up to the big event. Think about an activity your child enjoys – a zoo, aquarium, amusement park, or special event that is only a few hours away. Plan to stay overnight so your child gets familiar with a hotel type experience but also know that you’re close enough to home if need be. Once you have a few of these day trips under your belt, you’ll be better prepared for the bumps and hiccups that may come with a longer trip and so will your child.
3. Consider Whether Pre-Boarding Is Really a Good Choice
For some kids, pre-boarding and getting to their seat early is a wonderful thing but consider your child’s limitations as well. A last-minute boarding with minimal time at the gate on the plane might be a better option for some because it gives the child the maximum amount of time to move around before being constrained to their seat. Discuss with airline personnel whichever option you choose and they should be able to accommodate you.
4. Travel in Footie Pajamas
You can pop a pair of sneakers over the top of the feet and in the case of a diaper blow out or spilled drink situation, you’re only dealing with one item of clothing. You can pack back-up outfits in the form of a couple of extra pairs of pajamas instead of full outfits for each child. Kids may also enjoy the novelty of getting to leave the house in PJs and it could be a fun tradition for trips that you continue!
5. Let Your Child Capture the Memories
Consider buying your child a cheap digital camera or a notebook to draw and journal the trip. It will make them feel important as family photographer and memory recorder and also allow you to see the trip though their eyes. In the case of distractions being needed, it’s also a great way to pull their focus during an uncertain situation.
The biggest tip of all is really to just take the plunge and go. Know that failure can be an option but with careful preparation, you can set yourself up for success.