Travel tips for people with special needs and their caretakers

Travel may be stressful for lots of people for a variety of reasons. Traveling with someone with special needs may present additional stressors. Identifying potential stressors and planning how to manage them are key in planning for a successful trip. Considering what to pack including which clothes, which medications, and food/drink availability along the journey are also important. Determining which mode of transportation to take is also important. In some cases it may be safer and more cost-effective to travel by car. In some cases it may be necessary to travel via airplane. Some considerations for each type of transportation are similar and other considerations may be unique to vehicles or airplanes.

In many cases it may be appropriate and helpful to arrange opportunities for travelers to practice what to do in situations where problem behavior may be likely. This may be helpful to do before the trip. Specifying positive behavioral expectations and clarifying what those expectations are in each situation can also be helpful. Parents and other caretakers may expect people to naturally know what to do when traveling and parents and caretakers report that challenging behavior may result in embarrassment and frustration. It is possible to encourage positive interactions with simple, practical management techniques.

A final consideration when traveling with people with special needs is where to stay. There are lots of options and choosing the best option for your family may be reduce stress. Although staying with family may be more cost effective it may be worth to consider other resources that may help reduce stress. Planning ahead and preparation can help reduce stress when traveling with people with special needs.

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