Special Needs Children Travel Tips for Family Vacations

Every year, millions of families hit the road or fly the skies, looking forward to making memories and having an adventure while on vacation. Although family vacations are a great way to get away from the daily grind, the planning process can be stressful and challenging. Particularly when making special accommodations for a child with special needs. Many families who have a child with a disability opt out of family vacations, fearing that it’s too much work or simply not possible. While there is a certain amount of planning required, family vacations are important to take if the opportunity presents itself. Here are some helpful special needs children travel tips to make the planning process a little easier.

Special Needs Children Travel Tips

Traveling with children with special needs can be stressful. Special Needs Children Travel Tips
Traveling with children with special needs can be stressful. Flickr: Russel Kwok / CC BY-ND 2.0

Start Out Small

If you’ve never taken a family vacation or have extreme reservations about it, start by planning a small trip. Consider a weekend trip to a museum or zoo a few hours away from home. Once you become confident in your vacation planning and traveling with your child, branch out a little further and plan a longer trip.

Little ones with a Hippo.
Little ones with a Hippo. Flickr: Emily P. / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Make Connections, Ask for Recommendations

From parenting tips to travel recommendations, networking is everything. If you are a part of an online group for parents of children with disabilities, reach out and ask about traveling. You may find other parents dealing with the same challenges or hesitations about traveling. They might share some valuable special needs children travel tips with you. 

You may also want to check with local travel agents to see if any of them handle travel for children with disabilities; you may be surprised by their knowledge and willingness to help.

Be Prepared

For most parents traveling with a child who has special needs, being prepared isn’t a problem. If anything, they are overly prepared. While many people see over preparedness as a sign of someone who can’t relax, it may not hurt to plan for any worst case scenarios (not that they will happen).

When picking a destination, make sure you know where the closest medical facilities are located. Have all equipment or medications clearly marked and organized, especially if you are traveling via airplane.

Take Your Time, Be Flexible

Regardless of your mode of transportation, give you and your family enough time to get around happily and stress-free. Rushing around and trying to beat the clock is hardly relaxing or fun while you’re on vacation. Although itineraries are helpful to make and have for a trip, they can be limiting and less helpful than you think.

Make some plans, but also have some backup plans. Take your time to enjoy things along the way and allow yourself to be spontaneous. Even if your child’s life relies on structure and medications or therapy that is required at the same time each day, you will know if flexibility is possible or not.

family trip
family trip. Flickr: Kiran Foster Follow / CC BY 2.0

Traveling with a child with a disability doesn’t need to be limiting nor does it need to be stressful. With a little advanced planning and reaching out to people who can assist along the way, your vacation can be fun and memorable for everyone.

About Landon B

I enjoy traveling to destinations across the US in my free time. I enjoy places that have lots of outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and ziplining.

Other posts by the Author

Leave a Reply