Top seven Tips For Autistic Travelers
In the world of air travel, there are a few things that are universally understood to be stressful: security lines, long flights, and dealing with lost luggage. But for those of us on the autism spectrum, these challenges can be abit more stressful. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our top ten tips for autistic travelers, to help make your next trip a little bit easier.
Call ahead and flag your reservation
It’s always a good idea to call ahead and let the airline or hotel know if you or someone in your party has autism. This will help them to be more prepared to provide any accommodations that may be necessary. You may also want to request needed accommodations, such as a quiet room, an aisle seat,specific dietary requests (such as gluten-free or kosher meals), or early boarding. This will help to make your travel experience more comfortable and stress-free. So call the special need’s desk ahead of time to make sure your needs are met.
Don’t plan the Itinerary from Hell
Some of us like to plan every minute of our trip, while others prefer to wing it. If you’re the former, that’s fine – just don’t try to pack too much into each day. Over-scheduling can lead to meltdowns and a lot of unnecessary stress. Build in some down time each day, and try to stick to a fairly relaxed schedule. This will help you to enjoy your trip, rather than just survive it. A rule of the thumb is to schedule two or three activities per day, and then leave the rest of the time open for exploring, relaxing, or just taking a break.
Prepare your travelers and double check your arrangements
If you’re traveling with kids, it’s important to prepare them for the trip ahead of time. This means talking about what will happen at the airport, on the plane, and at your destination. If possible, visit the airport ahead of time so that your child can get a feel for the layout and see what to expect. It can also be helpful to show them pictures or videos of airplanes and airports, so that they know what to expect. For older kids, it may be helpful to create a social story about the trip. This can be a simple comic book or even just a few pictures with captions that explain what will happen step-by-step.
Begin packing sooner than later
Packing can be a stressful chore for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for those of us on the autism spectrum. That’s why it’s important to start packing as soon as you know you’re going on a trip. This will give you plenty of time to double check your list and make sure you have everything you need. It will also help to reduce the last-minute stress that can often lead to meltdowns. So start packing early, and avoid that unnecessary stress.
Arrive early and pre-everything while you travel
This one may seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating: arrive early for your flight. This will help to reduce the stress of rushing through the airport and give you some extra time in case there are any delays. It will also give you a chance to pre-board the plane and get settled into your seat before take-off. If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to take advantage of the pre-boarding option so that you can get them settled and strap them in without having to worry about other passengers.
Expect the unexpected, always!
No matter how well you plan, there will always be some surprises when you travel. That’s why it’s important to expect the unexpected and go with the flow. This can be difficult for those of us on the autism spectrum, but it’s important to remember that not everything will go according to plan. So be flexible, and don’t get too stressed out if things don’t go the way you expected. Just roll with the punches and enjoy the ride.
Don’t neglect the sibling and your significant other
Many parents become so focused on their autistic child that they neglect the needs of their other children. This can lead to feelings of resentment and jealousy, so it’s important to make sure you include all of your children in the trip planning process. This doesn’t mean that you have to do everything together – just make sure everyone has a chance to voice their opinion and have some input into the trip. This will help to ensure that everyone has a good time and feels included.
So there you have it – our top ten tips for autistic travelers. We hope you find them helpful, and we wish you all the best on your next adventure!