Traveling with children takes time and effort in order for the outcome to be enjoyable for the entire family. But if your child has special needs, a vacation may take on a whole new level of planning.
Try these tips for planning a vacation with a special needs child:
Depending on your child’s special needs, some vacation destinations will be more enjoyable than others. For example, if your child has autism or an anxiety disorder, large amusement parks might be overwhelming for your child; a quiet beach vacation might be a better fit.
Check the accommodations
Some locations are just better equipped to handle special needs than others. Research your preferred destination to be sure it has what you need. For example, if your child is in a wheelchair, you need to check for ramps, elevators and restrooms that accommodate people in wheelchairs.
No matter where you are headed, it helps to call ahead to request special accommodations. Many places are more than happy to provide special equipment (such as a special bed), a special dining menu (for food allergies) and even special privileges (such as boarding amusement rides from an alternate location), depending on your needs and requests. The same holds true for airlines and other modes of transportation on your way to and from your destination.
Take extra help
A vacation is not a vacation if everyone is exhausted. Consider enlisting the help of a babysitter or helper to travel with you and take some on some of the care responsibilities. This frees you up to relax on your own for a bit, so you’ll be refreshed and ready to enjoy your vacation with your special needs child once again.
With a little bit of forethought, you can map out a safe vacation and give your special needs child good memories for a lifetime.