According to the latest social research by Autism Travel in 2023, the number of families with individuals suffering from autism comes up to 20 million. Most of the time such families prefer stable and predictable living. Usually, they do not choose an adventurous way of rest and opt for calm and cozy staying at home. It is extremely unfair, isn’t it? We’ve decided to devise a few solutions to improve the situation. Traveling with an autistic child won’t be a hard boil if you follow our pieces of advice.
What are the Main Challenges of Traveling with Autistic People?
Statistics prove that the majority of families with ADS people tend to refuse to travel. However, they wouldn’t mind taking some time off their daily routine and going on a journey. The survey has been conducted to find out why families desire to travel but hesitate to set off on a road trip with an autistic child. The results were rather astonishing.
- 97% of parents are not satisfied with traveling facilities offered for disabled people in the touristic sphere.
- 93% of respondents would agree to make a car journey if they were sure that the conditions for the people with special needs would be available in full scale.
- 87% of people polled said that they were not planning a family trip at all.
Tips and Tricks for a Stressless Car Journey
Autism does not belong to mental disease. ASD is a developmental disorder that reflects on people’s way of acting, namely – how they communicate with others, perceive information, learn, and behave. Just like every person, autistics can have good mental health. But they need special living and traveling conditions. We offer a step-by-step guide that will help you to get ready for the journey. We hope it will come in handy when you go on your family vacation.
- Make Reservations and Preparations
Start to plan your visit with the necessary bookings. First of all, take care of resorts certified with inclusive programs for visitors with ASD disorders. Then, get right on the automobile for a trip. If you don’t have a proper vehicle for your vacation, reserve an autistic car at Rental24h.com. The agency offers family van rentals at a reasonable price. Read the informative issues on the cost of a road trip in the USA, cheap ways of dealing with a rental vehicle, and making a perfect plan covering all journey issues.
- Pick Out a Proper Destination
Traveling with an autistic toddler or older child demands calm, peaceful, and safe surroundings. Choose places with the lowest stress level for your family vacations. Autistic individuals are sensitive to noisy and overcrowded neighborhoods. Thus, take into account your child’s unique needs and opt for unhurried and relaxed destinations.
- Talk to your kid about the trip
The unusual and unknown place might seem scary for a child, especially in case of high-functioning autism, and traveling can turn out to be quite a challenge. Before setting out for a trip, talk to your little ones. Explain the purpose of the future journey, how long it will last, where you are going to drive, and what kind of fun and new experiences you are going to have on your way. Create a social story with visuals to explain clearly the aim of your family trip.
- Prepare an autism travel kit
Select and put together the things that will be helpful during the drive. Approximate list of items for autism travel kit might look like this:
- Toys and belongings
Pack kid’s favorite dolls, little cars, and soft toys reminding home. They will soothe your child, as well as the most-liked clothes and shoes.
- Items for fun and development
Don’t forget that developing skills are vital for kids with ASD. Put into a travel bag thing for fine and visual-motor-based activities such as coloring books with scented markers, travel-size Etch a Sketch, sensory kits and bags, and Magna Doodle.
- Food and snacks
Some autistic kids are picky eaters. Prepare some familiar and favorite foods that you know your child will eat for sure. And add some snacks to quench hunger in periods of melt-downs.
- A shower bag
Any travel kit can’t do without toiletries. Include in your kit shampoo, liquid soap, and other hygienic items with scents and textures associated with a homelike atmosphere.
- A noise machine
It might look quite an odd item for traveling. But a road trip with autistic teens or small children can’t be taken without such equipment. A noise machine is a real lifesaver in a noisy environment – like, e.g., hotel rooms – as it helps to fall asleep more easily.
- A Melt Down Survival Kit
Autistic kids are prone to meltdowns. The problem happens when a child with ASD loses behavior control as an intense response to overwhelming situations. On-the-go first aid kits to deal with sensory overload usually include fidget toys and noise-canceling headphones.
- Keep Your Child Informed
Draw a map for your future journey with paper cards, flags, stops, houses, hotels, eateries, and cars. On your way, mark the stops on the map and tell how long it is until the next break showing the progress of your drive. You can also create a map on the phone or tablet app.
Best Places to Travel with Autistic Child
Make your trip planning easier with our list of the best autism-friendly vacation destinations. They are ranked according to different budgets, a range of necessary options for people with disorders, skillful staff, and facilities to accommodate the autism community.
- Austin, Texas
One of the best cities to satisfy the special needs of travelers with sensory-sensitive people. While drawing up a plan for your journey, book a room in a Wyndham Garden Hotel. It is located 3 miles away from downtown Austin and AUS Airport. The hotel offers family suites with ASD people in mind. All rooms feature calm surroundings, special safety measures, and non-chemical ways of cleaning. In the city, you can visit autistic-friendly attractions, like Austin Nature and Science Center, the Austin Aquarium, or the Thinkery Children’s Museum. To keep fit and have fun drop into Barton Springs for restful swimming in an outdoor pool.
- Beaches Caribbean Resorts
One of the best places to travel with an autistic child is Beaches. The award-winning resorts for families have taken care of people with special needs. The staff has been trained in autism awareness. Forget about the challenges of the future vacation. Let the full-service resort deal with some issues. All-inclusive family vacation involves any kind of land and water sports under the sun, fine dining at over 20 restaurants, the biggest and the most awesome waterparks in the Caribbean, and funny interactives with Sesame Street characters.
Utter serenity and marvelous nature are the most precious things about the Berkshires. The restful and relaxed atmosphere creates the best conditions for escaping sudden meltdowns. Spend your family vacation surrounded by beautiful mountain vistas, magnificent forests, and pure lakes. In addition, you can choose from tons of activities, such as kayaking, hiking, or visiting a local farm.