Travel doesn’t have to mean getting on a plane and traveling for extended hours – it can be as simple as a road trip to a different city or state. Similar to plane travel the pre-planning stage is important and Autistic Globetrotting has you covered with a handy checklist, so you don’t forget anything!
- Will you be able to buy supplies or snacks along the way or do you need to bring everything with you?
- What are the medical facilities along the way if your child with special needs requires medical care?
- Where are bathrooms along the way? An iPhone app such as “Sit or Squat” can help you with this one.
- Where are the best spots or attractions to stop and stretch that will be entertaining for your child?
- Bring your bag of tricks with games, coloring books, and videos to occupy your child.
- Don’t forget your electronic gadgets and your recharge chords, especially for the car. You might want to get two in case one is defective or gets broken.
- Bring extra batteries!
- Headphones for your child to enjoy the movies or music and not disturb other passengers.
- Bring trash bags, tissues, and duct tape (it fixes everything!).
When using your car:
- Take it and get everything checked before you leave, such as tire pressure, A/C or heat, and seat belts.
- Have the car serviced close to the time of travel?
- Become an AAA member so you will be protected in the event of a roadside emergency.
- Review your auto policy to make sure everything is up to date and to make sure you have your most recent insurance card and registration information in your car.
- Bring maps/GPS.
When renting a car:
- Shop early for good rental prices via the Internet, but also call local offices directly as it can be cheaper. Also, check if your hotel offers any cheap car rental packages.
- Check for any discounts – credit union, AAA, Costco.
- Double check your contract to know what documentation or membership cards you need to present.
- Be aware of their mileage policy especially the excess miles you may have to pay for.
- Clarify the exact operating hours-open and close.
- Enroll in the car rental loyalty programs for upgrades.
- Ask if they can add satellite radio or GPS service
- Check to make sure the lights, windows, doors and SEAT BELTS are working properly.
- Photograph the car – front and back – with the attendant there to avoid any bogus claims later. Also, make sure your camera has a stamped date.
What you need for your child with autism in a rental car:
- Bring your vehicle seat or check for car seat availability.
- Opt for Captain chairs -more comfortable for your kids and they won’t fight over space.
- Check where the AC/heating vent is and how close your child is sitting to it.
- Check safety features, such as childproof locks, and locking window buttons.
- Rent a satellite radio service that provides entertainment.
- Look into renting/bringing your DVD player with movies for long haul travel.
- Ask for a nonsmoking car if your kid has allergies.
What tips have you picked up along the way that you could add to our list?