Vacationing should be a relaxing and fun experience where the whole family explores a new destination. However, sometimes traveling with children with autism can provide challenges. Travel isn’t autism-friendly by default, but there are plenty of services to make traveling with autism a little easier. Here are our top ten services to provide peace of mind for traveling families.
Airport Hassle Reduction
Airports can be stressful for anyone, but for those with autism, the long and often invasive security process becomes all the more daunting. The Global Entry program allows qualifying travelers to move through security quickly through Global Entry kiosks. To qualify, travelers are subject to a background check and must have an in-person interview.
TSA Pre is another security expedite program. The best benefit of this program is the fact that travelers do not have to remove their shoes, belts, or jackets for TSA. People with autism often find this part of TSA screening difficult. To qualify, travelers pay an $85 five year membership and undergo a background check.
Dealing with luggage is another difficult part of travel. It can be stressful for moving families to make sure all their luggage is with them, take luggage through security or customs, and worry about the airport losing the valuables they can’t bring on the plane. Luggage Free allows travelers to ship their luggage to their destination, anywhere worldwide. Passengers can track their luggage and are guaranteed safety, and on the low chance that anything goes wrong the service pays the user $500 for their trouble.
Special Diet Food
When traveling with family members who deal with food restrictions, it can sometimes be difficult to find foods to eat, especially overseas. Rather than pack food, travelers can make use of Amazon Pantry, a box of groceries one can order from Amazon for just $5.99 delivery. Traveling families can buy all the foods their family member needs from home and have it sent to their travel destination, or put the box in their luggage for easy access.
Prepared Kosher Food
Finding kosher foods overseas can sometimes prove difficult, but luckily there’s a service for this through La Gondola. Nir Weinblut, owner of the kosher restaurant La Gondola in Beverly Hills, offers a full menu of kosher items that he will send anywhere in the world when people travel. He will even send a week’s worth of food to a family on a cruise, directly to the ship. This service is ideal for anyone eating kosher who might find it difficult to trust the overseas food lines up with the diet.
Traveling with very young children presents a unique set of challenges. The service Adventure Nannies was built for families on the go frequently. They offer a temporary nanny service for traveling families. The Annual membership of $200 gives families access to a travel counselor, access to rigorously vetted travel nannies, personal nanny interviews, and salary negotiations. Nannies not only care for the kids but also help plan out ways to immerse the children in the full travel experience. There is a fee of $35 for each day the nanny goes with the family, but the service can be very much worth it for families who travel regularly with small children.
Customizable delivery boxes are a lifesaver for traveling families, and StitchFix is one for clothing. At StitchFix, visitors can make a customized style profile in several sizes and will receive five pieces of clothing delivered to their destination. Buyers can keep what they like and send back the rest for free shipping. There is also no subscription required, so customers can use the service as much as they want. This service is a great way for families to get new clothing in great styles.
Everyone loves souvenirs, especially when visiting a Disney park but sometimes merchandise can be difficult to buy or carry around while traveling. However, Disney offers a Merchandise Guest Services department for purchasing souvenirs after visiting. Interested travelers just have to call or email the office to request their item. While at the location, visitors should write down the SKU number to give to the Merchandise department later. However, even without the SKU, a detailed description of the item and location will often be enough for the staff to identify the item.
Photos are one of the best parts of traveling. When going to a new location, families might want to preserve the memories in a form a little more professional than an iPhone camera’s pictures. Localgrapher is a professional photography service that connects travelers with local photographers from locations all over the world in 127 cities. Not only do travelers get high-quality photos, but they also don’t have to worry about setting up a photograph while watching kids. Localgrapher offers some package photography deals, and buyers can also design a personalized package.
Doctor on Call
Finding a doctor abroad can be one of the most challenging things to do while traveling, especially with a family member with autism. HealthTap is a health and wellness company that makes an app that offers online health advice on the go. The HealthTap app is available on iPhone, iPad, and Android. While the app should never replace a real doctor, it’s an excellent tool to use while traveling.
Getting around places, especially to and from the airport, can be another travel difficulty. Dealing with cabs in some countries can be hard and expensive. Uber and Lyft are two great alternate travel options. Both services run through hiring locals to drive people in owned cars. Travelers can call a ride at a convenient time and destination. Riders are then charged through the company by distance. Lyft is typically more expensive than Uber on average.
It’s up to you readers!
Let us know what are the services you like so we can add them to our list!