One of the best ways to plan a successful vacation especially when traveling with kids on the autism spectrum is by visualizing your trip in advance.
Scrutinizing your travel itinerary details carefully along with creating an alternative plan for unexpected scenarios is not only useful but can ultimately make the difference between a stressful even ruined trip and a memorable one.
Though the process will be different for everyone, the basic steps are the same.
For those readers who have a hard time doing this on their own: here are over sixty tips to help.
- Have you checked your suitcases: wheels, handles, zippers?
- What will the weather be like?
- Take extra clothes in carry on and daily bag for spills or other mishaps
- Have you purchased any temporary tattoos or stitched any safety patches on your kid with autism clothes in the case they wander off?
- Pack two pairs of comfortable shoes (in case one pair gets wet) and enough underwear
- Don’t forget prescribed and over the counter Medicines as well as any medical equipment (if you travel abroad you should know that the many US over the counter meds may not be available )
- Take electronic devices with cords, toys, and items to make your child comfortable during travel?
- Research where you can buy things if you suddenly need to buy something fast?
- Can you have items directly delivered to your destination instead of carrying them? Diapers? Special foods?
- Do you need any door alarms, mats and night lights for your lodging place?
- What sundries like special soap, shampoo, sunscreen,insect repellant do you need to buy?
- How will you be getting to and from the airport/s?
- Are there any airline or airport regulations you don’t about? (CHECK!)
- Are all your documents in order?
- Have your bookings changed?
- Are you taking a red eye flight?
- Will you need fresh clothes or any other items upon arrival?
- How will you navigate a strange and crowded airport with tight connections, luggage, and kids?
- What’s your Plan B if there are delays, and you are stuck at the airport; will you stay, leave for a hotel?
- What accommodations do you need on flight or airport? Have you asked for any?
- What are your seats? Are they together? Have they changed?
- What Food and entertainment do you need?
- What items do you need for the trip?
- Will you have checked luggage or carry-on?
- Do you have insurance if your luggage is delayed or lost?
- Check all the documentation including visas and make sure it is all in order.
- Have you arranged for transportation to/from the ship?
- Have you notified the cruise line of accommodations?Bedding? Food? Allergies?
- Will you need to rent a wheelchair or stroller?
- Who do you contact if accommodations aren’t met?
- Have you booked any shore excursions? Privately? Through the cruise line? Do you need any additional transportation? Any tickets to attractions you need to purchase ahead of time?
- What extra items do you to pack like bedding/clothes/toys/medicines?
- Will you be driving in your vehicle? Will you be renting?
- Seat comfort? Do you need any Booster or Car seat?
- What entertainment options do you have?
- Have you planned stops along the way? Bathrooms? Food?
- Do you have collision coverage on your credit card?AAA? Do you need to purchase additional coverage?
Hotel or any other lodging
- Will you have WiFi? Should you get a mobile hot spot?
- Is there A/C and heating? Central? Control in every room?
- What’s the proximity to markets? Restaurants? Department stores if you need to buy an item quickly?
- Access to a fridge? Kitchenette?
Is there free breakfast offered?
Can you upgrade to the executive lounge?
- Do you need to request extra bed linens, pillows, towels? Cribs or rollaway needed?
- Is the hotel planning any remodeling or festivities that can affect your stay?
- Pool safety for kids: are there lifeguards, life jackets?
Balcony safety: extra locks?
Should you buy tickets in advance?
- Are there any autism accommodations available?
- Do you have a backup plan in case of bad weather?
- Do you need to rent a stroller or wheelchair?
- What clothing do you need (ponchos) and what isn’t recommended like flip flops?
- What are the food options nearby? GFCF options?
In the event of an emergency
- Do you have the necessary medicines for a common cold, stomach flu and skin rash with you?
- Is there someone at home who has your cell phone number or can you get an international phone?
- Do you have a skype or facebook messenger account?
- Traveling abroad? Get info about your country’s embassy location?
Closest hospital to your lodging? Closest Vet (if you are traveling with a service animal)?
- Medical records including current prescriptions in a zip file or memory stick /if any family member is suffering from medical conditions. Vaccination documents
- Did you purchase travel insurance? Know what you are covered for. Some credit cards provide additional coverage to cardholders.
Have you downloaded
- Your airline, cruise line, and hotel app for easy communication.
- Your home insurance company and alarm system if there’s any trouble while you are away.
- Transportation app like Lyft or Uber
- Restaurant app like Yelp.
- Map app like Google maps.
- AAA app or equivalent if you need roadside assistance.
- Translator and tip calculator if you travel overseas.
- During your travel are there any events, festivities that can interfere with your plans?
What are your visualizing tips to ensure nothing goes wrong on your vacation?