5 Valuable Resources to Make Traveling with a Special Needs Child Less Stressful
Traveling is stressful regardless of circumstances, but traveling with children can be even more so. When your child has special needs, you may feel that traveling is overwhelming. Fortunately, programs and resources are available to make traveling with your child easier and more enjoyable for the whole family.
1. Kids Fly Safe: Reassure Yourself of Your Child’s Safety
Worrying about whether or not air travel is safe for your child is a concern many parents share, particularly with very young children. CARES is a company that produces a special aviation harness, not unlike the buckles found on a child’s car seat.
With children between 22 and 44 pounds, typical airplane seatbelts do not offer the range of protection they offer adults. This can be nerve wracking and may add to your stress. With CARES’s line of products, flight can feel much more secure for both you and your child.
2. SpecialGlobe: A Travel Site with Your Needs in Mind
SpecialGlobe is a site that allows you to book custom tickets and hotel rooms with special needs children in mind. Their custom itineraries include such things as nearby hospitals, suitable activities, where to find trained aides, or even what destinations provide special equipment you may need. Furthermore, the site allows parents to share experiences and tips so you can get a firsthand account of a destination from a parent like yourself.
3. Special Needs Travel Mom: Bloggers with Experience to Share
The most reassuring type of resource is one written by someone in your position. A vast number of parents write blogs about life with special needs children and, often, there will be a section on travel. One such blog is Special Needs Travel Mom, which offers tips, experiences, and links to further resources. Reading someone else’s successful experience can often be the best way to reduce the anxiety and stress of an upcoming trip.
4. Family Vacation Critic: Find the Best Vacation
Websites like Family Vacation Critic can provide lists of ideal travel destinations for children with special needs. With the research already done for you, the only stressful thing left is to pick a place. These lists often include places that host specific organizations. Splore, for example, is an organization in Moab, Utah that aims to provide outdoor fun for people of all ages and abilities. It is not the only one of its kind. Groups like this are cropping up everywhere with a goal to make the world a more fun and accessible place.
5. Basic Planning Sites: Don’t Forget the Basics
When caring for a special needs child, those needs are likely your top priority. While those are extremely important to consider when traveling, the basics shouldn’t be overlooked. Find the website of your airline; learn what useful features it has for you to ease your journey. Look at a seat map and be sure you are seated with your child, as some flights may not book seats together. Find a site with packing tips so you can feel confident that you haven’t forgotten anything. And lastly, research your destination. Knowing all there is to know about where you are going will resolve much of your travel anxiety. Arriving in a location armed with a mental map of the nearest hospital or ASL travel guide is guaranteed to diminish your anxiety.
Traveling is both stressful and exciting. With the rapidly advancing world of special needs accommodations, travel with your child can be fun and rewarding rather than nerve-wracking. With the right resources and preparation, you can focus more on the excitement.
Article written by Rebecca Moore.
Rebecca Moore fractured her ankle in a bike accident in March 2015. Temporarily disabled, she soon felt isolated from her peers and was crushed to realize this is a common problem for people with disabilities. She went on to create AbleRise.net with a friend, in an effort to provide more disability resources and make the world a more caring place. Check out their website for some great resources.