Travel Tips for Families with Autistic Children in Summer

Travel Tips for Families with Autistic Children in Summer

Parents of autistic children know that packing for a trip can be daunting. For procrastinators, the stress is even greater. But fear not—there are some easy hacks that can make packing a breeze.

Sensory Survival Kit

When it comes to packing for a trip, the first thing parents of autistic children need to consider is their child’s sensory needs. Pack a sensory survival kit that includes items like noise-cancelling headphones, fidget toys, and a weighted blanket. Don’t forget to pack a few items that have a familiar scent, like a favourite lotion or a pillowcase from home.

Snack Attack Strategies

Food can be a source of comfort for many autistic children. To avoid meltdowns due to hunger, pack plenty of snacks. But don’t just pack any snacks; pack snacks that are both healthy and appealing to your child. Some ideas include apple slices with peanut butter, trail mix, and popcorn. And don’t forget to pack a few treats, too, like chocolate or gummy bears.

The Great Entertainment Dilemma

Long car rides or flights can be nightmares for parents of autistic children. To keep your child entertained, pack a variety of entertainment options. Bring along a tablet loaded with your child’s favourite games and movies. Pack a few books or colouring books with crayons. And don’t forget to bring a few small toys that your child can play with quietly.


Navigating Airports Without Losing Your Mind (Or Kids)

Travelling with autistic children can be challenging, and navigating airports can be particularly stressful. Here are some tips to help families get through airports without losing their minds or their kids.

Security Line Shenanigans

Going through security can be overwhelming for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for autistic children. To make the process smoother, parents should prepare in advance. They should research the airport’s security procedures and explain them to their children. They should also pack their carry-on bags in a way that makes it easy to remove items for screening.

Parents should also consider using TSA PreCheck or Clear to expedite the security process. With TSA PreCheck, families can keep their shoes, belts, and light jackets on, and they don’t have to remove laptops or liquids from their bags. Clear is an expedited identity verification program that uses biometrics to get travellers through security faster.


Boarding a plane can be a test of patience for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for autistic children. Parents should consider boarding early to give themselves extra time to get settled. They should also request pre-boarding if their child needs extra time to board or if they need to set up any special accommodations.

Once on the plane, parents should have a plan in place to keep their child occupied. They should bring plenty of toys, books, and snacks to keep their child entertained. They should also consider noise-cancelling headphones to help their child block out any loud noises.

Navigating airports with autistic children can be challenging, but with a little preparation and patience, families can make it through with their sanity intact.


Choosing Autistic-Friendly Destinations

When planning a summer vacation with an autistic child, it’s important to choose destinations that cater to their needs. Here are some tips to help parents choose the best vacation spots.

Avoiding Overstimulation Overload

Overstimulation can be overwhelming and lead to meltdowns for children with autism. Parents should avoid destinations that are too noisy, crowded or have bright lights. Instead, consider quieter destinations such as national parks, beaches, or rural areas.

Parents can also plan their itinerary carefully to help avoid overstimulation. They can avoid busy times of day, such as rush hour or peak tourist hours, and plan rest breaks in between activities to give their child a chance to recharge.

Nature vs. Urban Jungle

When it comes to choosing a destination, parents may wonder whether to opt for a nature-based or an urban vacation. While both can be enjoyable, each has its pros and cons.

Nature-based vacations, such as camping or hiking, can provide a calming environment for children with autism. The natural surroundings can help reduce stress and anxiety. However, parents should be aware of potential hazards, such as uneven terrain or wildlife encounters.

On the other hand, urban vacations can offer a wealth of sensory experiences, such as museums, theatres, and restaurants. However, cities can also be crowded and noisy, which can be overwhelming for children with autism.

The best vacation destination depends on the child’s individual needs and preferences. Parents should consider their child’s sensory profile and interests when choosing a destination. With careful planning and preparation, families can have an enjoyable and stress-free summer vacation.


Survival Tips for Public Meltdowns

When travelling with a child with autism, it is always important to be prepared for a public meltdown. These situations can be overwhelming for both the child and the parent, but with the right tools and strategies, they can be managed effectively. Here are some tips to help families survive public meltdowns during their summer travels.

The Art of Distraction

Distraction is a key strategy for managing public meltdowns. Parents should always have a few tricks up their sleeves to distract their child from the situation at hand. This could be anything from a favourite toy to a special snack. It is important to know what works for your child and to always have these items on hand.

Another great way to distract a child is to engage them in an activity that they enjoy. This could be a game, a puzzle, or even a colouring book. If you know your child’s interests, you can plan and bring along activities that will keep them engaged and distracted during a public meltdown.

Calm-Down Corner

Sometimes, a public meltdown is unavoidable, no matter how hard you try. In these situations, it is important to have a plan for finding a calm-down corner. This could be a quiet room in a hotel or a secluded spot in a park.

Parents should always be on the lookout for potential calm-down corners during their travels. When they arrive at a new location, they should take a few minutes to scope out the area and identify potential spots where they can take their child in the event of a public meltdown.

In conclusion, public meltdowns are a reality for many families travelling with children with autism. By being prepared and having the right tools and strategies in place, families can manage these situations effectively and continue to enjoy their summer travels.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *