I am going to post some advice on how to travel with special needs kids or grownups. How to pack, how to prepare and anything else I can think of. I will use our last trip as an example. It started in 2016 when my sister and I decided to take the girls on a cruise to the Mediterranean. There is another post about this, so I will not detail how wonderful this trip was. We were going on a very long trip. About 15 days with a stop over in London, then on to Venice for a couple days, a cruise and then back to London for a 2 night stay. We actually did London in a day. I decided the girls needed to know about the places we were going. We also talked about what they wanted to see and what sights were available. I researched articles, geared to grade school children, on the places we were going. We talked about these, and over a period of a few months, we would review and talk and get excited. So research your trips and include your child/adult in the planning and the adventure. Everyone can learn something. Even if your child doesn’t speak or has limited knowledge, they still can get excited about the simple things. Packing is always a chore for me. I get so uptight and usually end up yelling or something else that is not attractive in a mother! But we did a great amount of planning for this trip, so it wasn’t so bad.
First make a list. Check the weather forecast and check again. We had extreme cold and very hot, so had to pack for both. Ships are always somewhat cool, so prepare for that too. We had dress up on the ship, and casual the rest of the time.
Make list, lots of list. There are cell phones, tablets, cords, chargers, adapters, female essentials, makeup, and the list goes on and on and that doesn’t count the clothes. Then make a list of days. On these kind of trips, you can repeat clothes quite a few times. You rarely see the same person twice, even on a ship. So don’t worry about having a different outfit for everyday.
And if you forget something, you can usually buy it at most any travel destination. Usually, but not always, so make a list and then make another one. Off to the airport. We use shuttles because there are 5 of us. They are expensive, but worth it. I can not carry or pull 3 of the 5 suitcases on and off a bus. I have, but I don’t like to if I don’t have to. Prepare for the airport. I let the girls carry their own passports and tickets but I collect them as soon as we are through security. Also, because I have 2 knee replacements I have extra patting down. They know to put their shoes back on and wait. Not sure if you will have problems like this, but it is good to make sure they know what to do. Airplanes. I always bring a box of candy for the flight attendants. It makes it easier to be known and most often we are treated with great courtesy and friendliness. We have even been given special treats in exchange. It’s a nice way to acknowledge their care of us. Bring something for your child to do. Lots of planes have TV’s, but not all. So coloring, games, tablet or whatever amuses them. Snacks too. Preferably ones that keep their fingers busy for awhile. Goldfish, anyone. Airports can be tough, but there are usually kind people around to help. I am single with 4 ladies who have special needs and there is always some kind person to help. We were in Venice, trying to lug 5 pieces of luggage up over a bridge and two young girls came along, and grabbed a couple of them, and took them over for us. I don’t have anyone that has extreme special needs, but I do have one that has bad feet and walks extremely slow. She often needs her hand held and there is another one who has no depth perception. The best thing is to plan ahead for any kind of problem you think might happen. One last thing. Always be willing to change the plan. When we got to London we were suppose to go out that night on a river cruise and on the EYE. I had prepaid. I also didn’t realize we were an hour taxi ride away from main London. I didn’t prepare to well for that. So I cancelled, because the two youngest were exhausted. Sometimes you have to let things go.
Anna and I are always lagging behind.
This is how we travel. Shuttle at airport.