Traveling with Young Children with Autism

Plan ahead

Even if you take all of the necessary precautions, there is always the chance that something can go wrong with your plans and your child will be unhappy or have a meltdown. This is true for all children, not just those with autism. But, planning ahead and working with hotels, airlines, and cruise lines to try to make the experience as seamless as possible is your best bet.

Duncan mentions that some people do not even want to ask hotels or airlines about making special accommodations out of embarrassment, or because they do not want to be a nuisance. But, she points out that most organizations will be more than happy to go out of their way to make your experience more enjoyable. They want you to have a good experience traveling with them or staying at one of their properties. Even if they end up not being able to make the changes that you require, it certainly never hurts to ask.

When you do travel with a child with autism, Duncan recommends bringing business cards or another small handout explaining your child’s conditions for people such as fellow passengers on an airplane or hotel workers. While it would be ideal for people to understand autism and why your child may be acting a certain way or have special needs, that is not always the case. A quick handout to explain their condition will help others understand what is happening in the event that your child does act out. If you do not have a child with autism and see someone acting out while on vacation, or in any public space, remember to practice empathy and understanding.