Tips for Traveling with a Child with Autism

Traveling already comes with its own challenges, but if you are the parent of a child with autism, it can make traveling even tougher. After all, not all children with autism like change. Instead, they prefer the comforts of home, their own favorite items and a structured schedule. All of that typically puts the kibosh on any travel plans, but it doesn’t have to.

The key to surviving a trip with a child who has autism is preparation. The more you prepare the better the chance that your trip will go smoothly. Here are a few tips to help you plan for that special vacation:

  1. Choose an autism-friendly destination. They do exist. TradeWinds Island Resort has a safety autism kit that they present to parents when they sign in. If you are unsure, ask what they do for a child who has autism.
  2. Think about shortcuts: Want to go to an amusement park? Purchases passes so you can skip the lines and your child doesn’t have to wait with all of the sensory overload happening around him or her. Instead, this can reduce stress and allow you to focus more on the vacation.
  3. Bring comfies from home: Favorite snacks, toys or blankets should be on you at all times. Your child will feel more comforted with these items on hand.
  4. Try to stick to a routine: Traveling throws routines into an uproar, so if your child is used to a nap at 3pm, do your best to keep that nap going.
  5. Talk to your child before you go: Don’t surprise them and pull them away from their routine. Instead, if they are old enough to understand tell them what’s happening, how long the trip is and anything else that can make the adventure seem exciting.
  6. Bring identification: If your child wanders away you’ll want identification on you at all times.
  7. Start small: If you’re not sure how your child who has autism will manage on a three-week trip to a foreign country, start small and take them overnight but to a very close destination. This might prevent the shock of waking up in a foreign land, where they probably can’t speak the language.
  8. Live and learn: If one trip doesn’t end smoothly, don’t worry. You can try another until you find what works for your child. Don’t give up!

For more information and tips on traveling with a child who has autism, visit the Autism Speaks organization website at

Travel Makers MD