Traveling with Loved Ones with Special Needs
Traveling with family members can be overwhelming at times, but it can be even more stressful to travel with special needs family members. On the other hand, it is also extremely rewarding to have your loved ones by your side while visiting new places. Traveling with special needs family members may be challenging, but there are a variety of ways to make the most of the journey while making it easier on you and the rest of your family.
Guide to Traveling with Special Needs Family Members
Though traveling with special needs family members may present unique challenges, there are ways to organize your trip to make it enjoyable and fun for the entire family. Whether you are driving or traveling by plane, here are a few traveling tips to help make your family trip a success.
1. Plan ahead.
Planning is one of the most important steps in any family vacation. However, it’s even more crucial when traveling with a special needs family member. Because unique challenges may arise, it’s ideal to plan every portion of your trip very carefully. From the time you leave your home to the time you arrive at your destination, you should be aware of the need for accessibility and appropriate accommodations for your loved one along the way. A few important considerations while planning your trip include:
- Hotel accomodations
- Locations of rest stops or layovers
- Medication and mealtime routines
- Accessibility at attractions and tourist stops
2. Speak with your loved one’s physician.
If you are planning a trip with a special needs family member, it is extremely important to check in with their physician beforehand. Not only will they be able to provide you with the medication your family member may need while traveling, but they can also give you advice and recommendations on how to handle potential emergencies that may arise. They may even suggest making a special on-the-go pack, which could include items like:
- Extra medications
- Insurance cards
- Snacks or meals
- Emergency contact information
3. Make a packing checklist.
While traveling with a special needs family member, leaving items behind can be a deal breaker for the entire trip. You may not be able to replace your everyday essentials with a trip to the local convenience store when you have a family member with special needs. Therefore, making a checklist before packing your bags is a must. Not only should you use this list before heading to your destination, but you should also keep it on hand in order to double check your belongings along the way.
4. Prepare the entire family.
Although you may be planning ahead to accommodate your family member with special needs, it is also important to prepare the entire family. Traveling with an individual with disabilities comes with a few unique challenges, but doesn’t have to become an overwhelming mess. Instead, preparing other family members for extra stops and cooperation can help prevent frustration.
5. Select the best location.
Can’t decide on where to travel with your family? We recommend doing your research in order to select the destination that will accommodate all members of your family. Many different locations have incredible options for those with disabilities, providing families with all of the resources they could possibly need. A few popular spots to travel with special needs family members include:
- National parks
- Cruise lines
- Amusement parks
6. Don’t forget to rest.
Oftentimes, families can get caught up in doing a multitude of activities on their vacation. Although you may be having fun, it is important to remember that some family members need to take a break from all of the running around. After all, isn’t vacation about relaxing? When planning ahead for your family trip, be sure to plan for a day of rest for everyone. Once everyone relaxes for a while, you’ll be even more excited to continue having fun.
7. Choose proper transportation.
Transportation is a huge consideration when planning a trip with a special needs family member. If your destination is close enough to travel by car, it’s important to plan for rest stops and plenty of room. If you are flying, preparing your loved one for the entire flying process is a crucial step to the vacation process.
8. Be patient.
Overall, traveling with a special needs family member requires an immense amount of patience. When you plan ahead, your patience will not be spread as thin. No matter who you are traveling with, you should never expect your trip to go exactly as planned.
Caring for special needs at the Baddour Center
If you are planning to travel with a special needs family member, there are a lot of steps that go into making the process run smoothly. However, it will end up making your trip a memorable experience for the entire family.
Our team at the Baddour Center works to find the best resources and accommodations for the special needs residents on campus, helping to make their life easier and more fulfilling. If you are interested in investing in the lives of Baddour Center residents, check out our volunteer page to find your place in our family.
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