[title size=”2″]Practical tips for traveling with a special needs child[/title]
- Mail diapers and tubie food ahead.
These are the heaviest and bulkiest things you plan to bring, but consider sending them to your hotel ahead of time. Hotels will hold on to any packages they receive for you if it’s within a certain time period of your stay. This means you can send a package ahead, make sure it’s arrived and then step on the plane!
- Use 3M command hooks.
When staying away from home, you can use a 3M command hooks to hang your child’s food bag instead of an IV pole. The hooks can go anywhere and they easily come down when it’s time to go, leaving no trace.
- Use plastic links.
If a road trip is part of your adventure, you can use the plastic links from children’s toys to hang the food bag from the handle or clothing hanger in your vehicle. Tiny bungee cords can also be handy for hanging and improvising.
- Battery powered CPAP machines.
Never been able to camp because you are tied to an outlet at night? Call your medical supplier, they can give you information about obtaining a battery powered CPAP machine for temporary use during your trip.
- Pass out treats AND education.
If you are worried about disrupting others on the airplane, consider planning in advance and giving the people around you a goody bag with a note. We have seen this done for babies and toddlers, but it’s a great idea to spread awareness about your child’s disability. You can include things like, earplugs, a stick of gum, mints, a few sweets and maybe even a brief paragraph about your child’s disability.
- Put your number on your child.
If your child wanders, consider putting your number somewhere on them. Simply writing your number on them with a Sharpee works nicely, but there are also bracelets, necklaces, temporary tattoos and clothes made just for this purpose.
- Noise canceling headphones.
If your child is sensitive to extra stimulation, bring noise canceling headphones to reduce some of the stress of crowded places and airports with bright blinking lights.
- Be flexible!
Oh sure, you already know this right? And you likely already are (special needs parents have to be!), but a little reminder never hurts. Your road trip might require a few (several?) extra stops, your flight might tap your patience and you might need to move to a table more suitable for your family when you eat out, but it’s okay. You will be pleasantly surprised at how accommodating people can be when they meet your unique family!
We hope some of these tips will help you on your way. Do you know of any clever tips and tricks that we haven’t thought of? Parents know best, share your tips of the traveling trade in the comments! Happy vacationing!