Traveling in general can be a very stressful event. However, adding children into the mix can create even more stress and chaos. What if your child has a disability? What if they have medical equipment that needs to be with your child?
Traveling with a Child Who Has a Disability
How to Travel with a Child with a Disability
One of the first things that needs to be done is talk to your child’s medical provider. Your child needs to be given the all-clear for traveling. Once your child has been cleared, you need to plan, pack, decide how you are traveling, set expectations.
Planning Your Trip for a Child with a Disability
Planning is one of the most important ways to help ensure your trip can go as smoothly as possible. Mapping your route and destinations can help take the guesswork out of where your stops are and how often you should stop.
Calling ahead to various locations will help you know where it is best to stop and what accommodations they have. This will also help you know what you need to pack.
Driving or Flying with a Child with a Disability?
There are many pros and cons to either travel option. Knowing your child and their specific needs will ultimately help you decide which is best. However, if you are unsure there are some important things to know about either option.
Flying is the quickest way to get to a destination further from home. However, traveling through an airport with medical equipment can be challenging.
Here are a few suggestions for helping the flying process run smoother: a list of any prescription drugs your child is taking and a copy of each prescription, a physician’s description letter of your child’s condition and needs in case of an emergency, list of items packed in carry-on bags, personal item and checked bags.
Calling the airport prior to your trip is a great way to see what that specific airport needs or requires will help ensure there aren’t any last-minute surprises. One thing to keep in mind is that every airport employee might not know every policy or rule that pertains to disabilities.
Driving to your destination is a great option for trips! You will have your own car, food, drinks, medical supplies, and your child can make as much noise as they want without the added stress of worrying about other passengers. You can also make as many stops or take as long as you need in the restrooms. Just remember to set a realistic expectation of how long to plan for your travel time, make it fun! Use the time in the car or use the stops to create more family memories, plan fun stops and make the most of the time you have together!
Don’t Expect Perfection
Travel in general never goes according to plan. You are heavily dependent on other people, weather, and equipment of destinations. With several variables, no one will ever have a ‘perfect’ trip.
Destinations that are Great for Children with Disabilities
Disney everything, all locations, cruises or land. Disney is known for making people with disabilities experiences unforgettable! Splore in Moab, Utah, Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Royal Caribbean cruises, Smugglers’ Notch in Cambridge, Vermont, Franklyn D. Resort & Spa in Runaway Bay, Jamaica, and Tradewinds Island Resort in St. Pete Beach, Florida.
This list is not comprehensive by any means, it’s more to show that all over the world people and companies are starting to become more aware of the disability community and are making changes to be more inclusive.