Tips for Summer Travel Plans for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder - Touchstone

Tips for Summer Travel Plans for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder


With the pandemic seemingly receding in many areas, families may be ready to get on the road again this summer. For parents and guardians of those with autism spectrum disorder, preparation is key to ensuring a relaxing vacation for both our children and ourselves. Here are some tips for planning summer travel.



Along with asking about local COVID guidelines, find out if your destination options offer support services for someone with autism spectrum disorder. You can do so by contacting customer service at hotels, parks, and airports.

Questions to ask

  • What accommodations do you offer?
  • What pre-planning services do you provide?
  • Are your staff trained in autism awareness?
  • Are you willing to meet my families’ specific needs?


Sensory friendly areas?

Some airports, theme parks, and other travel destinations now have sensory friendly areas and/or hours.  It’s also important to consider which aspects of a trip might be challenging for a loved one with autism. For instance, a trip involves a change in environments, changes in routines, often lots of transitions, maybe changes in caregivers, increased social demands or expectations and others.

How can you prepare?

We can help prepare our children for travel by showing them what to expect and when – use calendars, pictures, write stories, use daily or event schedules to talk about what’s coming next.  Written or picture schedules can help children see what’s next and gives parents an opportunity to talk about expectations.


Most importantly, while travelling, notice and be lavish with your praise and attention when your child is doing well – positive reinforcement increases the likelihood your child will do those good things again and it also focuses our attention on the small joys and successes which can contribute to a memorable vacation.


For more information on current travel guidelines, visit CDC Travel Guidelines  and for information on COVID and persons with disabilities, visit CDC Disabilities.

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