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Packing for Your Vacation with an Autistic Child

Updated: May 31

A person on dragging luggage behind them in an airport.  There is a title that reads Autism Friendly Travel Packing for Your Vcation with an Autistic Child Packing for a family vacation can be quite stressful.  You never know what you may need that you are not thinking about.

Packing for a family vacation can be pretty stressful. You never know what you may need that you are not thinking about. However, packing for a trip with an autistic child can be even more stressful. Forgetting one item or bringing the wrong item can create a meltdown. I have quite a bit of experience packing for vacations with my autistic son. And I can tell you that each vacation gets a little easier. I would love to help you plan your next autism-friendly vacation. Contact me today to get started!

Packing for Your Vacation with an Autistic Child

Over the years, I have learned never to bring my son’s stuffed toys (friends) with us on vacation. If my son needs one of his friends, I will usually have him choose one far from his favorite. Trust me when I say losing a non-favorite stuffed animal is better than a favorite one while on vacation! A few of the items I do consider must-haves for autism-friendly vacations include:

* This post contains affiliate links; I earn a small commission if you decide to purchase something; this helps me keep blog posts like this one and running the site!*

Weighted Lap Blankets

A weighted lap blanket can help your child feel safe while flying or riding in a car. Larger weighted blankets are not feasible for travel due to their weight and size. However, I have found that a lap-sized version works well. The best part about taking these weighted blankets is your child can use them for bedtime or during downtime at the hotel. You can also opt for a weighted stuffed animal to snuggle with at night or during the flight.

Fidget Toys

Autistic children sometimes need a fidget toy or two. These small toys fit perfectly in the pockets of carry-on bags, so I recommend bringing a few different ones with you on vacation.


Electronics can be a lifesaver during an autism-friendly vacation. They can be used during travel to keep your autistic child entertained, during downtime, or while on vacation. It is important that you begin your vacation with fully charged devices and that you bring all the charging cords with you so you can recharge the devices as needed. The devices should also be fully charged before you make the return trip home.

Ear Muffs

Ear muffs help block out louder sounds and background noise. Slipping these over your child’s ears can help them from becoming overstimulated. They can also remove distractions everywhere while on vacation and calm your child in overwhelming situations.

Packing Totes

Keeping things organized during an autism-friendly vacation is vital. Compression packing cubes can be used to fit more into your luggage. The tech packing cubes are perfect for storing tech devices and charging cords. I recommend getting one of those cubes for each family member and conveniently storing them in your carry-on bags for easy access.

TSA Cares

I love the assistance I have received through the TSA Cares program when traveling with my boys. I contact them before my trip to ensure a passenger support specialist is available when I arrive at the airport. These staff members can help you by answering any questions you have, helping you clear security, and even ensuring you reach the correct departure gate.

Sunflower Lanyard

Autism is a hidden disability, which can make it difficult for others to understand why you need help while traveling. Many airports have started giving travelers with hidden disabilities a sunflower lanyard to wear. When airport staff sees a person wearing a sunflower lanyard, they know those families may need extra help.

While these last two things cannot go in your luggage, they are essential for getting ready for an autism-friendly vacation. So, as you are packing your bags for your vacation with your autistic child, I want to remind you to get these things set up. Of course, I can help you with TSA Cares and the Sunflower Lanyard while I am planning your autism-friendly vacation.

There is a yellow suit case with the title Autism Friendly Vacations Packing Tps for an Autism Friendly Vacation.

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