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Planning a Trip with an Autistic Child? Start Small

Updated: Mar 9


A photo of the inside of a hotel on an upper floor.  There are yellow chandaliers hanging from the ceiling.  There is a title that says Autism Friendly Travel Planning a Trip with an Autistic Child?  Start Small It's baby steps when it comes to new foods, new activities and new places.

As a parent of an autistic child, I can tell you numerous scenarios where we have needed to start small. It’s been baby steps when it comes to new foods, new activities, and new places. So, why should it be any different when it comes to vacations? I understand that you want to get away from home. I also know that you are afraid of how your autistic child will react to a new destination. This is why I always recommend starting small when it comes to planning a trip with your autistic child. I can help with this, as well as the following steps, when it is time for a more extended vacation, so contact me today.


Start Small While Planning a Trip with an Autistic Child

A photo in an asian country with a low bed, a robe and mood lighting.


When it is time to plan your first trip with your autistic child, start small while planning a trip with an autistic child. Consider what hotels are located in the area you live in. There is usually one hotel that everyone says they would love to stay at if they didn’t live close by. If you have one of those hotels, book a one-night or two-night stay online.


I recommend one or two nights because you are keeping things small. You are simply giving your autistic child a taste of what it is like to stay away from home and sleep in a different bed. And this way, if it doesn’t go well, you can quickly go home and try again another time. When the weekend of your “vacation” arrives, pack your suitcase like you would for any other trip. This is the time to determine what your autistic child will do for their time away from home. If your child watches a show at a specific time daily, ensure you have a tablet or laptop. And if your child needs a lovey, pack it.


Ready to explore?
Want to start traveling with your autistic child? Get my guide with 3 simple and practical tips to get started planning your very first trip with you autistic child.

Once you are packed and ready, drive to the hotel and check-in. When you get to your room, allow your child to take it all in. Depending on your autistic child, they may sit down to look around or walk around, looking at every inch of the space.


Almost every hotel has a swimming pool. If the hotel you booked your weekend stay at does, go down and do a little swimming. This can be either before or after dinner. Having dinner at the hotel is usually best, so you don’t need to introduce your child to yet another new space. But if your child has a favorite restaurant nearby, feel free to go there instead!


Bedtime might be slightly different at the hotel because it is new. This is where your child’s lovey and even their favorite show can be helpful. After a good night’s sleep, you and your child will be ready for breakfast. The breakfast areas in hotels can be loud and overwhelming. It is better to order room service and enjoy a quiet breakfast in your room.

Since you are on vacation, the daytime hours can be filled with almost anything. You can go there for the day if you have a zoo nearby. Children’s museums, a local beach, or another attraction you have never been to are other options for your day of fun.


You can head back to the hotel in the afternoon for a nap if you are spending a second night. Or if your autistic child doesn’t want to nap, you can all go swimming once again. It is essential to follow your child’s cues. Dinner can be at the hotel again, and don’t be afraid to order room service. After check-out in the morning, you can always head to a local park before going home. This will allow your child to get extra energy from the weekend before returning to their routine.


The Results from Your Weekend Trip with Your Autistic Child

I recommend giving yourself a few days when you return home to reflect on what happened during your weekend trip with your autistic child. This will allow you to consider why certain things went wrong if done calmly. Once you have thoughtfully reviewed what went right and wrong on your “vacation,” consider what changes you would make for the future. Remember, this was a lesson, and you needed to take longer trips with your child eventually. You can use this information for all those fantastic autism-friendly vacations you will be taking in the future!

If you are looking for additional tips don't forget to grab my guide!

Are you ready to start planning a quick trip with your autistic child? Or have you accomplished that and are prepared for a more extended trip? Click here to contact me today and see how I can make your travel plans come true!


A family walking into the sunset.  There is a title that reas Autism Travel Tips Autism Friendly Vacations to Start Small



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