By: Amy Dienta
Our family loves to travel. Recently we got the opportunity to travel to Dominican Republic with our newly 1-year-old and and our 7-year-old with Autism. I’d like to share a few tips I’ve learned over a few trips as a family traveling international with children and with a child with autism.
- If the child is old enough to understand, explain to the child what’s going to happen. We are going to go to the airport, go through security, and get on a plane. We have done this many times so it’s normal for my 7 year old now.
- Bring the stroller–even if your child doesn’t use one at home, there’s a ton of walking in the airport and at the location you are going to.
- If your child can use a baby carrier and you can wear them, bring that as well. There are some fantastic excursions we went on using the baby carrier. The carrier is also good for the airport, plane, and just generally walking around your resort.
- Bring foods your kids are familiar with. Apple sauce pouches, fruit loops, and snacks.
- Let the child lead the way if they are old enough. Our resort had a beautiful kids club that at first our 7 year old didn’t want to use it, but asked to go for an hour. Then he loved going there and seeing his friends he had made. This gave all of us a few hours off to rest.
- If your child has autism try to attend a free Wings for Autism event. The child will get to go through security, get on a plane, and go through the entire process just like you were going on an actual plane trip.
- If your child has autism or any other disability, call TSA Cares and get set up for help through the TSA screening process. https://www.tsa.gov/travel/passenger-support
- Bring extra baby wipes. These come in handy for everything from wiping the seat back tray on the plane to wiping of sticky little fingers.
- Have patience with your husband and children.
- Remember you are on vacation, relax, and enjoy the trip. Order extra rum and coke when you get a chance.