Summer road trips can be a great solution for families with special needs because they allow more flexibility and customization in terms of time, agendas and activities.
Venturing out on a road trip soon? Here are some tips to make it a success:
Rely on your professional au pair
Your professional au pair loves your kids and she wants to make your life easier! When your professional au pair is on duty in the car, have her sit next to your child with special needs so she can make sure they aren't over or under stimulated during the journey. This frees you up to focus on driving or to check on your other children if you have another adult doing the driving duties.
If you need a quick refresher on regulations when traveling with your professional au pair, visit our blog.
If you've never been on a road trip as a family before, experiment with a shorter drive first. A location that is 3 to 5 hours away is a great test run to see how your children react and what strategies work best for keeping them happy and entertained. E-books are a wonderful distraction in the car and for your special needs child, bring along a book and map with pictures of where you're going. This will visually familiarize them with the destination and get them excited about the trip.
Take advantage of the flexibility
Airport journeys can be stressful, even when traveling alone! Mixed connections or forgotten IDs are always on the mind. A huge bonus of a family road trip is the flexibility. You can stop for bathroom and stretch breaks as frequently as needed and you can change your itinerary as you go. This is especially beneficial for your child with special needs, as they may need a longer break in order to feel comfortable.
After a long day of driving, it's important to let your kids expend their energy before bedtime. Try to stay at a hotel with a swimming pool- this will give your kids something to look forward to each day!
Another way to stay active is by exploring our National Parks. Be sure to get an Access Pass for your child with special needs, which grants them (and often the whole family) lifetime free entrance to over 2000 National Parks.
We wish you and your family the best on your adventures!