Traveling can be stressful and sometimes you can feel out of your element. However, families deserve a break from their routine! Spring Break provides us with a reboot with the nice weather and time away from our normal responsibilities. It can be just what your family needs to make it through the time remaining before summer vacation. With Spring Break approaching, there is no better time to start planning that now! When traveling with a child with special needs it is important to do your research and planning way in advance to make sure access is available when it comes to the environment, transportation and activities. Designing and traveling on your trip doesn’t have to be stressful, we hope to make things easier and more entertaining for all with these Spring Break planning tips.
Plan Out Rest Stops
Something you can do to make sure your next spring break trip runs smoothly is to plan out rest stops before departure. This will help eliminate stress the next time your little one has to use the restroom when there are none in sight. The website application Rest Area provides a Google Map with marked indicators for every rest area and welcome centers in the lower 48 states. It also lists the important information about each stop like if bathrooms, water, vending, picnic tables, Wi-Fi or areas for your pets are available.
Call Ahead for Accessibility
The last thing you want to do is pump everyone up, make all the travel arrangements only to be left disappointed. To make sure everyone is able to enjoy the vacation, check on accessibility ahead of time. Do your research on planning by checking out different entertainment options online. Most attractions will list if they are wheelchair accessible on their website. If the information is not listed, give them a call or shoot them an email. If you reach out and contact them, they may be able to provide you with extra options for accommodations that are not listed. We have complied a Special Needs: Zoos and Aquariums guide for the United States that lists the different contact information along with accessibility notes on each. For other resources on wheelchair-friendly and special needs travel check out this article.
If you are staying in a hotel, ask about their rooms. A few come with roll in showers with benches and bed-to-bath lift systems. Not all rooms in hotels have special amenities. Hotels are only required to have a certain amount of rooms that are for hearing impaired or come with bathing amenities like the ones listed above. The fewer rooms that are in a hotel, the number of required rooms with those accommodations goes down. According to the ADA, hotels with 50 rooms need to only have three wheelchair accessible rooms and only one room with a roll-in shower.
What Your Destination Can Provide
Some travel destinations offer extra services to those with special needs. Places like hotels and parks will let you borrow a wheelchair during your visit. If you are planning on going to a warmer climate or resort, some beaches provide sand friendly wheelchairs free of charge or for a small rental price. The wheels roll easily over sand and you can go right down to the water with them! Places with pools also may have zero entry options. These are pools that have entry ways with no steps.
Organizations sometimes provide reserved seating in theaters and the ability to skip lines at amusement parks for guests with special needs. Contact facilities a couple days in advance to see what accommodations they have. Certain hotels and entertainment places also offer sensory-friendly activity choices. Depending on where you go, if your child is gluten or lactose free, special menus might also be available. If you are planning on renting a car or taking public transportation contact your destination for information. Avis, a car rental company, offers transfer boards which make the transfer from wheelchair to vehicle easier. The company also offers child safety seats and scooter rentals so you won’t have to worry about lugging extra items around.
If you do not have medication on a trip, it can limit you from enjoying yourself to the fullest and could be a major health risk. To ensure everyone is at their best, plan out medication prior to leaving. The earlier you can plan, the better off you will be. Allowing you to have more time to solve problems before they arise. Create a list of medications you and your travel companions will be needing. Always plan on bringing an extra couple of days worth of medication than your planned vacation time. If unexpected bumps in your journey happen or everyone is enjoying themselves so much and you want to stay longer, you won’t have to worry about running out! Call your doctor as soon as you are thinking about taking a trip to see what options are available.
Some medications cannot be filled when you enter another state. Issues like this can arise when it comes to prescriptions known as controlled substances. This can create major difficulties when you are far from home and on a limited supply of medication. Is there a date based on insurance restrictions or other factors when it comes to when you can or cannot fill a prescription? Talk to your doctor about date restrictions that may be placed on your medication. An option that may need to be explored if you cannot receive a refill in time of leaving on your trip is having your pharmacy mail your medications to you. If you already know the destination, research to find pharmacies near the end location that work with your insurance.
The fun of Spring Break doesn’t have to only begin once you arrive at your destination. If you are traveling far, plan some entertaining games to make travel time go by quicker! Nobody likes a boring car ride! Long commute time can be the biggest annoyance of going on vacation. Some ideas to make the time spent in the car more enjoyable can be found in our article Six Quick Tips for Holiday Travel. The article not only has tips for smoother travel but scavenger hunts you can play along the way.
Here are a few other activities and games you can play!
Spring Break should be a time enjoyed by all. Families need to take vacations like Spring Break to create those cherished family memories by spending quality time together. Plus, getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life can refresh your spirit allowing you take on challenges better than ever. Don’t let the planning of Spring Break discourage you or ruin all the fun. Planning your vacation ahead of time will only allow you to be prepared for whatever comes your way to guarantee you can enjoy your trip to the upmost fulfillment.
If you are thinking about going away for Spring Break this year, call our care team and ask about the resources we have available to assist your trip experience. You can contact us at (800) 692-4453