Tips for Planning a Vacation with a Special Needs Child

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For families with a special needs child, traveling or taking a vacation can be challenging. Fortunately, hotels and other destinations are beginning to catch on that some kids have special needs. Additionally, there are other resources available, such as, that help make planning a vacation and taking a trip with your special needs kid easier and more enjoyable for everyone.

In a recent article for Fox News, writer Hallie Levine shared a list of top destinations for kids with special needs from Yahoo Travel as well as tips for planning your vacation from Alan Day.

Tips for Planning

  1. Find a property that offers summer activities that you want or that is close to those activities. Having an “anchor” activity such as swimming in the summer lets you try as many other activities as you can, “all the time knowing you have a fall back.”
  2. For the budget conscious, the least expensive room in a high-grade hotel is better than the best room in a lower-grade hotel.
  3. Smaller rise properties tend to be quieter, which is good if you have a child with sensory issues. Day also advises asking for the last room in a given hallway because there is only one room next to it.
  4. You can always rent a vacation house, which may offer fewer amenities but all the comforts of home. Having a special needs child often means you need to control the environment, which you can’t always do in a hotel.

Top Destinations

  1. Morgan’s Wonderland: Texas theme park completely designed or individuals with special needs. Admission is free if you have a disability.
  2. TradeWinds Island Resorts: Located near St. Pete Beach in Florida, these two resorts were the first hotels designated Autism Friendly by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.
  3. Dollywood: Surrounded by trees and creeks this Tennessee theme park has a more calming feel to it. A map is also available which identifies which rides are accessible for people with different levels of disabilities.

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