Traveling can be tricky for many people; if you have children who happen to have sensory processing issues, you will have some unique challenges to overcome.
After all, if you think about it as you get ready for travel, there’s a lot of change in the routine, bags are packed, lots of itinerary checks, traveling to the airport, the noise of the airport itself, and it goes on from there.
It’s difficult not to get overwhelmed when it comes to travel, but it can help to have some tips to help manage that travel sensory overload.
Well in advance
Depending on your child’s sensory processing issues, and age you might find it more convenient to plan and pack as early as possible. You can carefully pack their clothes away as they sleep without disturbing or upsetting them.
If you are traveling to somewhere exciting and require some travel vaccinations, do this well in advance at an urgent care facility so your child has time to recover between receiving the immunizations and the day of travel itself.
The sense of smell is one of our strongest ones, but when you travel abroad, shampoo, toothpaste, and even the water can smell and taste different. Wherever possible, you must arrange familiar toiletries. This will reduce the number of overwhelming items your child might experience from the new smells, tastes, and new textures.
Try to pack your own towels, toothpaste, and toiletries that your child uses most regularly. It can also help to have some unwashed, but not dirty, of your clothes in the bag too.
Sensory travel kit
Depending on your child’s sensitivities, it can be a good idea to pack a sensory travel kit. You can pack it filled with textures, smells, sounds, and other activities that can help them to relax.
A small backpack for the child filled with fidget toys, earplugs, sunglasses, headphones, and more so your child has access to can help them focus on something else.
Depending on your child’s age, you can practice the trip a few times. Practice getting in the car, packing a sensory bag, and driving to the airport. These exercises can slowly help them get familiar with the route, and so when you do it for real, they can be a little more relaxed.
Older children may prefer to have a look at the map of the location you are traveling to, the route that you intend on taking, and all of the itineraries. This can help them form the plan in their mind so that each step that you take is familiar to them.
Since you know your child best, you’ll be able to judge which one of these will work for them.
And finally, one of the most important things for your child is to take plenty of breaks and give yourself extra time for everything you need to do. That way, neither you nor your child will feel rushed, and you can have an enjoyable and relaxing trip.
Traveling with children can be one of the most exciting things that you can do together, to experience some new places, and share these memories.