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10 Travel tips for days out with children with additional needs

It might have been quite a while since we planned a day out. These tips can help you to plan for, and have a wonderful time in the longer, lighter, days ahead.

Photo: [link]Jessica Rockowitz[/link], Unsplash, CC0.

Longer, sunnier days are coming! The opportunity to go out for the day, perhaps to the beach or the countryside, maybe to a park or to a children’s farm, lots of places that we can take our children and young people with additional needs out to for them to enjoy.

But for many of us it might have been quite a while since we planned a day out like this, so here’s a reminder of some useful things to remember:!

Plan together and give processing time

Decide together where you are going to go out for a trip, and give plenty of processing time for your child with additional needs to be able to understand what is happening and where you are going.

It’s often best to avoid unexpected and impromptu trips out!

A visual timetable

It is important when taking your child with additional needs out on a trip for them to know where you are going, what you are going to do, and when you will be returning back home again.

A visual timetable showing each stage of the day (or maybe just ‘now, next, then’ if they need it broken down into bite sized sections) will help reduce anxiety and stress about the trip.

Plan your route and check your car

It seems obvious, but it’s worth checking the route that you are going to take. Is it one you are familiar with, or is it new? If you use SatNav then check that you’ve got the correct details.

Might also be worth having a good old-fashioned map with you too, just in case of signal failure etc. Is your car ready for a longer journey? When was the last time you checked the tyres, oil etc. Have you filled up with petrol?

Take some cash

We rely more and more on cards and our phones to pay for things these days, but there are still lots of places that only take cash.

Make sure you have what you need for car parks, ice cream vendors, swimming pool lockers, amusement arcades, or anywhere else that you might need cash.

Snacks and drinks

Don’t assume that you can buy something to eat while you are out. If you get stuck in a good old British traffic jam, that will be the time that someone says that they are hungry.

Pack some snacks for when you might need them. Have some drinks with you too, especially if it is a hot day. You may not be able to easily access drinks where you are going, so ensure that you have enough fluids to keep you all going.


Remember to take any medication that you need with you. It is always worth taking some on the trip, even if you think you will be back in plenty of time.

Delays can happen, time can slip by, and suddenly you’re late for some vital medication.


Useful in lots of ways. To sit on for a picnic, to wrap around someone if they are cold, to pull over someone if they are needing to shut the world out for a bit, to use for comfort if hurt.

Suncream, sun hat etc. and waterproofs!

Even the spring sunshine can be stronger that it looks, and a cloudy day can turn hot and sunny very quickly, so being prepared with sun protection is important.

We can have all four seasons in a day, so hope for the best, but plan for the worst by having waterproofs at the ready just in case!

Favourite travel toys

What toy can your child not do without when you are out of the house? Make sure you have it with you, to play with, as a comfort, to be a part of the day out.

If it’s a soft toy or similar then you could take photo’s of the toy at various places on your trip. And make sure you know where this precious toy is at all times!


And while we are thinking of taking photos, make sure you capture the memories from the day by taking some photos and writing down some of the things that you did together.

You could even scrapbook the day out together by adding some items from your trip so that you can look back on the day again.

There are lots of other things that you could add to this list, a simple first-aid kit for example, but I hope these reminders will help you to plan for, and have, some wonderful days out in the longer, lighter, sunnier days ahead.


Mark Arnold, Director of Additional Needs Ministry at Urban Saints. Arnold blogs at The Additional Needs Blogfather. This article was re-published with permission.




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