As a family with a special needs child, you have extra planning to do in virtually any situation. This is doubly true when it comes to traveling. There are millions of destinations you may want to visit, but not all of them will work for your family’s needs. Here are five steps you can take to find the right destination for your family.

orlandovacation_special-needs-travel1.         Determine the way your family wants to vacation

The key is to find a vacation that’s fun for everyone. Think about what your family loves doing, whether it’s visiting the beach, taking a cruise, skiing, riding rides, or simply exploring a new locale. Don’t get stuck in the trap of limiting yourself to what you’ve done before. You won’t know if it’s a good fit until you give it a shot!

2.         Make a list of options your family is interested in

Now sit down with your family and write down every place you’re interested in. Ask family and friends on Facebook for suggestions, read about successful trips for other families with special needs, and think about your own childhood vacation dreams. During this step the sky is the limit! You’re just brainstorming to come up with as many options as possible.

3.         Do your research and decide which option is best for your family

After looking at your long list you can likely narrow it down to a few based on location, cost, and other obvious factors. Then think about each one in terms of how easy they are to get to, if they’re wheelchair-friendly, if there are local medical facilities, and what their special needs programs are.

orlandovacation_special-needs-child4.         Make a list of every accommodation you need

Once you’ve narrowed the list further, make a list of all the things you need to ensure your family is comfortable. This might include a full kitchen to prepare the meals you need, a pool with a lift, a multi-bedroom vacation home so you special needs child can get away from the hustle and bustle, and other essential accommodations you’ll need.

5.         Involve the entire family

By now you should have a destination in mind. Have each family member do their own research and find one thing they really want to do or see. The location you choose should have something for everyone, and when each family member identifies the one thing they’re looking forward to, everyone will be looking forward to your trip! Then start researching accommodations, travel arrangements, and more.

This five step plan will help you find a great fit for your family, select the perfect location, and make sure everyone in the family is on board.