Are you stressed about an upcoming trip with your special needs child? You want to be present with them to take in all the joys along the way, but you’re worried about the unknown. If you’re in this boat, you’ll appreciate this comprehensive Special Needs Pre-Flight Checklist, or you can check out our 6 favorite tips from the list.

1.         Stopovers may be your friends

orlandovacation_special-needs-flightMost people prefer nonstop flights, but for your special needs child, two shorter flights may be much easier for them to handle than one long one. Think about how long they can really be comfortable sitting in one spot and decide what’s best for your family.

2.         Bring a doctor’s letter

Have your doctor write down a simple, easy-to-understand description of your child’s diagnosis and any medications they’re on. In the event that you must see a doctor while on your trip, your child will have a much higher level of care if the attending physician has this concise information.

3.         Visit the airport before your big day

For many special needs children, routine is essential. If the first time they ever set foot in an airport is the same day of their first vacation, they may be overwhelmed. Consider a trip in advance where you can watch planes take off and land, and simply let them get used to the hustle and bustle.

4.         Take advantage of TSA Cares

At least 72 hours before you travel, contact TSA Cares via their website, or call them at 1-855-787-2227. You can get information about screening processes and even request special help at various checkpoints. This is your best resource to make sure you have all your ducks in a row.

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5.         Bring plenty of small bills

There are two main reasons it pays to have a wallet full of small bills. First, it’ll speed up the process of paying for a cab, buying an extra snack, or anything else you need to do in a rush. Second, it gives you the opportunity to tip those who are helpful to you. Note that not all can accept tips. For example, a particularly helpful TSA agent can benefit from an email letting their supervisor know they went above and beyond, but they can’t accept money from you.

6.         Complete all your check-ins online

There’s no reason to wait in a long line at the airport or at your resort hotel. The night before you go, check-in online to save yourself the hassle. Your goal is to spend as little time waiting for your vacation to begin and as much time as possible enjoying every second of your special adventure!