Traveling with autism

Traveling can be challenging for anyone, but especially for those with autism. Changes in routine, unpredictability, crowds, unfamiliar noises, sights and possibly new dialects or accents can be overwhelming for those on the spectrum. 

But with a little planning and the tried-and-tested resources and tips below, we hope to make traveling more manageable for you. 

Stuart Spielman and his son Zak on their travel

Autism Speaks Senior Vice President of Advocacy Stuart Spielman offers a heartwarming glimpse into traveling with his autistic son in Travel + Leisure and USA Today.

 

Managing travel

Air travel 

Autism Double-Checked Autism Flies
  • Autism Flies by Autism Double-Checked Held at your local airport, these free events give your family the chance to practice every step of the airline boarding process, including TSA security screening.  
  • TravelingWiki A list of U.S. airports with autism supports in them and/or resources nearby; available in 11 languages.
  • Taking an airplane: A guide for people with autism A teaching story to help prepare you for the airport and flying experience.
  • TSA Cares This helpline by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions during the security screening process. TSA recommends that passengers call 72 hours ahead of travel for information about what to expect during screening. Their Screening Travelers on the Autism Spectrum teaching video shows an autistic person what they can expect during a security screening.

Train travel

Amtrak’s accessible travel services Provides additional services to passengers with disabilities, and lists facilities that are more accessible to customers with disabilities.

Hotel stays

Autism Double-Checked partner Virgin Hotels

Autism Stays by Autism Double-Checked If your family needs greater familiarity with staying in a hotel, these local events are held on less-crowded weekends at very attractive room-rates. This might be your first ever family hotel night, or just a chance to brush up on the experience. 

Then once you're ready to plan a hotel stay farther away from home, consider one of Autism Double-Checked's diretory of certified of hotels worldwide. 

Disney

Disneyland autism guide: Visiting the Happiest Place on Earth Walt Disney's first theme park in Anaheim, CA, has made huge strides to accommodate those with autism and related conditions. Find out how to register with its disability access services, learn about its sensory-friendly offerings and plan a trip that's manageable for those with autism. 

Cruising

Autism on the Seas Provides staff assisted services that accommodates those with autism and related conditions onboard Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, Disney and Carnival Cruise Lines. Each cruise is staffed with professional volunteers that accompany families and individuals who provide assistance throughout the cruise including meals, pool/beach activities, shows and respite..

 

Resorts

Autism on the Seas Provides staff assistance for those with autism and related conditions at both Beaches and Disney World resorts.

Holiday travel

Holiday travel tips for autistic people and their families A little planning goes a long way. More resources and information from Autism Speaks.

Travel and safety