Tips for Travelling with Children and Adults with Special Needs
Going on holiday is an exciting time for all! If you are planning to travel with a person who has special needs, you may feel like travelling greater distances can come with challenges. Here at the Calvert Trust Exmoor, we feel that holidays for people with disabilities should be made achievable wherever possible. If you are planning a getaway with a family member or a friend who have special needs, we have some tips you can take to ensure a smoother journey!
Have Back-Up Plans and Precautions
As you would expect, planning well in advance and pre-planning any unexpected situations are hugely beneficial when trying to organise travel. Discussing all issues beforehand with all necessary participants is a must as you can decipher any vital problems with travelling and accommodate around them. Therefore, make sure you know what to do in the incident of an emotional breakdown. By having a plan in place, you will spend less time worrying about what could go wrong and more confident in managing emergencies.
One of the most important aspects to consider is how you will cope if a medical emergency occurs. If you require medical attention, how will you do this, and what will be your course of action? It is good to note down any special needs or medical conditions. This may include contacts, care plan and their history.
Secondly, ensuring you have all the required medical documents for travel is vital. It may be that you need individual confirmations of their condition and any equipment while on the move. A Doctor’s letter is top of the list. If travelling abroad, you could try to get hold of the document in the language of the country you are visiting, if necessary. Secondly, a copy of any prescriptions, also in both languages. Any medical insurance documents are essential, alongside the number for the emergency medical helpline.
Before you embark on your adventure, it is essential to think about the condition your passenger may be coping with and how travelling may affect them and in what way. For example, will an alteration in noise and sensation affect your passenger? If so, you need to deliberate how you can ease this change in scenery for the comfort of the traveller.
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard
The sunflower lanyard was initially launched at Gatwick Airport and is now endorsed by the majority of railway companies, airports, NHS locations and supermarkets across the UK. The sunflower lanyard is a form of communication for people with disabilities that are not noticeably clear to signal that assistance may be necessary. It is a useful thing to have, and we would recommend its use while travelling, especially on public transport.
Talking to companies you plan to travel with is essential. Each section further in the article will go into further detail on this topic.
Tips for Car Journeys
If you are travelling by vehicle, you may need to look into what modifications you need to include for a disabled traveller. As previously mentioned, preparation is key, especially with any behavioural issues. Ensure you have a simple piece of paper with a list of medicines, contact details for medical support and any other information. Make sure to check out where the accessibility service stations are allocated on your route and ensure all comfort and stress relievers are packed in the car, just in case!
Tips for Travelling by Train
Inform stations if you, or someone with you, are travelling with a disability so they can help you on your arrival. It is also essential to note down any platform changes and where accessible toilets will be located in the station. You should be able to find this out when you inform the company. If you are travelling with a child, show them pictures to familiarise them with what the journey will entail. If possible, avoiding the heaviest hours of traffic should reduce the stress of the journey for all involved! Ensure all comfort blankets and toys have been packed too in case of an upset. If you happen to come across a friendly member of staff who is happy to talk about the journey, this can also help to ease any anxiety.
Tips for Travelling by Plane
Firstly, contacting the airline is a must. You can explain the needs of passenger travelling. Any procedures in the case of an emergency and the equipment necessary to accompany the individual onboard can be confirmed. Obtaining written permission from the correct medical professional is essential and needs to be with the guardian at all times. This should be used to ensure that equipment and medication can be taken on the flight. Before the flight, make sure to explain the small size of toilets, so the person is aware of the circumstances before the experience. Once you are at the airport, heading over to the appropriate airport staff is essential to help a smooth check-in.
Hopefully, we have eased some concerns you may have when trying to plan travel arrangements with an individual with special needs. For more inspiration on where to visit on your next holiday, take a look at our blog on Six of the Top Accessible National Trust Sites in Devon.