Planning with a Special Needs Mom – Flexibility is Key Part 5 of a 5-Part Series
October 20, 2020
By: Annette Miller
Traveling with someone living with special needs requires an additional layer of planning. In the previous installments of this series, I provided an overview of some of the factors to take into consideration when planning a vacation, then we talked about planning together, selecting the right location, and the importance of having a contingency plan in the event that something doesn’t go as planned. This edition will address planning for flexibility.
I’m sure that many of you are like me – creating a vision of your vacation. I imagine the things we will do, the meals we’ll enjoy, and even the look of joy on my kids’ faces. In my experience, traveling with someone living with special needs usually means that my carefully created plans go out the window from time to time. This can be the cause of great stress, frustration, and disappointment. But it can also be the source of surprise adventures. The key is to let go and be flexible.
Your traveler with special needs may need some extra rest…or an extra snack…or just to take a break in a quiet corner. While they sleep, take the opportunity to read a book. Discover a new snack together. Do some people watching in a quiet corner together. We also like to take a break from the heat and chaos of the middle of the day by visiting a water park or relaxing at the pool.
So, my best advice is: Go into your vacation as prepared as possible but be prepared for some unexpected adventures. (Watching my son cast spells in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter turned out to be one of my favorite parts of our trip to Universal Orlando Resort.) Try to go with the flow and you may just discover some unexpected new favorites.
Before I wrap up this series, I wanted to take a moment to mention the importance of protecting your vacation investment. This is, by no means, a sales pitch. However, I know that there are things that come up – either before or during your vacation – that can derail the vacation you have planned for and dreamed of. It is also important to note that I am not an insurance agent, so I can’t speak to what coverage a policy provides. I can tell you that the coverages vary widely, and some have limits about when they cover pre-existing conditions (when purchased within a certain number of days after booking your trip, for example). Make sure that you find one that is appropriate for your family. The peace of mind is worth the cost of the policy.
As the adoptive mom of three children living with special needs (all cognitive challenges), I truly have a passion for helping other families build vacations that are appropriate for every member of the family. If I can help you create some cherished lifelong memories, please reach out. You can find me at either firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-262-5307. I would be honored to help!