Holiday Travel Tips for Families with Visually Impaired Children and Teens

Modern airport scene of a passenger walking inside the airport looking outside through the large window

Heading anywhere for the holidays? This year we’re opting to stay home and soak up two weeks of minimal commitments and maximum relaxation. I cannot wait to regroup and unwind.

If you, on the other hand, are opting to visit family, sightsee, or vacation, you brave soul, and you aim to experience respite on your adventure…not to mention make the most (educationally) of your experience…read on.

I’ve compiled a list of travel suggestions published on AFB and WonderBaby in years past. The only suggestions missing are yours! So, gather a few for yourself, and leave a few for others in the comment section.

As suggested in Tips for Travel with a Visually Impaired Child:

  • Include your child in the planning.
  • Make a tactile map of the destination.
  • Create a travel bag with activities for long rides (think: braille card deck, audio player, puzzle toys).
  • Explore replicas of any historic destinations (empire state building, golden gate bridge, statue, etc.) usually found in a nearby gift shop.

As suggested in Traveling with a Child Who Is Visually Impaired:

  • Don’t forget medications.
  • Know your entire family’s needs, wants, and limits.
  • Plan, plan, plan!

As suggested in How to Manage the Airport More Effectively:

  • Help your teen become acquainted with the airport layout in advance.
  • Consider an audible luggage locator to help your child easily retrieve his/her baggage from the carousel.
  • Teach your older child/teen to handle flight delays (see article for details).

As suggested in Holiday Travel Ideas and Tips:

  • Ask for specific accessibility accommodations, such as verbal descriptions of sights on tours, or the opportunity to touch landmarks or artifacts usually off limits, consider asking for the accommodations in advance, such as at the time of booking.
  • Your teen can utilize an app with an accessible GPS to familiarize himself with the new environment, and maybe even lead the family to a restaurant in walking distance.
  • If your child or teen doesn’t regularly use a cane for mobility, encourage her to bring it for identification purposes, which can be helpful in unfamiliar, crowded spaces.

Lastly, if your child has multiple disabilities and a regular bed isn’t a safe sleeping zone for him or her, you’ll want to read WonderBaby’s review of special needs travel bed.

Good luck on your holiday trip! I’d love to know where you’re headed.