Travel tips for autistic folks

You have decided you are going somewhere. What should you do next? 

Clipart of famous places around the world placed on top of a globe. It includes: Pyramid, Colosseum, Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, Christ the Redeemer

BOOK YOUR TICKETS

Clipart version of paper tickets with "Tickets" written and a small plane drawn in one corner

How are you planning on travelling? If you are taking any means of transport that requires tickets, book it. While booking return tickets, give yourself a day to rest and recover before you go back to work.

Once you have booked your tickets, jot that down in your calendar.

Put the location in the calendar. This will save you the trouble of: “Which terminal am I travelling out of?” anxiety. If you use a digital calendar, set a notification that will remind you:

(a) one week prior,
(b) one day prior, and
(c) one hour more than the required time to reach the bus stop/train station (eg. if it takes 2 hours to reach the airport and you have to reach at least 1 hour before your flight, set a notification for 4.5 hours prior to flight. That way even if you forget, you have enough time to make it.)

ACCOMMODATION

Clipart version of Hotel Sign. Corner of a building with a signboard with "Hotel" written on it and 4 stars painted on top of the building

Are you staying with a friend/family? Or do you need to book one? If you need one, book it. Now save this on your calendar: date, time, location. 

Things to think about (inter alia):

(a) Location
(b) Accessibility
(c) What kind of accommodation?
(d) Budget

LISTS

Make a list of everything you will need in your trip.

Include the most basic things you need to pack. Toothbrush, toothpaste, medicines, number of underwear, bras, vests, paperwork etc.

Also make a list of things you have to do before you leave, and a list of things you have to do as soon as you come back.

While travelling can be fun, the crash after you come home can be overwhelming. So it is nice to prepare and go on autopilot mode if need be. 

Set up a small bag where you can dump the things in the list as you go on with other things in your life. Do not worry about “packing”. You are just putting things in one place so you dont forget them.

Things that you may consider packing 

A person taking clothes from the hangar and putting them in a hanper
  1. Extra N95s/FFP2.
  2. Any kind of assistive aid: Wireless noise cancelling headphones, Sunglasses.
  3. Your favourite stim: A ball of yarn and knitting needles, fidget spinner
  4. Document that helps you access help: Disability proof.
  5. USB Cable/ Power Bank.
  6. Something that helps you calm down: eg. Trusted blanket.
  7. A small packet of something sweet and something savoury + a bottle of water.

ACTIVITIES

Where will you eat when you are there? If you get overwhelmed by options like me, I will suggest you make a list of places near your area that come recommended and within your budget. That way, when you are there, you will not have “I have too many options. Capitalism will one day kill me” panic.

Do the same for places you would like to visit and make a note on how to get there.

Things to do before you leave

Suitcase and Small bag
  1. Check all your paperwork: passport, residence card, disability card, debit/credit card, travel card etc.
  2. Set your clothes aside (including socks, hair accessories etc) that you will wear for your travel. 
  3. Clean up your bed, and your living room. You can come back and go to sleep immediately if you wish.
  4. Empty your bins.
  5. Do all the dishes. 
  6. Put your bag near the door. As if you are almost ready to leave. All you have to do is take your phone and charger.
  7. Set up an alarm for waking up. Set another alarm for when you should be ready to leave. 

POST TRAVEL PREP

  1. Set out clothes to wear when you come back. You will be tired. Your future self will be very grateful that you set fresh clothes aside. If you are going for long, put it in a small bag or some sort of cover.
  2. Keep a frozen meal in your fridge that you can pop in when you get back. 
  3. You do not have to unpack immediately. It is okay to leave it for later.

You are ready to leave

  1. Don’t forget your phone, wallet, keys, masks. 
  2. Call the cab if you are taking one.
  3. If your house is alarmed, step out of the house and set it.
  4. Lastly, Reach early. It will take care of one pretravel anxiety.  
  5. Rest.
Happy Vacation written in neon text with a plane flying forming a heart in the centre

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