Tips on Traveling with a Disabled Child

Content provided by: UCP of New York City

Here are some helpful tips and things to consider when traveling with your family:


Ask what rooms are available on the first floor. If not verify that the elevators are not under repair (you don’t want to know how many times people have gotten to a hotel to find it under construction or without a working elevator), Check to see if they have wheelchair accessible bathrooms and any additional equipment on site such as a shower chair for use while there.

Air Travel

Let the airline company know about any special accommodations you will need. Things to you might want to consider include wheelchair assistance, special meals and seating near the bathrooms.

Also think about purchasing any cancellation insurance in case you have to cancel the trip at the last moment.


If you plan on renting a car while on your trip consider contacting rental companies that specialize in modified vans and cars. Check with your rental car company to what types of car seats they carry if you child requires a specialized seat (like one with trunk support).


Check with your insurance company to see if you are covered in different states and or internationally.

Keep two copies of all of your documentation including emergency contact list, insurance information and credit cards. Leave one copy at home or with a loved one.


Make sure you will not run out of any medications while on your trip. Check with your pharmacy to see if you can re-fill from a different location in case you need to.

Pack all medications in your carry-on luggage. Any liquids will need to follow airport regulations. It may also be helpful to have a note from your child’s doctor in case you get questioned about the medications.


Bring a full change of clothes on your carry one bag. If you child has frequent accidents you may also want to consider bring blue pads just in case.


Most major attractions in the United States are ADA compliant. Call ahead to see if there is they have wheelchairs, strollers, walkers or any other mobility equipment that you’ll need. Traveling with less equipment can make the trip easier on the whole family.

Other things to think about

Find out what the times or seasons are and avoid them if you can.

If your child is sensitive to loud noises or over-stimulation make sure there are places to go to relax and regroup.

If your itinerary is too full it can make a vacation feel like a forced march. Slow down and remember vacations are about fun and relaxation. You don’t have to pack everything into one day.

Find Support

Have more questions about traveling with your child?

Visit the My Child Without Limits support community and talk to parents, caregivers, and professionals about their experiences with traveling.