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Autism Friendly Checklist for the Airport




Traveling by air always brings another set of challenges. Traveling with family members who are on the spectrum can take additional time. It certainly takes additional considerations, perhaps different equipment, or tools such as fidgets to consider when planning and packing. To make sure your journey to your destination, I have included tips prior to arriving at the airport.





Prior to Airport Arrival:

  • Luggage: Pack lightweight, durable luggage with easy identification. Consider using packing cubes for organization.

  • Clothing: Check the weather at your destination. Pack versatile and comfortable clothing for each family member.

  • Travel Comfort: Bring travel pillows, blankets, and comfort items for children. Don't forget chargers for electronic devices.

  • Snacks: Pack snacks that you and your family enjoy and place in your carry-on bag. Many flights may offer free snacks or may charge snacks. Your family may be particular about the snacks they eat. Pack what they enjoy so that there are no surprises.

On-Board Essentials:

  • Travel Documents: Ensure passports, tickets, and any necessary travel documents are easily accessible.

  • Entertainment: Pack books, games, and electronic devices with headphones for entertainment during the flight.

  • Snacks: Bring a variety of snacks for the journey, especially if traveling with young children.

  • Change of Clothes: In case there is an issue with your checked bags, pack a change of clothes for each family member in case of spills or accidents. Additionally, I always place my toothbrush in my carry-on bag too.

Airport Tips:

  • Arrival Time: Now, you need to be at the airport at least three hours prior to departure. You do not know how the lines are at security or bag drop. Depending on your carrier, your lines may be even longer. Arrive at the airport well in advance, considering extra time for security and unforeseen delays.

  • Security Check: Place everything in your carry-on to make it easier on the other side of security. This will make it easier to pick up your bags. You can always take things apart once you and your bags are screened.

  • Security: Be prepared to navigate security with children. Check security regulations for carrying baby items like strollers and formula.

  • Airport Facilities: Locate family-friendly amenities, such as play areas and nursing rooms.

  • Seat Arrangements: Plan seating arrangements to accommodate the family's needs. Plan the seats when you purchase the flights.

  • Ear Pressure: Prepare for ear pressure changes during takeoff and landing, especially for young children.


There are so many tips that will help ease your stress and anxiety when traveling through the airport. Arriving early is going to help. Adding a social story so that your children will know what to expect as well as games. It will help the time pass quickly. Early planning, these tips and early arrival time will go a long way towards arriving at your destination with reduced stress.



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