Pack a Bag

Before heading out for a spring break trip or a weekend at Grandma’s house, take a look at some of these ideas for personalized travel bags. These tried-and-true ideas have helped decrease travel anxiety for individuals with autism and their families, so you might want to give them a try.

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Personal Travel Bag. Let your youngster pack his own small, zippered bag with items such as a small toy, familiar book, familiar video/DVD, or other personal favorites from home. To help ease transition into a new situation, include a small photo album with pictures of his room, pets, house, and the destination of your vacation.

Sleep-Tight Bag. To help encourage peaceful sleep in unfamiliar places, pack his pillow, sheet/blanket, and pajamas in a colorful stuff bag that is easy to identify and locate when you stop for the night.

YIKES! Kit. Keep an emergency kit handy that not only has first aid items and medications, but also some water bottles, snacks, a change of clothes, water-free hand cleaner, wet-wipes, and zip lock bags. Quart sized zip lock bags are good for a traveler who feel nauseous.

Explorer’s Bag. Prepare a small bag that includes a map, a disposable camera, binoculars, and a folder that can be filled with a “Destination Collection” of postcards and other souvenirs. Help your friend with autism remember take a picture of the group at every stop along the way – even roadside parks or places to eat – to record a visual history of the adventure.

Do you have some ideas for helping ease anxiety and behavior issues when traveling? Send them our way by clicking on the comments button or sending an e-mail to

NOTE TO READERS AND LISTENERS: I am Cathy Knoll, a board certified music therapist and long-time friend of many folks with autism. At we are committed to providing free, practical, everyday tips for making life better for people with autism. Feel free to send me an email with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solution. Send email to And don’t forget to check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism.

Published on: Mar 28, 2008

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