I am not a road trip person! Adding to the mix a sensory kid, somehow we have survived a few distance drives. The furthest drive we have done was 6 hours back to back, with an overnight stay in between (a total of 12 hours of driving). We’ve done a few of those trips since it was too the allergist, 6 hours away! We feel pretty successful at that amount of time in the car and we’ve gained a few tips along the way to help you and your kids! This summer we will be doing a 14 hour trip total, that we will be splitting over two days.
New DVD’s and New apps: emphasis on the NEW! The key for us was something new to help her maintain her focus and pass the time. On one trip we had actually borrowed some DVD’s from a friend a whole bag full of them, but she only watched one DVD the entire trip over and over!
Travel at night: We have found if we leave in the late afternoon it has worked well. We do supper in the car and then get jammies on. When it is time for bed we have her shut off all devices and she is able to go to sleep and we can drive while sleeps for over half the trip.
Sensory break: Plan one or two stops to get out and run around for a bit. If this excites your child too much and it would cause them to not want to get back in the car skip this idea. But, map out the playgrounds on the way for a much needed sensory break.
Bathrooms: Know where your child will go. This has been a big one for us. We have gotten to know which places she will accept (Target is a good one for us) and which bathrooms she won’t. There has been many stops where Miss Sensory refuses to even go inside a bathroom once the door has been opened (noise, smell, lights you name it). Be open to making more than one stop before it’s a success!
Pack a small bag to take in the bathroom with you, with soap from home (smell) and a towel (so you don’t have to use the noisy hand dryers) throw in some hand sanitizer for good measure. This was a huge success for us. It helped make some otherwise intolerable bathrooms possible!