Planning an upcoming bus trip with your little ones? They might be feeling a tad anxious about the upcoming trip. Immersing oneself in so many new sights and sounds can make anyone—no matter what age—feel nervous. And if your child is living with developmental disabilities such as Autism, changing her routine or introducing him to a new, high-sensory situation can be stressful, too.
In this article, we’ll discuss 5 effective ways you can build excitement and confidence in your kids to help ease anxiety about travel.
5 Ways to Build Confidence about Travel
Whether you’re traveling by plane, bus, or train, it’s helpful to have a plan in place to help your kids become familiar with the concept of travel and what they can expect during the trip.
1.) Countdown Till Travel
Put up a physical calendar in your home and mark your departure date. A few weeks prior to travel, have your child begin checking off each day. This practice allows your child to understand the concept of time visually and will allow him or her to mentally prepare for an upcoming change in routine.
2.) Describe the Trip with Visuals
In addition to helping your child understand “when” the trip will take place, make sure you explain “how” it will happen.
Use photos to show the type of transportation you will use. If you’re traveling by bus, include pictures of bus drivers, passengers, and what the inside of a bus may look like. You can also share sound effects from YouTube of how a bus engine will sound or a bus horn, as well as a crowd of commuters.
Create a narrative in chronological order that includes the time you leave your home to the time you will arrive at your final destination.
3.) Have Your Child Recite the Trip
Once you have explained the journey ahead and provided visuals and sounds of what it will be like, ask your child to recite the journey back to you.
This method helps you understand how much of the trip your child understands and will help you identify aspects of travel that may still be unclear or may cause anxiety or confusion. You may also decide to ask your child to draw a picture of the upcoming trip to help explain the journey—depending on his or her developmental skills.
4.) Visit the Departure Point Prior to Travel
If you are traveling by bus, plan to take a few trips to the pickup location to help your child see, hear, and familiarize himself or herself with the area.
Encourage your child to walk around and ask questions. You might also pick a designated area for your child to go to, in the event that you become separated. This way your child gets to know the area well and can identify safe spots or know who to talk to (such as an employee at the front desk) for help.
5.) Be Sure Your Child Has Identification
When traveling with your child, having him or her wear identification that includes his or name, and your cell phone to contact you in the event that you get seperated, can also give you both some peace of mind. Though none of us want problems to occur during travel, when you have a plan in place, you can prevent a bad situation from getting worse and ensure it is easily resolved in no time!
Find a Trusted Travel Provider
At Land to Air Express, we’re committed to providing a positive experience to all our customers, whether you’re traveling solo, with extended family, or a small child.
We take every step possible to ensure you can enjoy your time with us! If you are traveling with a child with Autism or other developmental disability where preparation is key, we welcome you to contact us at least 48 hours in advance to help you and your child plan your trip comfortably and confidently.