Autism, travel, parenting and mental health

Finding the Right Hotel for Your Child’s Spectrum

Finding the Right Hotel for Your Child’s Spectrum

Finding the right hotel is essential for navigating your child’s spectrum while traveling. For us, we need a quiet place to relax, zone out, and lots of room for stimming! There are also some other key things that we also look for in a hotel. Here are a few tips and tricks for finding the perfect place to stay while traveling. 

Proximity to your Destination

The very first thing we do is try to find accomodations close to a specific attraction. If we are headed to an amusement park we try to stay within walking distance, if possible. The mere sight of the car is enough to send my kiddos into a full blown meltdown. They (ALWAYS) assume that if we are getting in the car, we are going home. We don’t have any issues getting them on to a shuttle, so we also look to see if the place we are staying has anything available for us. 


Price is, of course, always a concern for families. I don’t want to spend a huge amount of money on a hotel if we can avoid it, then we have more money for souvenirs! There are lots of budget chains that are family friendly and very accommodating. Don’t get caught up in the allure of extras. Spas, gyms and other amenities are great if you will use them. Personally, I have never been able to tear myself away from our vacation to use these things. Hopefully, someday! 


We always check out pictures of any hotel rooms we are looking to stay in. We check for things like a table to sit and eat at, have you ever seen a child eat? I want that no where near my bed; plus our kiddos maintain better if they are able to sit in a chair to eat. A fridge/microwave for preferred foods that we need to bring with us. Lastly, but most importantly is SPACE. My kiddos need space to get their body calm, they need a place to stim and move. Most of the time my kiddos will pace around the room creating their own little “laps” as we call them. If my kiddos don’t have space for this and are unable to stim, they will meltdown, so it’s a necessity for us. Because of this we try to find family rooms, that have separate rooms. These rooms give us the space we need, plus if one of the kiddos is having a rough time we can take them to the separate room to calm down. 

Ask for Accommodations

My family always requests a room on the floor level. Like I said, my kiddo’s stimming involves lots of walking, and they do not have soft feet. We try to be kind and courteous to our fellow travelers, and avoid being the noisy upstairs neighbors. If you need accommodation always ask for it. Never fear being that person who calls ahead of time to make sure your trip goes smoothy. Kiddos on the spectrum sometimes have extra needs, and thats ok. 

While this isn’t a complete list, it’s a great start. I didn’t even mention a pool, which is also not optional for my kiddos. However, I have yet to meet a body of water that my kids will not swim in. Overall, just find a hotel with your kiddo’s needs in mind. If they don’t like traffic noise, try finding a place off main streets and highways. If they rely on iPads or other devices to maintain, try finding a place with free wifi. You could also try finding a good AirBNB or VRBO. We haven’t tried that route yet. I haven’t heard great things about them being special needs friendly. There are a few autism specific websites that are on my list of things to try. VillaKey has properties in Florida and are launching new vacation homes in Colorado! If anyone has tried any of these sites, let me know in the comments! Make sure to follow Navigating Our Spectrum for more!

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