For those who have difficulty dealing with change, however, vacations aren’t so fun.
The unknown – think leaving home for a possibly regrettable destination – presents hazards, unforeseen circumstances, unplanned disaster, and all sorts of situations that have not been planned for and can catch the traveler off guard. For someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, this is the stuff of nightmare.
So when we travel, my goal is always to reassure; to make everything as comfortable, safe, and familiar as humanly possible. To eliminate that fear factor.
For example, I’ll start leaving out a list of supplies we need to bring a few weeks ahead of time. Anyone in the family can add to it, but it’s really there for my boys to check on and make sure that all bases are being covered.
This simple thing – leaving out a list for all to see – has prevented more panic and problems than just about anything else I can think of.
We also start collecting items for transport in a designated spot, so they can see that, yes, their favorite cereals, swimming equipment, paper towels, and whatever else are ready to go.
We pack days ahead of time, just to remove worry, and to make sure that everyone has time to remember those little things that so often get forgotten.
Last-minute packing would be a problem. It would cause panic and worry, and that’s just not necessary. Traveling is hard enough without adding to it.
We also go to pretty much the same places every year.
This way, they both know what they’re getting into. They know ahead of time that they’re comfortable with the living arrangements – plenty of bathrooms, the ceilings aren’t too low, no smoking room mix-ups – and not walking into an unknown situation.
Okay, I realize this may sound like we’re a little crazy.
Well, everyone’s a little crazy, don’t you think? Some of us are claustrophobic, others can’t stand heights, some people have issues with motorcycles or cars (I personally hate to drive), and so on. We all have issues.
Facing the sometimes debilitating fear of change by hitting it head on with preparation and comfort can defuse a screamingly horrible panicky time into only a slightly tense moment.
Note: For a great post on traveling from the Asperger point of view, check out the very comprehensive 6 Tips For Autistic Travellers from Counting Time.
For those of you traveling over the holidays, have a safe and wonderful trip.