special-services-tsaOn March 11th, we gathered together to discuss special needs travel. From tips and ideas for how to make the trip as hassle free as possible to ensuring that your hotel room is accessible to flying with a special needs kid, and what we wish hotels, airlines and destinations knew.

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO TRAVELING W/ SPECIAL NEEDS?
@M_thirtymommy Going through security. We always have a rough time with G’s equipment.
@blondefabulous Getting our med kits through bag checks. No one does the same searches. It gets frustrating!
@ConnieFoggles Planning so that everything you need is in place during transportation and arrival.
@LoveThatMax 30 ways to respect kids and adults with disabilities bit.ly/10jXs2m
WHAT DO YOU WISH TSA UNDERSTOOD ABOUT TRAVELERS W/ DISABILITIES?
@melinda74 That we need SPACE!!!
@blondefabulous We’re not all the same, so vague rules that don’t take into account individual needs can be useless & waste time.
@M_thirtymommy I’ve had a few professional agents but I had 1 ask me what my son did to himself for wearing braces.
@stephanienola I wish they were more patient and polite.
@TibsTravel TSA could use some schooling about oxygen concentrators. Not bombs. Should not dismantle. Read enclosed medical letters.
@LoveThatMax TSA hotline for travelers with disabilities is TSA Cares, toll free # is 1-855-787-2227. Great discussion!
WHAT DO YOU WISH HOTELS KNEW ABOUT SPECIAL NEEDS TRAVEL?
@CarmelLeeMooney Hopefully they know they can’t charge pet deposit/cleaning fee, ever…as a service dog is not a pet.
@blondefabulous A good fridge goes a long way for us. My kid’s meds need to stay cold. Bad fridge=Bad Vacay/Trip!
@chaotic_barb Hotels: My bathrooms don’t look like a hospital. I don’t expect your luxury rooms too either. It’s insulting & unnecessary,
@janettwokay That sometimes a lot of floorspace is needed in a hotel room. Wheelchairs & walkers need room to move.
@mimitravelz I’m amazed when I stay in a hotel w/o elevators! Doesn’t happen often but shouldn’t that be standard?
WHAT DO U WISH AIRLINES UNDERSTOOD ABOUT ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL?
@chaotic_barb Airlines: Aisle wheelchairs suck and are humilating. Put wheelchair users in front row whenever possible.
@ConnieFoggles If flying w/ a #specialneeds child, don’t miss these 8 tips from @ionMyAdventures: bit.ly/QjpdhD
@ConnieFoggles That mobility devices need to be treated w/ care. Don’t throw them in w/ luggage.
@ionmyadventures That if we board first EVERYBODY is happy, including the other passengers!
WHAT DO DESTINATIONS NEED TO DO TO ACCOMMODATE SPECIAL NEEDS TRAVELERS?
@chaotic_barb I wish destinations would bring disabled travelers of all types to test how things really are and give honest feedback.
@M_thirtymommy Check in with the family mid-stay to see if there is anything else that can be done to help.
@AccessSanDiego Accurate and plentiful info needed so we can make right choice.
@janettwokay Ensure there are rooms available for special needs travelers.
BEST ADVICE FOR A 1ST-TIME TRAVELER WITH DISABILITIES?

 @AccessSanDiego Take a deep breath when things don’t go as planned.

 @kimorlando Call ahead to prepare your destination for what you need as much as possible. Will reduce stress when you arrive

 @ionmyadventures Stay someplace nice – my first several trips we spent a lot of time in the room as my daughter got used to new environments.

 @stephanienola Reach out to people with disabilities who live there. They know the reality & give honest advice.

 @janettwokay Over-prepare for your trip. Cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s. Then take a deep breath & enjoy.

*Note: Comments are sometimes edited for spelling (the vs teh due to fast Twitter fingers!) and for abbreviation that our non-Twitter bretheren may not understand (DH vs dear husband). They are not edited for content as we feel it is valuable for everyone’s original thoughts to be heard.