How To Cope On Holiday When You Have Autism

Holidays- whether they be long, lazy days relaxing in the sun or exhilarating explorations of foreign lands, they are sure to be enjoyed- aren't they?

A holiday for some is a welcome break from normality and routine. For me a break from routine is akin to torture. I cannot fully explain to those who don't adhere to routine as strictly as I do how much it pains me to stray from my everyday habits. I need my daily rituals to survive and a holiday is just one long stream of exhaustion. Spontaneity is my arch nemesis and that makes holidaying, especially with other people, extremely difficult.

New Year in New York Autism How I Cope On Holiday Autistic and Pregnant  Support BlogI desperately want to enjoy an alfresco cocktail that isn't meticulously planned in advance and yes that spontaneous boat trip does sound adorable but I'm afraid I just cannot do it. There are times when I hate how I have to approach a holiday and the post holiday blues for me are a mixture of guilt at stopping others having fun, exhaustion from pushing myself too far and sadness that I am the way I am but I still keep going away. Why? because I want to see the world. I want to step outside my comfort zone and I want to embrace the opportunities I get given even if they do feel like they are slowly killing me. So how do I survive a holiday? Simple.

I take my routines with me.

Whilst it isn't always possible to take my exact routine with me I can usually take some resemblance of it, whether that is meal times, specific outfits, methods of doing things etc. Over the years I have developed my own routines for specific types of holiday. Beach holidays involve set meal times, activity times and sleep times. City breaks involves a grab and go breakfast, sight seeing and meal out and then hotel and snacks whilst relaxing in the hotel room. 

I plan events in advance and allocate time slots.

I love to research activities, sights to see and day trips to take when going away somewhere. Even if the activity can't be booked in advance and scheduled, I can mentally book it in my head and get myself mentally prepared for it.

I eat at my usual times, in restaurants that i've read about and I order from menus I've already seen online. Sounds fun doesn't it?

 I only travel with 'safe' people.

There are two types of people in my world. Safe people not only know I have autism but they also respect that I have autism. I've holidayed with people who know I have autism but have never bothered to understand how it effects me. Those holidays were full of tears and isolation. I don't do that anymore. I go away with people who respect my wishes. I'm not saying I need to be the centre of their holiday. Simply allowing me to go home whilst they continue to party is enough understanding and people who do so without saying 'you're boring' are the best.

Whilst it may not sound like the ideal holiday,  these methods have helped me to add some structure and predictability to an uncertain aspect of life and I am very grateful as it means I've been able to see the world. I've enjoyed girls holidays in Ibiza and I've stood in Central Park as a new year dawned. I'm lucky to have such amazing experiences and I'm lucky that I have the opportunity to travel with people who love and understand me and don't mind their holidays being meticulously planned.

How do you approach your holidays?

 Thanks For Reading 

Katrina Fox UK based parenting blogger. Writing about Coeliac / celiac disease, Aspergers Syndrome and Autism, Pregnancy, Parenting and both Childrens and Adults Books

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