The family went to Hawaii. Two special needs adults, one neurotypical daughter and two parents. There was a lot of planning work and a lot of on-the-fly adjustment. We chose Honolulu/Waikiki because our Explorers are more comfortable with concrete than with nature. The trip was a success, in part because, by sheer luck, the atypical rainfall spared both golf outings with #1.
Luck aside — some things that worked well:
- Direct flight. A five hour mechanical delay (Delta) was stressful though.
- Single residence located in Waikiki with kitchen and good parking. We ate most meals there. Nearby groceries. Many things we could walk to.
- Fairy detailed advanced schedule that we then swapped around based on weather.
- Copious research.
- Explorers now independent enough they could stay in hotel room or go off on their own in many settings.
- Private tour (“Oahu Private Tours" <firstname.lastname@example.org>). We got lucky with our guide too; #1 is on his best behavior with young women.
- We rented a van (very expensive in Hawaii by the way).
- Good attractions for our Explorers: Zoo, Aquarium, Waikiki beach, Paradise Cove snorkeling (quiet, no Hanauma stress), Foster Botanical Gardens (tranquility), Diamondhead hike, “Edge” restaurant hotel table that was near beach so we could mix food and sand…
- English language generally worked, McDonalds and Subway ubiquitous.
It was a very big expense of course few families could afford it. We did it this one time because we could manage cost and the children are leaving school settings, entering work, moving out soon, etc.
It’s perhaps useful to know this can be done — and the general approach might work for others. It’s a long way from our 2010 family trip to a nordic ski resort and 2008 road vacations but I don’t think we’re quite ready for, say, a week in Korea.