Autism and the Travel Industry

Seven Nasty Surprises That Can Ruin your Hotel Stay


Seven Nasty Surprises That Can Ruin your Hotel Stay pin

When families travel on vacation, they usually try to get away from the usual stressors of the daily grind. So the last thing that guests want is to feel more stressed when they return home than when they left.
In reality, travelers to unfamiliar spots can experience many things that can go wrong during their stay.

At a hotel, which technically is supposed to be a home away from home, patrons might encounter many issues that can ruin the guest’s stay and make for a miserable experience.
Many not-so-pleasant surprises can happen when families at any resort, hotel, inn, motel, or a bed and breakfast setting. Some surprises might interrupt a patron’s nights sleep. Other surprises might cause an unplanned visit to an urgent care center in the destination.
Knowing what to avoid or look for can help prevent or minimize these misfortunes and ensure a better outcome and build that relationship of trust between patrons and the property.

Seven Nasty Surprises That Can Ruin your Hotel Stay lobby


Watch out for Construction

Properties have private construction, upgrades, renovations, or refurbishments on a continuous basis. The environment can be unpleasant, dusty, and even dangerous to those with allergies, asthma or breathing problems. In some cases, some cities are zoned for night construction that can keep you up all night.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Guests should call the property, the city’s chamber of commerce, or tourism department ahead of time. Guests can also inquire about any planned work when making a reservation.
  • Parents should always pack earplugs to help their noise sensitive family member sleep through the night.Seven Nasty Surprises That Can Ruin your Hotel Stay bed

Closure of Facilities

Sometimes spas, pools, and other amenities can be temporarily closed. These sudden changes can be potentially very upsetting for kids with autism who may expect to be able to do certain activities after traveling.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should verify whether these facilities are open or under renovations and the hours of operation. Verifying should help minimize their kid’s potential meltdowns or disappointments.Seven Nasty Surprises That Can Ruin your Hotel Stay stairs

Outside Noises

There’s nothing like traveling a long day, arriving at the hotel to get a good night’s sleep and being continuously disturbed by noise from a festival or event going on outside. There’s also nothing like being kept up by the sounds of neighbors or of heavy equipment through the hotel’s thin walls. These noises can be especially concerning for parents of kids with autism who have noise sensitivities.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Before booking a property when traveling with special needs children, parents should either Google events in the nearby vicinity of the venue or ask the front desk staff if there will be any event taking place during the stay.
  • Parents could ask whether the property has dual pane windows or can supply the family with a room facing away from celebrations or busy streets.
  • Families traveling with a noise sensitive family member need to ask for accommodations before even making the reservation. Asking for a room away from noisy public areas such as elevators, pools, conference rooms, the executive lounge, and restaurants is strongly recommended.
  • Parents should request a room at the end of the corridor to lessen the chances of noisy neighbors.
  • As a last resort, packing earplugs always helps.
    Seven Nasty Surprises That Can Ruin your Hotel Stay Airconditioning

Air Conditioning

Older hotels, especially overseas, with no adequate air conditioning during the hot summer months can present a challenge to a family traveling with autism. Especially in certain climates, staying in a hotel without heat or air conditioning can be disastrous.

However, there are also hotels that might not be suitable for families with autism for a secondary reason. The hotel may provide room air conditioning units. These units are usually noisy and, in many cases, blow straight onto the nearest bed.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Guests need to call ahead of time to ask if climate control amenities are offered.
    Seven Nasty Surprises That Can Ruin your Hotel Stay coffee


Overbooking on the part of the hotel can become a disaster if the hotel staff decides to send a family somewhere else to stay at a last minute notice. These changes are especially daunting for parents who have prepared their kid with autism for the stay. This scenario might happen in cases when the hotel is overbooked, and the staff is not made aware of guest arriving late. The last thing anyone wants after driving 500 miles, is to have to ‘hotel hop’ late at night.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Travelers should always alert the staff if they plan to check in at odd hours.Seven Nasty Surprises That Can Ruin your Hotel Stay safe

Dealing with Hotel Staff

Sadly enough, housekeeping can be, on rare occasions, not trustworthy. The best way to prevent any items from being ruined or stolen is to lock them in the room safe before leaving.

Another issue that patrons might encounter in hotels is the fact that, on very rare occasions, some unscrupulous people might enter the room in the disguise of staff.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Teach your kids every morning to take their valuables and put them in the safe.
  • If your child with autism stays alone in the room, tell them to confirm the identity of anyone knocking on the door with the front desk before opening the door.

Seven Nasty Surprises That Can Ruin your Hotel Stay sink


Allergies such as pet dander, feather bedding, cigarette smoke, or bed bugs can be issues for many segments of the population. Travelers who suffer from known allergens should share this information with hotel management and staff during reservation to prevent misunderstandings.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Some hotels have complimentary air purifiers for those who request it.
  • If possible, patrons should ask for hypoallergenic rooms.
    Seven Nasty Surprises That Can Ruin your Hotel Stay room

Have you experienced any other  ‘nasty surprises’ or those described? If you have, we would love to hear your thoughts!

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Margalit Sturm Francus
A reformed dentist who gave up pulling teeth to show her son the world! Need tips on how to #travel with #autism? Follow me on Instagram & Facebook
Margalit Sturm Francus

Margalit Sturm Francus

A reformed dentist who gave up pulling teeth to show her son the world! Need tips on how to #travel with #autism? Follow me on Instagram & Facebook

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