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Tips for a Hotel Stay

A woman handing a guest her hotel keys.


For an Individual with Autism


Staying away from home can be a stressful situation for an individual with autism. The following tips may help reduce anxiety about staying in an unfamiliar place and make the experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Preparing for a Hotel Stay

  • View brochure and or visit the hotel online approximately two weeks before your expected stay. Many hotels will have a virtual tour available online. This can help the individual with autism get used to the new environment ahead of time.
  • Make a vacation plan. Highlight a map to show your travel route to the hotel and where the hotel is located. Talk about places you may stop along the way and the activities you may do at the hotel.
  • Create a social story or view a social story that may be available on the hotel website.


  • Pack a few favorite items like toys, books, or electronics, or bring framed photos to place around the room to make it feel more familiar.
  • If you are packing for someone with tactile sensitivities, consider bringing your own sheets, towels, or blankets.
  • If the individual is sensitive to hygiene products, bring your own bath products.
  • Always include a form of ID for the person.

Checking In

  • Checking-in can be a long process. To avoid problem behaviors, make sure to book your hotel room in advance to decrease the amount of time you spend checking in.

Hotel Room

  • Allow the individual to explore the room independently. Let them turn on the TV, open doors, smell towels, flush the toilet, jump or lie on the bed, etc.
  • Set rules on what can be touched in the room or how to handle items in the room.
  • Be aware of where the fire escape is in case of emergencies.
  • If person has issue with elevators, locate where the stairs are.

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This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.