Special Needs Travel Program For Adults – Courageous Travels Iowa

There are numerous different opportunities across the globe for individuals with disabilities to participate in fun and stimulating activities to keep them engaged, safe, and thriving. One of the things most people take for granted is the ability to go on vacation. Whether this is a small weekend trip out of town, or an overseas flight to your favorite European destination, we all enjoy getting out of our normal routine to see the world. For individuals with disabilities this is not easy to accomplish, due to the large amount of logistical aspects that go into planning and executing a proper vacation. If you consider the flights, car rentals, hotel access, food, and even mobility accommodations, traveling anywhere if you have Special Needs may seem hopeless. Luckily, Camp Courageous of Iowa, has a separate program through their framework called “Courageous Travels.” This program helps individuals with disabilities travel ALL across the world. We will touch on their program below. If you are unfamiliar with what Camp Courageous is, feel free to check out this article I wrote about them, below.

Therapeutic Recreation in Iowa – Camp Courageous

There are numerous different therapeutic recreation opportunities for individuals with special needs across the state of Iowa. Typically, these are put within the same company that serves the individual as an add-on to what they normally receive with their in-home services. Unfortunately, there is not too many other opportunities for individuals with special needs, and…

Courageous Travels Iowa

General Requirements

To be considered to go on a Courageous Travels trip, you need to fill out a traveler application form which goes over basic ADL needs, type of disability, any behaviors that comes with it, and many more little details. This is done to help Courageous Travels put the traveler in the appropriate type of trip and group based off of their unique circumstance. One of the biggest aspects of the trips is your age and behaviors. To be considered on the trip, you do need to be 18 years old. In addition to this, your behaviors need to be what I would call “reasonable.” Although behaviors are incredibly common among individuals with disabilities, Courageous Travels required all travelers to not have physically aggressive behaviors, uncontrollable screaming, disrespectful attitudes, in addition to having appropriate social skills and the ability to stay with the group during outings. Travelers that are new to the program may be asked to attend a day trip, multiple day trip, or potentially a week at camp, before going on longer outings. This is to ensure they would be able to meet the standards of the trip. Most of the trips are designed for individuals with 3:1 care, with a select few also giving the opportunity for individuals with 2:1 and 1:1 care the ability to travel.

Travel Opportunities

Where do you like going on vacation? I am betting that Courageous Travels has been there! Courageous Travels not only chaperones trips in the United States, but also goes overseas as well! At the time of writing the article, we are only slightly removed from the COVID-19 Pandemic, so there is still worries of overseas travel, and the status of these trips. Before that, going to London to see Big Ben, traveling on a Mediterranean Cruise, or even chilling on the beach in the Bahamas was a common place! If you don’t like exotic places, and are just looking to get away for the day, Courageous Travels has that opportunity for you. In addition to week long trips, they offer multi-day and single day experiences as well. These can range from spending a weekend in Chicago, Wisconsin Dells, or even attending a baseball game or dinner play. Personally, I have taken trips with camp to Disney World, Hannibal, Wisconsin Dells, Denver, and many other small day trips like dinner shows and State Fair runs. There is ALWAYS something new going on with Courageous Travels, so make sure to stay up to date as their trips fill up quickly!

What’s A Trip Like?

I wanted to highlight the general logistics of the trips, once someone is deemed acceptable to travel with camp. Most of the trips will travel with a large, comfortable, bus that camp owns and uses for the travel trips. The bus is comfortable, spacious, and has outlets for your phones, in addition to movie screens to watch films. Some of the trips, like the one a trip to Disney or overseas, will use a public plane to get to the destination. Sometimes a bus will be taken to the venue before flying. Before the trip starts, you will sign in your luggage to the director of the trip, along with any meds and money you brought. After that, you are good to go! On the trip, there will be time for a variety of activities in the given destination, likely time driving in the bus, and also down time to relax in the hotels at night. The sleeping arrangements are typically with two travelers and one Staff in each room. The Staff will get the pull out bed, while the campers will get a normal bed. Throughout the day, there will be time for medications to be taken at given intervals, in addition to multiple opportunities to rest. Travelers will only be expected to pay for souvenirs or any extra treats that they would like to buy for themselves on the trip. Every other expense, (room, three meals, transportation, activities) is covered with their initial investment.


One of the things I wanted to touch on is the volunteering aspect of the trip. About half of the Staff on these trips are volunteers that help assist with the running of the trip. The cool thing about volunteering with Courageous Travels is that you get the entire trip paid for, for helping. Just like the travelers, the only thing you pay for is souvenirs and extra food and snacks outside of meals. To become a volunteer you do need to do an interview (experience with individuals with disabilities is preferred.)

To find out more information about upcoming trips, how to volunteer, and any other questions, feel free to visit the Courageous Travel Website Here!

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