Delaware’s DART Releases New Mobile Website

October 23, 2012

The Delaware Transit Corporation (DART) has announced the release of it’s new mobile website, designed with smartphones in mind. Keep on top of all your Delaware public transportation needs right from your smartphone with this phone-friendly website. Access schedules, rider alerts, and more whenever you are on the go.

The mobile website includes the following informational links:

  • Rider Alerts – Know before you go if a particular stop is closed, and for how long.
  • Trip Planner – Use the DART Google Transit Planner to determine point-to-point transportation options.
  • Routes and Schedules – Find routes and schedules by County and by inter-county, then link to the full detail about a particular route.
  • DART News – Learn when a line or track might be shut down for construction, and other helpful DART news.
  • Contact DART – Need to speak with DART in person? Have easy and quick access to DART contact information.
  • Link to the Full Website – Don’t find what you need at the mobile site? Link back to the full website.

If you use the DART transportation system and have a smartphone, be sure to bookmark or add to your home screen, the DART mobile site for easier on-the-go access.

Using DART Trip Planner by Google Transit:

Powered by Google Transit, the DART Trip Planner helps you identify and map options for arriving at your next destination. Easily determine the path of that next DART trip whether at home or on the go. Access the DART Trip Planner through either the DART mobile website or through the full website.

Here’s step-by-step instructions on using the DART Google Transit Trip Planner:

1. Enter a start point. This could be your home, work, a local store, or wherever you are beginning your journey.

2. Enter a destination. Where do you want to go?

3. Enter the date and time you need the trip information for.

4. Enter a Plan By. Decide whether you want to search schedules by Departure or Arrival Time.

5. Click on Get Directions. A Google map will show path options to take you from your starting point to your final destination.

6. Click on the Bus icon. The Bus icon is located in the upper left screen of the Google map display. Note: Unless otherwise specified, Google Maps will initially display driving directions. You will need to change the display via the Bus icon to receive public transportation options.

You should now have a detailed step-by-step transportation plan, complete with maps as well as written instructions on how to get to the nearest bus stop, which bus to take, as well as whether or not connections are needed. The map also provides how long each step will take to complete.

That’s it. You are now ready to depart. It’s pretty easy to access detailed point-to-point bus line information with the DART Trip Planner.

To learn more about using DART transportation, check out DART’s Getting There Starts Here page.

Do you use the DART trip planning feature or other features of the DART transportation website? Do you plan to use the DART mobile website? Do you already use the mobile website? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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Traveling With A Medically Complex Child – Ten Tips for a Successful Vacation

August 16, 2012

All right! Trip planning completed (refer to the prior post, Traveling With a Medically Complex Child – Ten Trip Planning Ideas, for full details). Bags are packed. It’s time to hit the road. Here are ten ideas and suggestions from parents who have “been there” with their children. They share keys to their travel success with the goal to help everyone have a smooth, safe, and fun vacation.

Ten “During the Vacation” Ideas and Suggestions:

1. Keep Hydrated – Bring reusable water bottles for everyone. Use carabiner clips to attach bottles to carry-on items such as backpacks. If traveling by airplane, bring empty bottles. Once through security, then fill them up with water.

2. Engage Your Child – Give your child a camera or voice recorder to document their own version of the trip. Cameras are a great way to engage an otherwise disinterested, stressed, or fidgety child.

3. Introduce Yourself and Your Child – Establish who are the key people along your trip and introduce yourselves, and why you are looking for their assistance. These “meet and greets” at airport check-ins, hotels, amusement parks, or other places can make the difference between an okay time and a great time. This is also the time to have that Medical Travel File on hand. Some places to consider introducing yourselves include:

  • Airport check-ins and security check points. If they are aware of your situation, they can be a tremendous help in getting you through those long lines and comfortably into your seats.
  • Cruise ship check-in. Ask for an early embarkation time. At time of debarkation, again, ask to be moved to the front of the line to clear customs.
  • Your place of lodging. Upon arrival and check-in, take a moment to talk with hotel staff (often the concierge) to get the “lay of the land.” Introduce your child, explain your needs. If you need a refrigerator for medications, now is the time to ensure it is there.
  • Travel plans include an amusement park or other “long-lines” places? Check in at Guest Services, present your medical letters, and ask if there are special considerations they can provide to enhance your visit. Often times it will be a complimentary “fast pass” that enables you to “jump” the line.
  • Visiting a zoo or other place with live shows that require seating? Check in with Guest Services as you enter, and ask if there is special seating upfront.

4. Stop-n-Shop – Plan a quick trip to the local Walmart, Target, Walgreens, or other similar store to purchase items that you didn’t bring with you or items that can simplify the next few days. For example, if you will have medicinal components that need washing, pick up items to clean them. Other items to buy, not pack, include bottled water, snacks, oral supplements, and simple breakfast foods.

5. Have a “De-Stress” Plan – Plan special “let off steam” times. This can help your child feel physically and emotionally ready to take on the next phase of your travel plans. Several ideas include:

  • Playgrounds make for great places to unwind after a long day. If your child requires special access, Google accessible playgrounds for your final destination.
  • Local state parks are often free or low cost options for running and exploring. They often include playgrounds too!
  • Bookstores. Have a child who loves books? Check out the local Barnes & Noble or other large bookstore.

6. Connect With Familiar Places – Purchase postcards with your child and send send them to family and friends. A great way to “connect” with home and ease anxiety. Also a great way to fill an evening of downtime at the hotel.

7. Down Time Is Good – Plan at least one “down-day” preferably in the middle of your trip, to allow your child to re-energize and decompress. Travel can be tough on everyone, and especially so for a child with complex medical issues. Don’t schedule anything, and just let the day take you and the family where it may.

8. Prepare for Plan B – Consider having alternate plans on hand just in case one of your scheduled activities is cancelled or you find your child needs to slow down.

9. Eat “simply” – Fine dining and kids don’t always mix.

10. Be Consistent, Or Not – Anything required to keep your child healthy on the trip, such as medication routine, should remain consistent. However, consider “letting loose” on other things – this is a vacation after all! Allow a special treat, less healthy snacks, silly TV shows, or a late bedtime. Just clarify that these are “vacation only” special rules! Such things can help ease stress and make for a fun evening of “down-time” back at your room.

Most of all, be flexible. Even the best thought-out plans can go awry. Try to roll with it, as it will help reduce your child’s stress. If you have a big day planned, and you see your child melting before you have completed everything, end it and call it a day.

Do you have ideas and suggestions you would like to share? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Bon Voyage!

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Images from Disney.com


Traveling with A Medically Complex Child – Ten Trip Planning Ideas

August 14, 2012

Traveling with a medically complex child can be quite challenging, sometimes making family vacations a daunting task. However, a little extra planning can go a long way to enjoying a successful vacation.

Parents who  have “been there” share their tips for traveling with medically complex children. Part 1 focuses on trip planning ideas and suggestions to consider prior to departing on that long awaited vacation. To prepare you and your child for a happy, joyous vacation, here are ten ideas to help get you on the road and enjoying a well executed vacation.

Ten Trip Planning Ideas and Suggestions:

1. Discuss With Doctors – First and foremost, discuss your travel plans with your child’s primary doctor(s). Review diagnosis, medications, equipment, and other items your child might need while traveling. Also review nutritional supplements, extra water, special snacks, fidgets to hold for anxiety, or other items to assist your child and better ensure a happy and safe travel for everyone.

2. Research Travel Needs – What will you need to travel safely with your child? The internet, your child’s primary care doctors, and others who have traveled in situations such as yours can be very helpful resources.

3. Locate Key Medical Facilities – Where are the closest urgent care centers, hospitals and pharmacies at your travel destination? If your child needs very specialized care, determine which facility would be best equipped to handle a medical crisis. If you are traveling to a foreign country, review phrases you might need to know if you must seek medical care.

4. Develop a “Medical Travel File” – The goal is to have all key medical documents in one, easy-to-access, place. Documents might include the following:

  • A medical letter from your child’s primary doctor(s) detailing your child’s special medical needs.
  • A copy of of your child’s current medications, including dosages, from your pharmacy. If you use more than one pharmacy, or mail order, be sure to get these too.
  • A medical dosing schedule, including both prescription and OTC medications. This can also double as a packing aid to ensure you don’t leave any meds behind.
  • A list of key medical staff and pharmacies familiar with your child. If you use an online medical records access program, include the necessary access details.
  • A list of the nearest pharmacies, urgent care centers, and hospitals, complete with address and phone numbers, for your travel destination.

5. Make Copies of the Medical Travel File – Place copies in several locations, including your personal travel bag as well as other travel bags. Traveling with extra copies will come in handy if you misplace the primary copy.

6. Keep Key Items on Hand – Place medically necessary items that your child will need during travel in your personal bag – one that will be with you at all times. Also include any OTC medications and a small bottle of hand sanitizer. You might also consider putting the whole family’s OTC and prescription medications in this same bag.

7. Mask or no Mask? If you have a child with immunity issues, ask your child’s doctor if a mask is recommended for air or train travel.

8. Special Considerations Onsite? Determine if you will need anything special from your travel lodging. If you require items not necessarily included with your lodging (example- a refrigerator at a hotel), call ahead to make plans for those items to be made available.

9. Transition issues? Review trip plans with your child via the internet, brochures, picture books, maps. Check out travel guide books from your local library. Show her the hotel you will stay at, the activities you plan to do. If you are a member of AAA, ask for a AAA trip tixs and review it with your child. Involving your child with developing the itinerary can go a long way to easing travel anxiety.

10. Secure Optimal Seating Arrangements – If traveling by Airplane, call ahead to determine how to secure bulkhead seating. If it is an option, upgrade to business class for the extra leg room. If traveling by Train, review train configurations for the availability of booth-like seating and determine if you can reserve one in advance. These booths have two pairs of seats facing each other, and typically have more room and privacy.

Airline Travels – Special Note:

Traveling can be a stressful time for someone with a disability. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a new toll-free hotline, 855-787-2227, to provide information for passengers with disabilities and medical conditions and their families before they fly. The TSA recommends calling 72 hours in advance to learn what to expect at security checkpoints. They will also be able to coordinate your security screening ahead of time when they know about your disability. This is a great resource for families traveling with a child with a disability. Plan in advance, and know exactly what to expect at specific airports.Do you have any special travel planning ideas or suggestions you’d like to share? Please let us know in the Comments section below.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Traveling with A Medically Complex Child – Ten Tips for A Successful Vacation.

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Photos image from Travelocity.com
TSA image from TSA.com