group of autistic adults
11 Jul

Travel Made Possible

Travengers AU - Supported Youth Travel are creating sensory friendly and supported travel experiences for young autistic adults (15-35’s).

Many young autistic adults feel as if they don’t have the same opportunities as everyone else. Some may struggle with working out the social rules in a world shaped to fit neurotypicals, some struggle with getting a meaningful job and some with building independence - and sometimes parents struggle with letting go as well.

Not getting the right support, challenges with executive functioning, anxiety, or being repeatedly misunderstood are hurdles for many, including when it comes to travel.

But the world is a beautiful place, and it should be open for everyone to see and experience. Many autistic people want to experience the joys of travelling too.

Agnes Abelsen was inspired to start Travengers AU - Supported Youth Travel. Over the years she had seen her younger sister, Elise, being misunderstood, and how she was missing out on opportunities and experiences that she could see others her age were doing. Agnes was originally a Learning Disability Nurse in Norway, and after working 11 years in the industry, travelling and moving to Australia, she realised this was a global problem.

Travengers is a travel service for young adults who are autistic or neurodivergent, often falling between the mainstream and other disability groups. It exists so that young people can meet like-minded people and travel with Support Guides, while learning new skills to travel.

And the benefits from travelling can be endless for those who embark on it.

“Some of the trips we’ve been on so far have been Byron Bay, Great Ocean Road, local beach trips, and even Perth. We’re now looking forward to Whitsundays, Cairns, skiing, Adelaide and Kangaroo Island and more.

It’s been awesome to see the connections formed, as well as the joy of experiencing things without having family around. It’s been a lot of fun. It also seems to be positive for the families, who get a much needed break.

We continue to listen to the autistic community to understand the challenges, and to breakdown barriers when it comes to travelling. Barriers can include not knowing what to expect, worrying about change or things that can go wrong, noisy environments, not knowing who they will be travelling with, and more.

To reduce the barriers we’re using a platform where travellers can see who’s going, have a visual itinerary downloaded on their phone, get as much information and detail about menus and venues etc. in advance. They can also meet online beforehand through the VirtualTravel Group, and get a detailed packing list to practice packing independently.

We’re proud to say we’ve completed 17 trips and over 90 social events, connecting young people, despite covid. Many of the young adults come regularly and gradually build confidence and social connections.

We’ve also done over 90 Virtual Travel Groups, a weekly group where we learn about destinations over Zoom, while staying social online.”

Travengers speak with tourism providers amongst other industries about how organisations can be more autism friendly. Agnes is invited to speak at conferences to address the issue, and is speaking at the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Conference in May”.

“Our mission at Travengers, is to make tourism more autism friendly in Australia, including raising awareness and acceptance through our travels".

Travengers is located in Sydney, organising travel within NSW and throughout Australia.

Visit the Travengers website to read more about their upcoming social events and trips:

Offers for the Autism Awareness Australia community

With many thanks, our readers can get the following offers from Travengers!

  • 50% off your first social event or virtual group, or
  • 5% off your first trip if you book before 15th August 2022
  • Free Virtual Travel Group session, which is on every Wednesday ay 7pm
  • You can get all this by adding AAA22 to the message when you register

You might be interested in