Helpful tips for travel training

By Luisa Bustos and Belinda Higgins, 19 July 2018 , Comments

Gaining skills and confidence to get yourself from A to B without relying on family or friends is one of the most empowering ways to build your independence.

But if you’re not accustomed to train or bus travel, catching public transport around your community can be daunting and confusing. What options are available? What is the schedule? Where is the station or bus stop? How much does it cost? Is it accessible?

These are all things that are good to know before you set off on a journey.

At Northcott, travel training is a popular skill customers of our Everyday Life Skills and Vocational Skills programs are keen to learn. We spoke to Belinda Higgins, Centre Based Coordinator at our Hornsby Office to get some tips on getting started with using public transport.

For people with disability

If you’re participating in travel training with your day program or one-on-one with a support worker, it’s good to remember the following things:

  • Always wear comfortable footwear and clothing for the trip.
  • Always bring a hat and drink.
  • If you’re in Sydney, make sure your Opal card is topped up before the trip. If you’re in another town or city, make sure you have a travel card or money to pay for your ticket.
  • Follow instructions from your support workers or the staff you are with to keep safe when out and about.
  • Check transport indicator boards and timetables to confirm your plans and check with the staff that this is correct.
  • If you’re out with your day program, stay with your group at all times. If you wish to see something or visit a particular location, discuss this with the support workers.
  • There are loads of travel apps that can help you keep track of timetables and know where you are during a journey. For example, ‘Tripgo’ is a free app offering door-to-door travel planning combining several modes of public transport. ‘TripViewLite’, for Sydney and Melbourne public transport, offers bus, train, tram, light rail and ferry timetables, live tracking and travel planners.

For support workers and carers

If you are looking to support a customer, friend or family member to learn new travel skills, the tips below are a good starting point:

  • Have a goal or purpose for the trip. Give the person you are supporting information or landmarks to find as part of the training task.
  • Support customers to plan the trips themselves to encourage decision-making and choosing locations of interest.
  • Encourage customers to research the trip beforehand using the Transport NSW website or transport apps, such as those mentioned above.
  • During the journey, take photos to use as visual resources for future trips and activities.
  • Try to travel on a budget by selecting community locations to visit with no fees.
  • If you are leading a group, encourage participants to communicate with their peers while on public transport.
  • Prepare a daily travel sheet so customers know what’s happening and have the locations written down in case they get separated from the group.

Related content:

Our Vocational Skills programs support young people to learn skills including travel training and interview techniques to prepare them to enter the workforce.

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