Q. Can you plan the perfect family vacation?
A: Don't try.
You can plan details, but often the things that make a vacation great can't be planned. I recently asked my son to list his favorite trips and why. I wasn't surprised by the destinations, but many "whys" were off my radar. He loved Paris because "the drivers are crazy" and it's "cool" (no elaboration offered). He liked Italy because of the food (OK, that was on my radar). About Curacao, his favorite, he said, "Because I was old enough (12) to appreciate it." Who could plan to make that happen? He remembers where he saw his first moose (didn't plan that), and though he was too young at five to understand the last-minute Gettysburg tour we took, the double-decker tour bus became an indelible memory. He named ten wacky places we visited spur of the moment on driving vacations—none planned for. Bottom line: Planning is important, but staying flexible and open to the unplanned is even more so.
Do you have other advice about strategies for coping with the inevitable stresses of travel? What works for you? Are there any other websites you recommend for family-trip planning? Tell us in the comments section below or send us an email.
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