Trying to See it All
You’ve been planning your family vacation to the last detail, you have eight days and four locations to visit. There are a lot of places to explore, museums, city attractions, hiking destinations, adventure courses, tours. So how do you plan your day so you can fit it all in especially with young kids in tow? Chances are you will not be able to do it all without one of the kids falling apart and having a melt-down in a museum that echoes like it’s a mausoleum and can be heard screaming throughout the entire building. It’s ok if you can’t see it all. Pick what you think will be most interesting and engaging for the kids and schedule your days around those activities. Kids typically will hit a wall at some point of the day, as will the parents. Schedule in some downtime to give your kids time to re-energize. Giving kids and parents alike an hour or two of rest mid-day does wonders for family vacations and keeps the meltdowns at bay.
Our Typical Travel Day
When the Five Family Adventurers travel, we keep in mind that at some point our kids will need a break; actually it’s the parents that need a break. Keeping this in mind, we typically arrange our day so that we do our visit or activity right after breakfast, break for a nice lunch, and head back to our hotel for a short rest. In the late afternoon we try to add an additional activity be it cultural like a museum or even just a stroll to a playground in a park or a hike through a guided path. During our visit to Madrid Spain, we would have a cultural activity in the morning and take a long lunch, siesta and spend afternoons in Retiro Park walking, feeding ducks, taking a boat ride on the lake and treating the kids to ice cream. They loved it and didn’t feel bogged down with rushing around to see everything. When we were in Paris many years ago we took an art class at the Pompidou, instead of trying to explore the entire museum. This has become our go to schedule and engagement when traveling. It has worked well for us and has kept the kids engaged and entertained.
Buy Your Tickets Ahead of Time
Most museums and attractions (royal palaces, zoos, aquariums etc…) will allow you to buy tickets before you visit. I highly recommend this so you don’t have to waste time waiting in line. Some locations even have scheduled times for your ticket purchase which is brilliant as you show with kids in tow, pop into your destination and hit the ground running. A lot of museums even have family friendly recommendations on their websites so you can plan your visit ahead of time. They may have scavenger hunts or specific games for kids based on specific exhibits or paintings. If the museum doesn’t, then pick a handful and paintings, sculptures or artifacts to visit, learn some facts about them and engage your kids on what they are seeing. Try not to overwhelm your kids on seeing everything in the museum as you will lose their attention and patience.
When traveling on a family vacation it is hard to pick and chose which activities to do and what to see. Keep in mind that seeing it all could spell disaster in the form of a tired child. It’s okay not to see it all. Just introducing children to new cultures, sights and locations is giving your child a chance to grow and learn.