Whether your idea of relaxation involves rock climbing or lounging by the pool, you can enjoy a stress-free trip (or at least minimize the hassles) with some basic planning:
- Involve your children. Whether you’re traveling with toddlers or teenagers, get them engaged in the preparations. Asking them what they want to see and do, and incorporating their wishes as much as possible, will lead to a smoother experience.
- Pick your time. Flight delays and crowded airplanes rarely improve the quality of your trip. When flying, your best bet is to travel Monday through Wednesday, early in the day. Fly direct if possible to cut the chances of your luggage getting lost (or having to drag your carry-ons from one end of the airport to the other).
- Pack some snacks. Kids and adults get cranky when they’re hungry. Carry along something healthy to eat: granola bars, raisins or other dried fruit, peanut butter crackers, and treats for when you or your kids need something special.
- Schedule some downtime. Don’t try to cram too many activities into the day. Rushing through one museum to get to the next one, and the one after that, will quickly grow exhausting. Allow some time to relax, watch TV, read, or take a leisurely stroll.
- Keep some routine. For small children specially, maintaining some elements of a regular routine will keep things running smoothly. Bedtimes, regular meals, and normal rules of behavior provide a comforting sense of structure.
- Be flexible. Expect delays, so they don’t stress you out. Break the schedule when something more interesting comes up. If you want to spend more time in a museum that intrigues you, do it. You may not have the chance again.