Pack the car, it's vacation time!!
Parents. You've been planning for this since last year's tax return. (Or, for chronology's sake, you're planning how to spend this year's return.) But did you OVERTHINK the whole thing?
Let's face it. Movies like National Lampoon's Vacation and Uncle Buck gave us plenty to think about when it came to planning a decent time for all family members (dead grandmothers tied to the roof rack aside).
But did you over plan the whole thing?
Chances are, if you're the type to demand perfection, you did. Now me, I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of vacationer. Pack some clothes, head in a direction, and see what we see along the way to somewhere and take lots of pictures. I ended up staying a block off of Bourbon Street in the executive suite at a hotel during the Carnival season in New Orleans for $59 a night. (Was that enough clauses for you in one sentence, dear reader?) Yeah, $59 a night. And valet parking was included at that price. So let me tell you, when I fly by the seat of my pants, I tend to soar.
But anyway. YOUR trip. Have you planned out every meal, every activity, every waking moment (including allotted time for each family member in the shower each morning)? Chances are, if you have, the trip will be far more work than fun, and you'll return needing a vacation from your vacation.
Chances are also that each family member will want something different and remember something different out of the experience than you will. Someone probably doesn't want to be so strict with the itinerary that parades, rides, and meals are dictated down to the hour. And the younger the child, the less chance they recognize that time has any meaning anyway. What they'll remember is the smiles, the laughter, the break from routine and video games and cell phones and computers and primetime TV. And even if they're old enough to whine that they'd rather be hanging out with their friends, the reality is that they're gonna make memories that they'll cherish one day.
Relax, have fun. It's a vacation for crying out loud. Not a business meeting. Take a deep breath. Whether you're fishing for trout or visiting Cedar Point or taking a cruise, throw your watch in your suitcase and let the winds of change blow you where they will. You just may have more fun than you ever expected.