We are planners. Unless we are visiting a destination we have been to or we plan to stay at an all-inclusive resort and decided to not venture outside, we try to find out as much information as we can beforehand and plan our itineraries completely before the trip. Part of this was necessary because we were traveling with young kids and would prefer to have as many things under our control as possible. But it is also largely due to our personalities in addition to the fact every one of these family vacations is a special treat for us, so we want to do everything in our power to make sure we get the very most of our our vacation time.
I mentioned we plan our travels extensively because we were traveling with young kids before. But now that our 2 kids are older it doesn’t mean we can just pick up our passports and go. We feel like we actually have to spend more time planning and choosing among activity options to make sure each trip goes smoothly. If I may say, older kids are more demanding than babies who you can just haul around. As long as you make sure babies are fed they are generally okay. On the other hand, older kids will let you know when they are bored or don’t like a certain part of your itinerary.
Our family has several favorite research and planning resources, some of them we go to every time regardless of where we travel to. Some of them will depend on the destination we are going.
These include Google Maps and Tripadvisor. Most of the planning tools we use are free, rarely do we need to pay or subscribe for any planning tools.