For The Best Travel Experiences, Be Flexible
Vacations are supposed to be fun and relaxing, but all too often, they are sources of stress. For the best travel experiences, be prepared to give up a little control and be willing to improvise.
My fondest travel memories are from the cross-country drives my family sometimes makes to visit a relative or get to a special event. We've found that rigorously planning each mile of the trip and rushing to hit deadlines ("We have to be at Mr. Rushmore at 2:14, or else!") doesn't work. It's much better to allow, if possible, a lot of room for things to go wrong. Traffic jams, road construction, or unexpected events (for example, we found out a massive biker convention was filling South Dakota at the time we were traveling, and we had to drive two hundred extra miles to find a hotel!) can cost hours, and if your trip is planned down to the minute, it will all fall apart.
When my family and I set out on our last trip, we didn't know we'd be visiting a discount candy outlet where we could buy a five pound bag of gummi octopi (yum!), or that the Spam Museum would actually be fun and interesting. But it was those unexpected discoveries that made the trip memorable, and we wouldn't have been able to enjoy them if we'd planned everything down to the second.
This kind of flexibility is particularly needed when traveling with people with disabilities. An autistic child may become overwhelmed with sudden changes, and need extra time to adjust. Mobility issues can arise in unexpected ways and cause delays or changes. One of the issues people with disabilities face when traveling is the feeling that they're causing the rest of the family to miss things, or that they are ruining the schedule. Keeping things flexible by planning out only the most important stops can really help.
The best memories, I have found, come when you find an unexpected attraction and can take an hour or two to enjoy it, with everyone involved comfortable with taking that time.
Of course, being flexible doesn't mean having no plans at all! Contact us for information on how to create the kind of vacation that gives you the freedom to fully enjoy it.
From Parents, Travel Writers,