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While on a trip, every day is an adventure, full of new visuals, scents, food and facts. It is a lot to process so we build some “processing time” by having an open day. Initially I was worried that this open day idea would turn into a movie marathon day but surprisingly it didn't.
On our first trip (ages 6, 8 and 10) the kids decided to sleep late and then we went to Lego Land. They had a blast! A total disconnect from tourism while doing something familiar to them. Perfect way to recharge their energy and refocus their attention.
On our second trip we picked an out of the way town for our R&R day. That town was Chur, in the Swiss Alps. Instead of wanting to stay in and rent movies, by 9am they were ready to go play in a park we had seen on our arrival the night before. We also found a cable car to take us up the mountain where they ran around and had some ice cream. The entire day was spent outdoors, running and playing. Ironically, this is one of their favourite memories. So much so, that 3 years later we went back to Chur.
In London they have played hide and seek in St. James park and gone to the movies in Piccadilly. In Paris there is a playground behind Notre Dame we always visit. On another trip to Switzerland we held a “spa” day for the girls and a “chill” day for the boys.
It is amazing what an unstructured day can do for the family halfway through the trip. It revitalizes everyone, it slows things down a bit. Attitudes improve and minds clear. It allows for the long shower you have been missing (me), finally reading that chapter in a book (my husband), catching up with friends (Kids #1 #2 and #3) and very important to all of us, catching extra ZZZZ!
Traveling can be exhausting. There is nothing worse than finally getting to that museum/city/monument you have been waiting for and then having to pull, push and prod your kids through it because they are mentally and physically worn out. A tired child will loose interest really fast- and so will you.
A day of rest, half way through the trip is one of my better strategies for family travel. I am a strong believer in down time, especially for kids
Ice cream after a cable car trip up the mountain. Chur, Switzerland
Relaxing in St. James park, London, UK
An Open Day- The importance of R&R