There are a lot of books, blogs, and articles about planning family travel. They detail how easy travel can be if it is all planned in advanced. The problem with this is that it takes all of the spontaneity out of travel. I’m not telling you to kick all planning to the curb. There is a time and a place for a step-by-step plan. You don’t want to wing a trip to Disney world. On the other hand, you do not need a plan to enjoy a random Saturday in your own neighborhood. It is good to have some things in place for emergencies but I promise you that you can leave your house unscripted with children and survive. You may even enjoy yourself!
We have had many adventures simply by leaving our house without a single plan. To go out on a completely spontaneous trip you will have to decide on two things. The first thing is how long your trip will last. Do you need to be home by bedtime or before work on Monday? The second thing is how are you leaving the house. Will you be walking, driving, or riding public transit to start your trip? That is it.
We typically drive because of where we live. When we get to the end of a road, stop sign, or a light we take turns deciding which way to go. We have stumbled upon some great parks, restaurants, and outings that have resulted in some amazing memories. The extreme planning that goes into most family travel is confining. Sometimes you just need a little spontaneity to really relax and enjoy your family time. Go have yourself a little adventure. Even if it’s a bust you end up with a great little story and some life experience. Going out on a whim gets easier the more you do it. Eventually you will know everything in and around your neighborhood. At that point you have to hop on the highway for a little distance (or you just move to a new area). When we first move to a new area we start at our front door. As time goes on we often get on the highway and drive to a nearby town or city before starting our random adventure. This is a great way to learn your surroundings and to find those little places that you would never see in any guide book.