The Dwinells' tips for parents planning a trip abroad with children:
See what you want to see. The kids will catch your enthusiasm. If you show them what you think they should see, you may be bored and their response may not live up to your expectations, making you doubly unhappy.
See new things, even in old places. New sights keep everyone's interest high.
Travel light, but always bring a change of clothes. We brought four large suitcases and four flight bags. Thank God for the flight bags. After the first night, we packed them with toiletries and several days' clothing. Then we locked the suitcases in the trunk.
Rent a car. It gives you amazing freedom and flexibility. You can pop into urban areas, see the sights, and pop out again. You can change your itinerary. You don't have to pack tidily. You can carry food and water, make emergency stops. The children can read, play, or nap.
Don't bring a lot of toys. Kids will find things to amuse them abroad. Do bring something for the flight over: magic pen games, activity books, crayons. Don't bring electronic games. You can't use them in the air.
Museums are fine; go light on art galleries. Few kids under 12 are interested.
Be realistic about your night life. It won't swing, but you won't be trapped in your hotel room at 8 p.m. either. With the time change, the kids will be up until 10 or 11. A meal and a stroll make a good evening.
Don't buy junky souvenirs. They collect dust and are expensive. Postcards, T-shirts, coins, rocks, bottle caps, beverage cans, even toilet paper do fine.