Saturday, December 26, 2015

Best Way to Plan Your Vacation Itinerary - A Thanksgiving Story

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Inside of the Governor’s Mansion in Colonial Williamsburg

My family went to Colonial Williamsburg for Thanksgiving.  It was a great time to gather with my Mom and her Husband and my Aunt and Uncle.  We had 9 people from ages 11 to 72.

We spent a total of 7 days and 6 nights at a timeshare and we had way to much to do…below is a sample of the activities for 1 week Colonial Williamsburg…what an eye chart.  Events start at 8 am and end around 10:30 pm.  In addition to events, there is map with four quadrants of the town that includes about 40-50 houses, shops and restaurants.

These are different from the events and entering each shop is an adventure into the past with authentic tools for carving silver or walk through the 18th century legislative building with a knowledge host guiding you through the history of the chambers and talking about the famous people or important events that were part of the building’s past.

Williamsburg guide

How does one go about making decisions about this type of family adventure: Use a process that is collaborative and inclusive. In other articles I’ve introduced the concept I call Better Meeting Magic.

In the family vacation situation, you definitely need to be more relaxed about structure and rules and more lenient with time constraints, because you don’t want to spoil the vacation feeling.

I’ve done a similar exercise in past Thanksgiving vacations and you can read about that in my article, “How to Plan Your Family Vacation Using Post-It Notes (aka Sticky Notes).”  For this particular activity plan, I found a prominent wall to being our planning and put daily heading across the wall.  I always recommend using 8”x 6” post-it notes(tm).

Initial Wall 

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I began to post numerous stickies on the wall with places and events.
This wall was edited in the morning and evening as we dynamically changed our minds about what we wanted to see during our stay in Colonial Williamsburg.

As Stephen Covey recommends in the 3rd Habit of his excellent book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we put all of our Big Rock (important things) on the wall first.  You can see “T-Day Dinner” is clearly identified early in the process.  You got to have awesome food on Thanksgiving.

Wall After Day 2:

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As you can see, there a a number of items that have been checked off.  
You can also see there are also a few new items on the board.
SUN is now on the board.
The order of things is also shaping up as we became more familiar with the map of Colonial Williamsburg.

 We probably spent about 5 minutes each morning and evening updating things.

The Final Wall

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And the final board before on the day we left.  

This had most everything checked off and some new things we added.

A great success in terms of getting everything done that we wanted.  

Or at least most everything.

I encourage you to read through some of the articles on Better Meeting Magic for a deeper immersion on how to utilize good processes to make every collaborative and creative engagement better.

Tell me about your planning for vacation.  How did it go? What were the challenges?
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