Planning For A Historic Vacation Site

Before visiting a famous historical site, plan ahead so the family will get the most value from this special occasion.

One especially exciting type of vacation is to visit historic sites of wide renown. Homes of famous figures, monuments dedicated to courageous leaders, and battlefields of past civilizations can provide thought-provoking opportunities to revisit a history lesson and glean contemporary insight.

If your family plans to visit a historic site in the near future, here are some things you can do in advance to make the vacation especially enjoyable:

1. Brush up on your knowledge of the site. You may have studied it in school, but pick up another book or two from the library. There may be new findings or current research that will help you appreciate the place even more than before. You also can check history publications or magazines that may have indices that list citations for articles about your proposed vacation site.

2. Visit the Web site. Most famous places now host a Web site that is full of facts and information for potential or virtual guests. You can learn about the people who settled there, when it was founded, and various trades or special events that occurred over the years. You can also find out basic details like hours of operation, fees, and other information that can make your visit more comfortable or productive.

3. Check out related sites. You may have visited other locations that are similar to the proposed visit site. If so, pull out pamphlets or brochures you got at those places that may be able to tell you something about your next destination. For example, if you plan to visit a Civil War battlefield and have already been to several, review the information about your previous visits to keep tabs on the generals who planned and executed military battles at these locations.

4. Learn some of the language. If your visit will take you to another country where a different tongue is spoken, learn several expressions to use while there. The learning exercise will be good for your brain and build your confidence about communicating in the vacation area. Plus, you may be able to speak with locals about the historic site for information that cannot be found in guide books.

5. Watch for television or video specials on your destined site. Viewing the location on TV. can make it even more exciting to visit, especially for young children. Check the television schedule for documentaries or films based in the area you plan to visit. Watch these ahead of time to get an idea of what to expect and how to appreciate its many facets.

6. Talk with friends or family members who have been there. You might even want to look at their photographs and hear their accounts of this famous location. While you may not see things in the same way as they did, you'll get an overview of a tourist's reaction and be able to compare your own perceptions afterward.

Taking a vacation that includes stops at famous locations allows us to relive history and to share center stage in the textbooks with those who have gone before. Plan ahead of time to make the most of your adventurous opportunity.

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