Being the kind of person who is always worried that something will go wrong, I find vacations that I plan very stressful. Since I am the planner, when inevitably some activity does not quite live up to its billing or is a total disaster, I feel it is my fault. In fact my kids always refer to these mishaps as “another one of mom’s good ideas.” Too crowded is often a good-vacation-experience killer. So here’s my advice – take your trips during the off-season. Want to go to Florida? Try April or November. Been longing to visit Italy? There’s nobody there in January and February. Interested in hiking in Zion National Park? I was there last week and there were blue skies and temperatures in the upper 50’s and low 60’s. The desert flowers were beginning to bloom. Being able to experience extraordinary places without thousands of other people is a real joy. Yes, sometimes it’s a little rainy, or cold, or hot. But I find that weather is a lot easier to put up with than too many tourists.

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