It's important to plan out your vacation activities ahead of time to some extent, or you could end up disappointed. There is such a thing as over planning and lack of spontaneity, but this isn't what I'm talking about. You need to take certain things into consideration to help make sure everyone is able to enjoy as much as possible without getting over tired.
Let's take an imaginary trip to Disney World in Orlando, FL. Actually, we just took that trip for real last year. There is just SO MUCH to do there! It's an amazing place with so much to see and do, and we barely scratched the surface. But we had a great time and plan to go back someday.
We traveled with two adults and two children aged 1 and 3 at the time. We knew that we weren't going to go to a theme park all day every day on our 10 day trip!!! It would have led to a lot of cranky kids (and adults) and some unhappy memories. So I planned our vacation activities in advance, on a daily schedule. Really, it isn't that "un-fun" as it sounds.
First, I went to all the major Orlando theme parks and checked out each park and exactly what rides and activities they had for young children. Some parks are definitely better suited for young kids than others. I made a list of the top 3 places we wanted to go. I knew that we only realistically had six full days at our resort before we had to move on. My original plan was to alternate days at the parks and then schedule other restful activities on the off days, but we also had to coordinate with other family who were in town. So it didn't quite work out that way. However, we had planned ahead of time the park days, the relaxing days, the visit with the family time, and everything worked out great.
I also planned out our visits to the various parks. On days at the park, I had already determined what rides and attractions we had to see and what we could let slide if we didn't have time. I'm really glad I took the time to do this because we saw everything we really wanted to.
Another example of how I planned vacation activities was on our honeymoon. We had registered with a honeymoon registry and received lots of awesome activities and restaurant gift certificates in various parts of Hawaii that we visited. We only had a certain number of days on each of the two islands we visited. We had to fit every "gift" in somewhere or it wouldn't get used.
I made a spreadsheet of our vacation days, and as I called and made all our reservations I filled it in with the activity, its location, confirmation numbers, times, contact numbers, etc. If I hadn't done this, I know we would have missed out on some awesome meals or some wonderfully fun activities. But instead we had an incredible honeymoon totally filled with fun activities and great memories. Yes, I'm a planner and I can't help it. Some might think I went overboard, but I don't. Instead, my planning made sure we didn't miss a thing and we knew when we had time to just relax and listen to the ocean as well.
So, from my experience, planning ahead for your vacation activities definitely pays off in the long run. You will know what you want to do and see, you will know the hours of operation for these activities, you will know when you plan to be doing something and when you're just going to be relaxing. Definitely schedule in some time to JUST RELAX!!!