Whenever I plan a trip with my family- a weekend in Vermont, a ski trip or something more exotic like our upcoming Spring Break in Costa Rica, I make kid friendly research a part of the experience. Sure, showing up and sightseeing is fun. But, adding an extra element can boost the enrichment and empowerment factor to the family travel experience.
Obviously I research the trip and book the hotels and flights. But, the kids are responsible for culling the information which informs our daily activity itinerary. How? A few weeks before the trip, I create worksheets with specific questions (and, often links for my younger daughter) about the region. What is the history of this area? What will we eat that is different from what we eat at home? What type of wildlife will we see? What are some activities that you want to do? The process of doing the research and reporting back to me engages them in the trip and makes the recognition of said topics much more exciting. I also have my daughters in charge of weather. They must investigate what we should expect so that we can pack accordingly. If you have older children, they can be in charge of taking photos and organizing on Dropbox, downloading and punching in information on organizational apps like Tripit and Citymapper.
Once we arrive, the kids serve as mini tour guides (to a degree). Mom always hold ultimate veto power.