Well put, kapper. Certainly when traveling with children, a large dose of "All You Can Know" is necessary in order to avoid difficult situations.
We are yet again traveling to the ever-enchanting land of Guatemala next month! Just the two of us. Don't know that it would be the best vacation choice for families. We haven't seen it all, that's for sure, but find Antigua and Lake Atitlan great places to experience the history and Mayan native culture. Might not hold much interest for the younger set, though--
I am not much on tour companies and doing stuff with large groups. OK, maybe a couple of other folks, but that's the limit for me.
So KNOW really is important there farther I venture from my home territories.
I have really benefited during the past several years through the use of the internet. I frequently search out a variety of reviews written by individuals, rather than organizations when I am planning a trip to a foreign country.
Much of the information is repetitive and just discarded, but I am able to find a real gem now and then and that can really make a difference.
I agree with Mountie, especially when traveling to more exotic places, i.e., a bit off the beaten path.
The sense of adventure, or the special feeling of experiencing something for the first time that perhaps everyone else hasn't experienced, is definitely diluted when joining a tour group or busload of strangers who probably have nothing in common with you and your travel ideals.
For me, "The More You Know" not only prepares you better for the experience, but also provides guideposts of interest that you may miss when traveling "With the Flow." However,allowing some time for "the Flow" isn't a bad idea, either.