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After months of arranging (and rearranging) schedules, packing five suitcases and finding a pet sitter for Duke, your vacation is here. Phew… After all that you deserve a break. So skip the run-of-the-mill touristy spots and try something new this time. Below, five of our must-do activities, no matter the destination.

music stand on sidewalk
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Listen to Live Music

What would New Orleans be without jazz and blues? Or Rio de Janeiro without samba? After dinner, take a stroll through the streets and let your ears be your guide. For those of you who like to plan ahead, consider researching restaurants with regular acts or booking tickets to a small concert ahead of time.

Sponsored flowrider surf simulator
Royal Caribbean

Try Your Hand at Surfing

We know, we know. Surfing doesn’t exactly seem like a new concept, but hear us out. It’s actually great for teaching your kids skills like endurance, coordination and confidence. Plus, on Royal Caribbean’s all-new Symphony of the Seas cruise ship, you and your kiddos can surf right on the ship itself. The FlowRider surf simulator mimics real ocean waves, allowing you to surf or boogie board. With two simulators on board, you can even make a game of it and see who can stay up the longest. Our bet is on Mom. Make sure someone has a camera ready.

adult and child cooking together
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Take a Cooking Class

Whether you’re making ravioli from scratch or learning to pull taffy, making food together is a great bonding experience for the whole family. Plus, you can try the local cuisine in a whole new light. We also like to think of cooking as a miniature history lesson since food plays such an important role in the local culture. When you cook together as a family, you’re not only “preparing dinner” but also teaching your children basic life skills. They’ll walk away with more self-confidence and an overall awareness of what makes ingredients healthy.

flea market teacups
Mario Guti/Getty Images

Scour a Local Market

Do yourself a favor and skip the mall (you have one of those back home). Instead, look for flea markets or bazaars that host local vendors—that’s where you’ll find the coolest stuff for a fraction of what it would cost at a gift shop. Do research beforehand to see if there are specific days and times to hit the markets or ask the concierge at your hotel for the inside scoop.

family walking together
monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

Go On a Walking Tour

Rather than being stuck inside museums all day, get some fresh air (and fresh perspective) by opting for a walking tour. You can even tailor it to your family’s interests: Foodies might enjoy a circuit of must-try restaurants; movie buffs might want to see where certain blockbusters were filmed. Some guided tours even have access to places that are closed to the general public.

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