Now that school is out, the kids are home and the sun is hot, it’s time to look at your upcoming vacation. Have you ever come home from a vacation exhausted? It makes you wonder why you left in the first place.
Vacations are, by nature, tiring—after all, the whole point of a vacation is to throw off your normal routine. That somewhat out-of-sorts feeling is par for the course. But you can minimize your exhaustion with a little planning. You can come home from a vacation without feeling like you need another vacation just to rest. Here are a few ways to keep the batteries charged while you’re on the run.
Plan Time to Sleep
With all the things you want to see and do on vacation, it’s easy to postpone bedtime. But before long, your schedule will catch up with you. The first signs of fatigue you’ll notice will likely be in your spouse or children. They’ll be crabby and irritable, and might start to get on your nerves a little more than usual. In fact, you’ll likely be the only sensible one of the bunch (at least from your point of view). That’s the perfect recipe for a miserable vacation. Don’t leave your planner at home when you get away. Instead, use it to plan what you want to do and to make sure you’re done in time for some decent shuteye.
Travel activities and snacks
If you have a distance to travel, you’re sure to find yourself and your children hungry and even bored along the way. Don’t forget to pack your vehicle or a travel bag with games and snacks to keep the hunger away and to keep the boredom bug from biting. A simple container or two in your vehicle filled with food and games can make a world of difference.
No matter where you go on vacation, whether it’s a big city or a small lake in the mountains, you’re most likely going to find more things to do than you have time for. You’ll be better off if you prioritize. Decide which few activities or sights are the most important things for you to do or see each day, and give yourself plenty of time between activities to rest and soak in your surroundings. Remember to plan for down time. After all, isn’t that what your vacation is all about?
Prepare for the Hectic Moments
Remember, all of that running around is going to shift your focus. Some of the things you do naturally like preparing meals, changing diapers, and drinking enough water may fall by the wayside. Keeping the little things in mind will help maintain some sense of order on your trip. However, recognizing that things aren’t always going to be perfect will help you stay calm.
Also, remember that even though you have your itinerary in mind, your kids are living constantly in the moment. They’re going to want to stop, look around, and play at the very moment you think you need to bolt to the next thing. Plan on it. The best way to counter this is to remind your kids what’s coming up next, so they can be excited with you.
Vacation Diaper Duty
If you have young children in diapers, chances are, they’ll be leaking at the most inopportune times because you completely forgot that small detail. Change the diaper often to avoid that hassle. You may also consider buying the more absorbent diapers. They’ll keep baby drier even if you forget, and they’ll help avoid the diaper rash that could put a damper on your trip. Bring along a separate trash bag just for diapers in case you have to change one when there’s no place to dispose of them. Double line your trash bag to keep the odor down until you can find a wastebasket.
Bug Spray and Sun Block
Nothing can ruin a trip faster than bug bites and sunburns. Keep bug spray and sun block with you wherever you go—in your car, in your backpack, in your tote. Your goal is to enjoy nature and the beauty around you, not to curse it.
Your Photographic Memory
Most of us don’t have photographic memories, but you can take one with you. Don’t forget your camera or the essentials to keep it working during your vacation. If you remember the basics, your photos will help you enjoy your trip for years to come.
• Film (Does anyone use that anymore?)
• Battery charger and extra batteries
• Plenty of memory cards
• And a comfortable, protective way to carry it all
Digital cameras allow you to take loads of photos and only keep your favorites, so take a lot. But be sure that you don’t delete photos that are one-of-a-kind.
Your Church and Worship One thing we often overlook when planning our vacation is our church and worship. Many of you will vacation from your church this year, and you deserve the vacation. But don’t forget your church will continue to meet even though you are out enjoying your new surroundings. So, if you teach or hold some other responsible office or job in your church don’t forget to plan to have it covered in your absence. Nothing hurts your church and can dampen your return like hearing your class was packed and no one there to teach it.
Also, remember the Lord does not take vacation from us. (THANK YOU LORD – we need your care, protection and love.) So when you are on vacation, why not plan to spend some time in worship. Meet some new brothers and sisters in Christ, see a different church, and enjoy the new setting of vacation worship. Who knows, while you are relaxed and enjoying your vacation might just be the right time for God to communicate something wonderful to you and your family.
These suggestions should help you have a more enjoyable family vacation filled with fun memories, but they’re just the beginning. If you have a particularly helpful hint you’d like to pass along, please send them our way.
Good luck and happy traveling.