We have found that a simple, intentional conversation can create shared language and goals, which ultimately establishes unity and blessing on our travels.
Summer is just around the corner and that means it’s time to start planning vacations with our loved ones. I have come to realize that the more time we invest in preparing for these trips, the smoother they are. Our focus is often on planning the logistics – where and when we will go, what we will eat, and what we need to pack. Those things are all very important, but I wonder what would happen if we took some time to plan on a deeper level – to talk with our spouse about the culture and atmosphere we want to establish on these trips. In our marriage, we have found that a simple, intentional conversation can create shared language and goals, which ultimately establishes unity and blessing on our travels. Here are some tips to consider when planning a trip that will truly refresh you and your loved ones:
1. Create a shared goal for the trip.
Our ultimate goal for any trip is that our family would feel connected. It is also important to check in with each other and listen to what your spouse hopes to get out of your family trip. You might hear words like, “rest” or “adventure”. Let those words be the driving force behind your chosen destination and the activities you engage in.
2. Plan anchor points.
I recommend planning at least one “anchor point” each day of your trip. This is simply a consistent, dedicated time you spend as a family. It might be a shared dinner and games each night or family devotional and breakfast each morning. Having one or two anchor points creates a daily rhythm and ensures that you are creating precious connections.
3. Remember to leave margin.
Have you ever heard the saying, “I need a vacation from my vacation”? can be tempting to overbook ourselves with lots of events and activities because we want to get the most out of our trip. However, I would encourage you to leave margin in your schedule to allow for rest and flexibility. I like to start by planning one activity each day, outside of our anchor point, and leaving the rest of the day to unfold naturally.
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4. Establish screen time boundaries.
I am going to say it again: vacations are about deepening your connection to your spouse and family in a fun, restful environment. Don’t let your phone or device become an obstacle to this goal. Talk with your spouse about what boundaries you want to put in place with screentime. A simple example of this is no phones during our anchor points or at mealtimes.
5. Create a simple meal plan.
After a couple of trips, I started to realize that so much of my mental energy was focused on what we would eat, where we would eat, and the logistics of getting a reservation. I did not want meal planning to steal the rest from my vacation, so I created a simple meal plan: make ahead & freeze breakfasts, sandwiches for lunch, and dinner out somewhere local. If you are planning to fly, you can always do a grocery pick up and tailor to your family’s needs. The heart behind it is to minimize mental load and dishes, so you can relax and be present with your loved ones!
6. Pray and obey.
Did you know God actually cares about where you vacation? Together with your spouse, take inventory of your family’s desires and interests and invite God into the decision-making process of where you will go. Get a vision for your trip. Fill your journal with prayers, prophetic promises, and scriptures over your trip. These are memories that will remain in your heart for years to come.