Holiday travel can be wildly stressful. Actually, just thinking about it makes me start to sweat. However, over the past few years, there are a handful of ways to calm those nerves as we head into the Christmas season. Here’s a list of my five favorite tips to make the most of your holiday travels.
1. Connect in the moment, but take lots of pictures.
These actually combine two tips, but I think they go hand in hand. There is a fine balance between forgetting to take any pictures and never putting your phone down. My advice here is to read the moment! If your family seems to be doing something that might not happen again, i.e. enjoying the view of the mountain that was just climbed, ice skating with Grandma on Grandma’s lake, sledding for the first time, and so on, take a camera out and snap the picture! I will never camera shame because I’ve never heard of someone who regretted a picture taken with someone. So I say SNAP THE PICTURE, but don’t forget to be a part of the memory.
2. Limit your social media consumption.
I don’t know about you, but it’s easy to unwind after a long day with your face in a phone. And although mindlessly scrolling can be okay at times, vacation is the time when your family is finally all together! I suggest that you swap out the mindless scrolling for intentional time together—a planned outing to the movies, a family game night, a late night snack for ice cream. I think vacation is all about making memories, and it’s hard to do that when your face is in a phone. So unless you’re responding to an important email or snapping a picture, I would try and stay off of social media entirely for at least a night or two!
3. Be prepared, but don’t over schedule.
This one is also a balancing act. This definitely depends on how you are as a family, but I think a schedule or itinerary is a great thing to have. Nothing is more disappointing than going to a cool place and not having anything to do except sit around because you didn’t plan anything. On the flip side, vacations can be exhausting. So when your itinerary is full to the brim and packed with things to do every hour, it can add a lot stress on you and cause tension with your family. When you’re stressed, you’re not able to enjoy the things you have planned because more than likely you’re already thinking about the next thing. I suggest having 1-3 ideas to do during the day (obviously, make the reservations in advance that you must), and then leave the rest of the vacation schedule up to your family to decide as you go.
4. Pack in advance and clean your house beforehand.
While this has little to do with your actual trip, I think these things will help you before you leave and when you come home from vacation. I suggest packing in advance because you won’t be scrambling at the last minute to collect the things you forgot, and you can start off your vacation feeling at ease that you are completely ready to go. Also, when your house is clean you are likely way less stressed! My mom always taught me to at least make my bed and pick up around my house before vacation. I promise that nothing beats coming home after a long, stressful day of travel to a clean home!
5. Choose Joy!
This one is simple but I think it might be the hardest for some people to do during their vacation. In order to enjoy your vacation you have to let go and choose the joy we find in Christ. Inevitably, circumstances will not go according to plan, kids will cry, you’ll get lost, something will break, or you might forget something. Your job is to help bring joy to your family! So as hard as it might be, try and choose joy during every moment whether it’s wonderful, amazing, frustrating, or annoying. Help set the tone for your family. They may not remember exactly what you did, or what was said, but they will remember how experiences made them feel. Make the most of the hard work you put into planning your vacation, and choose joy no matter what!
Rachel Fox Frazier has the joy of serving full-time as the Middle School Girls Associate at Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. She loves spending her days helping students take their next right step in their relationship with Jesus. And she loves to spend her nights writing, planning, and dreaming about ways she can help others do the same!
Rachel is recent newlywed and adores her hilarious and Jesus-loving husband. She loves connecting with others of matcha lattes, serving overseas, and everything about student ministry.