5 Disciplines of a Successful Vacation

Successful Vacation - AdobeStock_544547550What couple doesn’t at some point say, “We really NEED to take a vacation”? It may not be possible to take one at that point, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t cross our minds. And at this time of year, as we’re headed for summer, a lot more of us are entertaining the idea of taking one — sooner, rather than later. Even if it’s just a short one, it’s still something to consider. And of course, we want it to be a “successful vacation” so we don’t come back more tired and stressed than before we left. So, let’s go there in our thoughts. And then you can see where it goes from there.

Debi Walter, from TheRomanticVineyard.com gives us some good tips to consider so we can experience a successful vacation. But first she clarifies what this will involve. She uses the work “discipline” which can puzzle us until we understand why she would think that.

Disciplines of a Successful Vacation?

Debi writes:

Discipline and vacation may not be words you would normally think go together. However, if you’re going to include ‘success’ in this equation —it is a must.

Vacations are the ideal time for a family and/or couple to pull away for quality time together. The plans are made, the lodging booked, and the time requested off from work is approved. You’re all set, right? Wrong. If this is all you do to prepare for a great vacation, you will most likely end up quoting:

‘No man needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one.’
(Elbert Hubbard) 

How can one make the most of time away, without wasting it, or ruining it altogether?

Here are our 5 Disciplines of a Successful Vacation:

• Discipline #1 – Talk about your expectations for your time away before you go away.

Are you planning to read an entire novel, alone on the beach? Are you looking forward to playing games together each night? Maybe you can’t wait to take in all the local art museums and attractions. As you can see, being on the same page as to what you would like to do makes a huge difference for each one in making the vacation successful.

This vacation for us was one where we both wanted the same thing —to do nothing together. Of course, these are the best kinds of vacations. That is because no matter what you do, you’re happy because you had no plans. You have no agenda you wanted to meet. When we took our kids on vacation, we would give them a choice of one thing they wanted to do and try to make it happen. It didn’t always work. But at least they knew we were making an attempt to bless them.

• Discipline #2 for a Successful Vacation – Know your financial limits.

Going on vacation with a credit card in hand may sound fun for the moment but returning to a pile of bills can take a serious toll on the memories you may have created. It’s important to take control of your wallet, so your wallet doesn’t hit you back when you get home. With a little research and discipline, make plans ahead of time for the things you know you can afford, so you’re not tempted to go overboard with your holiday spending. Be sure the entire family is aware of the set limits as well. You may want to rally everyone together ahead of time for a garage sale to make some extra spending money for the kids.

• Discipline #3 – Look out for the interests of others. 

Purpose to help your spouse and/or children have the vacation of their dreams. Make a list of their favorite things, like food, movies, games, hobbies, etc. and make time for them to do them. I remember one vacation when Tom made sure I enjoyed all my favorite things for an entire week. The best part? He didn’t tell me he was doing it —he let me figure it out all by myself, and he found great pleasure in watching me discover it, one delicious crab leg at a time.

• Discipline #4 for a Successful Vacation – Don’t be anxious, but instead pray.

All vacations have unexpected mishaps. If you know these things are going to happen, you can discipline yourself for a godly response. Case in point, this past week we arrived at our rental only to find it dirty, and not the picture of the beach condo we had seen in the pictures. It wasn’t acceptable to us. What did we do? We prayed first, then called and left a message for the owner of the condo.

Lastly, we went about looking for some place else to stay nearby. It took two hours out of our day at a McDonald’s (they have free WiFi) in a not very nice part of town. But by God’s grace we didn’t react. We trusted God, followed His lead and ended up with a sincere apology from the owner, a complete refund, and a beautiful time-share condo directly facing the ocean for the same price.

• Discipline #5 – Connect and Disconnect

In this day of social media and computer games it can seem impossible to disconnect from your growing network of family and friends. But this discipline is probably the most important one for a truly relaxing time away. Think about it… we push buttons and look at computer screens all day, every day. How sad to go away to a beautiful location only to keep your nose into a smart phone or laptop computer. It takes great discipline to push the ‘off’ button, but for every yes, we say to technology, we’re saying no to something or someone else. Discipline yourself to be there even if you aren’t doing anything in particular.

One of my favorite snapshots from our vacation last year was when I was fixing dinner while Tom sat on the front deck of our cabin in NC. He was doing nothing, but admiring the view, completely lost in the moment of peace and quiet. I will never forget it! Now, THAT was a successful vacation! And I work hard to help Tom find that place whenever we’re away.


Now, here’s a question for you:

What disciplines have you found necessary for a successful vacation?

Our answer (hoping you will give yours below too):

Oh, how we wish we would have had these tips before we took a majority of our vacations! We’ve experienced a LOT more stressful times while on vacation that could have been prevented if we had only planned better. We can remember a vacation trip to Washington D.C. that had its good parts to it; but it also had some pretty stressful times too. Most all of these could have been prevented if we had thought to plan AND pray.

But we know how to do this better now! And we hope these “disciplines” can help you too when you take your next vacation.

Here’s the discipline that has helped us to succeed in whatever we do whether we’re on vacation or not:

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.(Proverbs 16:3)

Hope this helps!

Cindy and Steve Wright


To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:

7 Essentials - Marriage book


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