“Sorry! I haven’t got time for a vacation this year!”
“I might get replaced at work if I take some days off.”
“We just can’t afford to go anywhere right now uncertain financial times, you know.”
“A vacation? That would be a luxury we really don’t need.”
The vacation-skipping trend
Our society is leading the industrialized world in becoming a vacation-starved nation. Because of the tight economy, many are inclined to skip vacations as a general precaution.
Some are afraid to be seen as shirking their work duties, and some avoid even short vacations because they are severely stretched with too much to do. For others, vacations are just not a priority in their busy lives.
In our society a few workers even brag about not taking vacations. You might hear them proudly boasting of the many years they have worked without a single vacation, insinuating that congratulations are in order.
DO VACATIONS HAVE HEALTH BENEFITS?
Medical studies tell us that taking time away from work and busy routine is good preventive medicine, allowing the body to replenish and repair itself. Vacation time should encourage relaxation and offer opportunities for rejuvenation. Stress levels would lessen, decreasing the risk of stress-related illnesses such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, anxiety, premature aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and even early death. Taking a vacation is a serious health issue with potential for encouraging a happier, healthier, and more productive life.
But there’s more!
FAMILY FUN MEMORIES
You’ve heard it said, “The family that plays together, stays together.” Vacations, whether for a day, a weekend, or a couple of weeks, are great opportunities for bonding with loved ones and enjoying each other without the distractions of phones, busy children’s activities, work demands, and daily to-do lists. You’ll find time to talk, to interact on a different level, to get to know each other better—and just to have fun. As the years go by and children become adults (and this happens quite quickly), they will remember these special times with nostalgia and happiness.
If you are able to visit historical sites or other cultures and countries, excellent, unique opportunities will be available for both you and your children. Personally experiencing the wonders and differences found in places and people of the world can make a far greater impression than learning through school homework.
Vacations can involve international travel, such as mission trips or tourist visits to other countries. However, vacation plans need not be extensive and complicated. A break from routine can be as simple and fun as visiting the local zoo, going on a picnic, taking a weekend camping trip, participating in a hike, or browsing a local museum. Whether you stay close to home, pack the kids in the car for a road trip, or travel to an exotic location, the benefits are the same: memorable adventures and meaningful family fun.
EXPECT A FEW PROBLEMS
Realistically, you can expect a few negatives in any situation, and vacation travel is no exception. Planes get delayed, roads have detours, cars break down, travelers get sick, kids get cranky, the weather can become uncooperative, families can have too much of a good thing and get on each other’s nerves—just to name a few. However, most negative experiences can be remembered as adventures and will add to the flavor of the stories told and retold as years go by.
1. Meet as a family and plan together. Discuss dates, destinations, methods of travel, accommodations, activities, and food, as well as periods of relaxation.
2. Scheduling is paramount. Let your boss know as early as possible to avoid work difficulties for you or your company. If the children will be missing school because of vacation plans, discuss this with the teachers so arrangements can be made regarding their studies.
3. Make bookings as early as possible. Hotels and tourist locations can fill up quickly. Look for off-season specials to save money and avoid large crowds.
4. Find child-friendly activities and locations. Keep in mind the ages and interests of everyone in the family and plan activities accordingly.
5. Explore the Internet for ideas. Much information is available, including suggested family travel packages, destinations, tips on traveling with children, ideas for unique vacations, as well as suggestions for adding fun to any family vacation.
AN EXAMPLE WORTHY OF FOLLOWING
When the disciples returned from their very first missionary tour, they eagerly gathered about Jesus, anxious to tell Him all about their successes and failures. Can’t you just hear them? All talking at once, trying to get His attention? They had been working so hard while on their tour that they had even neglected food and rest. Jesus saw their weariness, their anxiousness, their discouragement, and their need for nutrition. He did not encourage them to tell Him all about their journey in front of the ever-present crowds. Instead, He urged them to come apart with Him to a quiet place to rest and be refreshed.
They retired near Bethsaida, on the edge of a lake in a beautiful, green, peaceful location. There, away from the multitudes and demands of duty, they would have opportunity to quietly converse with Jesus and He with them. This was not self-indulgent rest but rather an opportunity for the disciples to be physically and spiritually strengthened, to find comfort and joy in communion and instruction with their merciful, loving Lord. Their experience of rejuvenation and restoration can be ours too if we will but take time away as they did.
It is not good for us to always be under stress and strain, even if we are busily going about “our Father’s business.” The rabbis believed it was important to make a show of being constantly in a bustle of activity, as it would testify to how pious they were. Rather, a more positive and effective testimony would be a life lived in balance.
When we run ourselves down, becoming weary and over-stressed, our immune system is compromised. Our spirits are weakened, and we become Satan’s easy prey. Taking time for a break—a vacation—allows us to reconnect with our Lord, examine priorities, and deepen relationships with loved ones.
“Come apart and rest a while,” is His counsel. Heeding this invitation is truly in our best interest physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The Desire of Ages, E. G. White, Pacific Press Publishing Assoc., ch. 38.