Tips for Thriving During Your Family Vacation

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Episode Summary

Don’t miss the incredible impact your vacation can have on the lives of your kids. But it takes being purposeful about a few things that prevent selfishness from growing stronger during your trip. Get lots of practical tips so that you thrive on your vacation but more importantly your family grows stronger together.

Main Points In This Episode:

  1. Manage expectations 
  2. Work on sibling relationships 
  3. Make sure mom is supported
  4. Lead in resilience
  5. Put family needs ahead of agendas

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Full Transcript:

Welcome to Courageous Parenting Podcast, a weekly show with parents with biblical truth on raising confident Christian kids in an uncertain world.

Hi, I’m Angie from Courageous Mom, and I’m

Isaac from Resolute Man.

We’ve been married for 21 years and have seen the fruit from raising our eight kids biblically. Based on the raw truth found in the

Bible, we can no longer let the culture win the hearts of children. Too many children from Christian families are walking away from their faith by age 18. And it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. Join us as we start an important conversation about effective parenting in a fallen world. Hey, everyone, welcome to the podcast. Hey, guys. We are on vacation.

That’s right. We are currently in Lake Havasu, Arizona.

Yeah, it’s wonderful. It’s 100 degrees here. So how hot is that for you as been pregnant?

It feels like 110

Due in three weeks ago. So we’re doing a vacation episode here in our previous episode was How to Prepare Ahead of Time for Vacation, Your Family Ahead of Time to Thrive while on vacation. And this one is what to do during it. So they stand alone. But important stuff here.

So this week’s podcast is Tips to Thriving as a Family during your vacation.

Yeah, so good.

So, you know, as we are here on vacation and we’ve been reflecting, we came up with a few main points. So let’s just go over the agenda. Yeah, the first one is managing the expectations. So in the previous podcast, we talked about what kind of expectations are super necessary for every family to actually lay out what their kids before they go on vacation. And then there may be some unique ones to your family as well. There were for us this time because I’m pregnant and due very soon. Yeah, but when you’re on vacation, you have to manage those expectations. Not like you can just teach them. Yeah. Then, you know, they just continue. So we’ll talk about those and then we can talk about sibling relationships

And then we’re gonna talk about mom support and leading in resilience. And finally,

We will wrap it up with putting family needs ahead of agendas.

So a very important practical tips in here. We’re living it out now. We’ve gone, as you guys probably know, our biggest trip was a three month trip as a family, 34 states around America. And we’re working on the trip working full time to from coffeeshops on my laptop and so forth. But so, hey, we are so glad you’re part of this one million legacy movement. We always like to give the hats off to you. If you’ve been sharing on social media, giving us five star review on iTunes or elsewhere and written comments are always we’re super thankful for those. And if you’ve been through the parenting mentor program or the homeschool blueprint or the postpartum christian postpartum course or read redeeming childbirth, and you have shared about that, we thank you so much. You might have known we canceled our Facebook and Instagram ads during the election just just overwhelmed with the blatant censorship happening and didn’t want to contribute money towards those companies. So but that was part of how we made things work. And so you guys are helping us every time you share to keep this ministry vibrant because it’s what provides for our family since we are full-time.

So everybody is needed. And we just appreciate you guys joining with us in the one million Legacy’s movement. So let’s dive in. So as we’ve been talking about expectations, things happen on trips.

Oh, they do? Yeah. I think unexpected breakdowns, reservations canceled. You know, what you thought you were arriving to isn’t what you expected because their website was misleading.

Right. Or sometimes you run into rain or hail or unpredictable weather conditions while you’re driving or then then it changes what time you’re actually arriving to your actual event.

Absolutely. So lots of different things can happen. As you know, guys, we’re sitting in our RV park outside here, so there’s a little bit of noise. Sorry about that. But lots of things can change and you have to be managing those expectations as they happen. Otherwise you’re dealing with bad attitudes.

Right. So here’s here’s a scenario. Maybe you’ve gone through this before. Maybe you’ve been I don’t know if going on. I like a weekend trip to visit grandma and grandpa. And, you know, you have a baby, you have some middle kid, middle aged kids, you know, and the kids are super, super pumped to get to grandma and grandpa’s house. And they’re expecting to arrive at a certain time and that they’re going to make it on time for dinner and that there’s there’s all these different things that are going to be potentially happening in their mind. Right. And then all of a sudden, the baby needs to nurse and then the baby has to diaper changed and then maybe you get a flat tire. Now, that would be an extreme thing. Or maybe it just takes longer. Than you expected, because you’re driving more carefully in snow, right? Yeah, and then all of a sudden you miss dinner. You have to go through a drive through and you start noticing that your middle aged kids are kind of they’re kind of bummed, kind of down. And so those are the kinds of scenarios we’re talking about where you have to manage expectations you can give. It’s good to give kids a structure and a what to expect talk before you go on your trip. But you have to prepare them to understand that sometimes things don’t always work out the way we planned.

So you remember that talk we were talking about as a family before we left? Well, this is one of those moments where, you know, attitude is everything, where we need to be flexible. So you need to instill flexibility almost on a daily basis. And dads, you play a major role in instilling that flexibility. Your weight, your influence is so large. So I would encourage you to do that every chance you get, which is if you notice someone being inflexible, having a bad attitude about a change of plans or things not going their way or being able to do what they want to do when they want to do it, you pull them aside and go, hey, this puts undue pressure on your mom and our family. And remember, it’s stealing the joy from what we are doing and we need to take one. I just gave this talk yesterday. We are in a one step and one foot in front of the other mode right now. Mom is pregnant and everything depends on how she’s doing. You know, right now what we can do and what we’re not going to do and we’re going to be joyous because we have this beautiful brother coming and we want to protect him and mom. And so we have to do that. Right.

So another thing that is important to manage is financial expectations. So obviously, kids would want to do all the fun things. They would want to rent a pontoon boat and a speedboat and wave runners and and go to that amusement park and eat out every meal. And but, you know, it’s not realistic for families to be able to afford all of that. Right. And so, obviously, again, you’re going to give some expectations before you go on the trip. But sometimes there are some financial things that come up while you’re on a trip that were unexpected. Maybe you just completely overlooked even adding in gasoline. I know that that seems like a ridiculous thing to overlook. Most people aren’t going to do that. But I’m just using that as an example. Right? That’s kind of a big chunk. Yeah, big chunk. And then all of a sudden it’s like, oh, we can’t rent that boat or we can’t do that one activity.

And it might not even it could it be about affordability. It could be about simply being a good steward of our money. So a stewardship talk reminding them of storing God’s money well is important. There’s been times where something was so expensive, even though we could afford it, we decided not to and to change our plans delayed simply because it was not worth it. Yeah.

You know, there’s also the element of like teaching your kids to not have an entitlement attitude that comes along with vacation. No, we we’re all for fun. I don’t want this to be like a downer. But the reality is that sometimes in life, things happen. And instead of going into debt, I think a lot of parents struggle with this. Right, because they give their kids expectations or they make promises. You talked about don’t fall into not falling into the promise trap in the previous podcast. You’re not going to go into that. But sometimes parents get so excited that they will fall into that trap and then something happens. Let’s say a car breaks down or an RV slide doesn’t work. That’s happened to us in the past. Not on this trip, praise Lord. Yeah, but in the past, that was like a twelve hundred dollar fix to that cost. And we have to adjust and go, OK, what can we afford? Can we still be gone as long? You know, you you have to be flexible. And instead of protecting your kids from that and going into debt to continue doing the things that you promised, you need to raise your kids to understand how real life works.

Yeah, they need to understand the value of money and what things cost and pray three things with you. So we include them in every challenge and trial. And because remember, we’re on a mission trip wherever we go and we’re you know, we want to steward our money. Well, and you know what they need? We need a model for them, something they can replicate. If you want your kids to be able to vacation with their kids someday. And we need to model something that’s replicable.

And you definitely don’t want your kids to develop the habit of not talking to their kids and teaching their kids financial principles, as well as far as spending and saving and and taking vacations, which, you know, there’s an important aspect to that. One of one of our family models has always been work hard, play hard. And so we tend to do that. We tend to work hard all the time. Actually, we’re pretty productive family. Yeah. And that’s just something that we enjoy. We actually love it and. But we realize that it’s important to take time to rest, to recalibrate the family, to get away from distractions, have undivided time with family, and to teach them to model that intentionality of getting away from it all for a while with family also. And so vacations are great thing. It’s just you don’t want to be unknowingly setting your kids up for failure when their parents are when they’re adults or even setting them up for the failure of going into debt to keep up with the family. Right. So there’s that concept of keeping up with the Joneses. But I think sometimes, especially with younger couples, if they’re used to growing up and traveling a lot and then they feel this pressure to have to keep doing that, they might potentially go into debt trying to keep up with the family. And so it’s really important that you talk to your kids about not going into debt to do these things.

Now, remember, trips don’t have to cost a ton. And we’ve been on vacations where we had a tight budget and barely can afford anything extra. And it was a prayerful journey, let me tell you. And but God provided in lots of ways. And we’ve also been when we had extra and a pastor who I respect, one of the churches we went to a long time ago once gave a sermon about, of course, the importance of giving. It was about money, you know, to God and, you know, tithing and things like that. But it was also talking about how it’s important to have fun with your family. And we should set some money aside, if we can, to do that, make that a priority. And looking back on the experiences that we’ve been able to do with our kids that have to do with vacations. I would rather have spent money on those experiences than on things than even having to do with a bigger house or anything like that. I am so thankful we have those experiences as a family.

Yeah, for sure.

We’ve said this multiple times to you guys because honestly, I hope it inspires some of you to do that. But going out and doing road trips where you’re able to see some history and experience what we call living history. Right. Can be so so it it just impresses upon your children the reality that history is real. And in today’s world, where there is a massive push for this cancel culture, where they’re trying to erase history, they don’t want people to. I mean, it’s just ridiculous to me, actually, because don’t we want to learn from the mistakes made in the past and learn from the good things that they did and build upon those. And so I’m really thankful that we did do we’ve done many RV trips where we’ve been able to see living history, the things that our kids are reading, books coming to life that they actually know the real. Yeah, super. I think there’s an element of education that can go along with these trips to which is my point.

I want to take a moment and give you something for free if you haven’t got it already is the date night one. It is a beautiful document you can download that Will has some key questions on it for your date night. Just get in alignment about what’s most important for your family, no matter what time of year, it’s always important to recalibrate. You can get that by going to and subscribing to our mailing list. Also, you can get all of our show notes and everything, at And I also just want to share real quick about the Parenting Mentor program. So many families are being transformed by going through this. It’s the six week self-paced program with live engagement for us and even direct interaction. So if you want to join us, here’s a little bit more about it and you can find out more

Steve and I realized that we were getting too comfortable with the world’s vision of how to raise our children. What Angie and Isaac have done in creating this is literally phenomenal.

This program provided awesome scripture based teachings and just some really great practical applications.

This class has just really rocked my world. It has given me a vision for not just the different things that we might focus on as parents who are trying to raise our kids biblically like our kids are behaving or what we’re doing with discipline, but also the things of the heart. We now have a game plan to how we want to raise our children. We have so many answers to the questions that have been in our mind. It’s not just these hypothetical situations or it’s not just this. Here’s what I think you should do. It’s let me show you where in scripture this is. Do your legacy a favor and yourself a favor and just do it. One of the best things that we’ve done this year, one of the best investments we’ve made this year, and I could not recommend it more. We’re no longer fearing dark days

Ahead, but we’re so excited to raise the lights to be leaders for the next generation. So managing expectations also unity is important. So you’re going to manage that. But so being a team, being a family. Olders helping young girls and all those things, but at the same time, you have to manage some situations when your older kids want to do something only older kids can do. And younger kids can’t. And so just set those things up well ahead of time and make sure that the older kids know that they need to be proactive when we’re all together. And then sometimes there will be things they can do that are different. Like, for example, yesterday I went we’ve we had we rented a wave runner and the four older kids and I had fun doing that.

Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. And then they all rotated who was helping me with the little kids in the pool. So the kids still had fun. I was able to cool off in the pool, but obviously only a few people could be on the wave runner at a time. So they were taking turns and going back and forth, I

Should say, to our two oldest kids aren’t with us. So right now, for all of us that are with us, you get this

Number three, four or five and six. Yeah, yeah. So the next the next thing that I think is super, super important, that oftentimes gets overlooked is the concept of challenging sibling relationships that maybe seem to struggle sometimes. Yeah, we’ve talked about this in regards to like bedrooms and rooming together, but obviously that’s not necessarily going to happen when your kids are older, if they’re different genders, we keep our girls together and our boys are together. And but when you’re on vacations like this, you can team them up to do things together where, you know, they’re going to be encouraged to have to exercise teamwork. Yeah. In those relationships, it’s the same thing with chores. We do this with chores. Right? We’re all put to kids that maybe don’t seem to cooperate as well and they get to be on dish duty together.

So this is the opposite of normal parenting. Normal parenting is to do what’s easier for everybody involved and actually separate them, actually put them on other teams with people,

Send them to separate rooms,

Separate rooms, make sure they room not together. We actually make sure they do room together. We make sure they are

Unless they’re different genders. Yeah.

To a team on vacation and these kinds of things. So often what’s intuitive isn’t the most biblical thing to do or the most wise thing to do. Sometimes it’s the counterintuitive thing

That is the biblical thing to do. Yeah. And I mean, isn’t that true, though, that let’s just define what those two different methods are. One is avoiding. Yeah. And one is engaging. Yeah. And actually confronting the situation. Right. And so there is a need for more parents to actually engage in the relationships and the issues that are in relationships and deal with those things as early on as possible in the sibling relationships. Because you guys, it’s not like those issues are going to go away. You’re going to get bigger and bigger as the kids get older if they’re not dealt with, because a lot of times it’s character quality issues that are being pulled out of different kids. And you want to help them, right?

Yeah, too often on vacation, the selfishness at home you can see and then on vacation, you can see it even better and a lot of times more time to deal. And a lot of times the parents have the wrong mentality about their vacation, where they’re wanting to have less responsibility the more so they don’t handle it. So there is just exasperated selfishness on the vacation you get home, nobody’s rested and you wish it would have gone better. And so I would say have a different perspective. Listen to the podcast before this to get that. But super, super important. Now, next point is it is so important the person that often gets most wounded on a vacation. What I mean is what I mean by wounded is emotionally drained, fatigued, tired is the mom. And it just shouldn’t be that way. So, guys, we’ve got to be more proactive. We got to step up and we’ve got to back our wives and protect our wives from kids, you know, manipulating, draining her. Does she need some alone time to do laundry while on vacation or a long time to do something fun, even a little break and just

Need help

Doing what she helped? That’s what we were just doing together. Yeah. And so it’s just so important to be paying attention to what’s happening in the family and supporting your wife.

You know, it’s interesting you say it because that’s something that I feel like the first few times that we did more extended vacations, that was when it really hit me the hardest. I think everybody has a different capacity for that. And you you’re learning it right? Like moms, aren’t we learning what our capacity is, at what point we get overwhelmed or we need extra help and sometimes we can feel that mom guilt. Yeah. About even asking for help, especially on vacation if we feel like our kids have been helping a lot and we want to like, let them have some fun. I know that that’s something that I’ve personally, in my mind struggled with every time we’ve gone on a. But especially this time, I feel like we’ve been doing so many projects of the house with remodeling and things, and this was really something the kids were looking forward to. Yeah, to the point where me just having to say, hey, honey, I don’t know if I can do this next activity, for example. Yeah. I’m really tired or I need a nap and I maybe I need some help with the kids so that I can rest. And so then plans change and I, I struggle with being that person. So then I don’t at the sacrifice of myself, which I’m like I’m I’m basically just reenacting what every mom has experienced at some point in the life and some time. Sometimes women don’t describe that to their spouses. And so, guys, if you’re listening, ask your wife if she’s not expressed that she’s doing she’s done this. I think you’ll be surprised that every wife has done this at some point where they have sacrificed a physical need, emotional need or spiritual need for the sake of the family. But what it does is over time, sacrifice after sacrifice, after sacrifice, then eventually mom’s attitudes start slipping, too.

And they might not want to do certain things on vacation. They might not want to go on longer vacations. It might limit what your family actually does because she hasn’t put it into words. It doesn’t feel supported in a way that makes it doable in her mind because of unrealistic expectations on her.

So here’s a good example. Meals. Yeah, meals are a big deal, right? Especially the bigger your family. It’s like more work. Right. So there’s and it’s not just preparing the meal and it’s not just preparing the meal, cleaning up the meal. It’s going grocery shopping for all the supplies from the meal, unloading and loading and unloading and loading and then preparing the meal and serving the food and then cleaning it all up. It’s a large task. And when you do it, if you do that three times a day while on vacation, moms don’t always feel like it’s a vacation. Yeah. And and so I just want to encourage you guys, you know, beforehand to talk to your husband about this. And then during your vacation, you need to communicate how you’re feeling, how you’re doing, what you need, what you would like. Can I just say what you would like? OK, because you know what? I came prepared on this vacation with enough stuff to make breakfast almost every morning while we were in the RV, because we’re going to spend some of our time in a hotel. And I haven’t been able to do breakfast, but one day because I just haven’t been sleeping the same. And I’m really tired and I feel like I need to eat right away. And and so we’ve had to have a couple extra breakfasts out. And you know what? That was something that would not have happened if I didn’t communicate with Isaac, if he wasn’t sensitive enough to see the signs and just flat out ask me and make me feel good about saying, yeah, this is what

I need today. Yeah, let’s go out. I mean, there’s no hesitation for me, you know, and we just got to take care of we got to take care of each other. And the next point is lead in resilience. Resilience is such a good word, so important for today, so important in being a Christian. Paul was resilient. He led in resilience in the epistles. Right. Have joy in all circumstances. And so we are to lead and resilience. A vacation, a trip, a mission trip. That’s your vacation should be all about resilience because of our faith in God. God is in control and we are to model that. We want our kids to be resilient. The most important thing, one of the most important things in equipping our kids for uncertain world is that they are resilient. They can adapt to change with a joyful attitude. They can find a way to make something work. They can, you know, think with their minds and pray to ask God to be involved, to solve something with a positive attitude. Those things are so important.

You know what’s interesting about this concept of leading with resilience as you’re talking, I’m realizing some of the worst parenting advice I ever got. You guys ready for this boom, boom. Give me a drumroll, please. I get asked this question all the time, like, what’s the worst parenting mistake you made or worst parenting advice? Here it is. You ready? The worst parenting advice I ever got was do not go camping with your little kids. With kids, with babies and toddlers, yeah, worst parenting advice I ever got that I actually listened to. And so you guys, you guess what? Like we bought we rented are a few different RV’s before we bought ours and we bought ours in 2010. So we’ve had 11 years. And before that we rented for a couple of years. So we’ve been aven for about 13 years. Yeah, OK. And before that, though, you guys do your math. We’ve been married almost 22 years, so almost a decade. Our vacations were pile everybody into one or two vehicles and go to a hotel at the beach or it was and sometimes we had to get to hotel rooms or an Airbnb wasn’t a thing back then, but we would try to rent a house. And it was difficult. It was very difficult. And it wasn’t super, super enjoyable when we had to split up the family into two hotel rooms. And the reason why I’m bringing this up is because we could have gone camping. Yeah. And we actually just tried camping. We call RVN glamping. Just, you know, they are very different.

But a bucket list of Megan’s was to go camping here two years ago. Yeah, something like that. We had two or three years ago, I think two years ago we did our first camping trip

Borrowed stuff from Friends. That was the first time ever camping together.

I know. Isn’t that crazy? After I think we were married 20 years and we decided to take the kids camping. And it was in September right near our anniversary.

And it was super cold.

It was so super fun because we waited too long in the season. But it’s super fun. And we had we had a newborn and we had Solomon and he was only three. So we had a three year old and a newborn. And the reason why I’m bringing this up, you guys, is because we did it and we had a great time.

Yeah, we’re going to keep doing it.

And so I, I just want to encourage you. Resilience is also choosing to do things, leading your family to do things that might seem hard to other people. Don’t listen to other people. Yeah. You got to just try it for yourself and see if it’s too hard for yourself to see what your capacity is. And so be careful who you listen to. Yeah, because honestly, a lot of the advice that we have gotten over the years, we’ve had to vet out. And that was one of the things that we realized, you know what? So many people had been discouraging us to not take our little kids camping. And we always were having little kids, so we never went camping. You always have little kids. And I just want to say that doesn’t have to be that way. So funny that we didn’t go camping, but we did fly internationally with babies and toddlers we’re so the next point is put family needs ahead of the agenda when that’s needed. So dads, and moms, we need to be paying attention to what’s going on in the family. And this is a time to listen to your kids, too. How are we doing? Family meetings are super important while on vacation, not just while at home. How are we doing? What’s how are you guys feeling about things? What still things that you really desire to do. And our kids know that when we ask that they don’t think that they’re going to do them. We’re just brainstorming together and you can preframe that, make that super clear. So that can be really, really helpful and really important to put things above the agenda. What do you think about that ang?

You know, putting the family needs of a vision that requires communication. Yeah. And so you talked for a second about having family meetings while on the trips and continuing those, which can be really hard to do. Right. It can be really hard to find the time, especially when everybody’s so excited to get up and start the day. But you’re not going to know what the family needs are if you don’t take time to communicate. You’re just all about the agenda, which, you know, sometimes I’ll be honest, kids thrive in structure, especially certain personalities. If you can stick to that structure, OK, the ones that are the checks off the bucket list kind of personalities, they love knowing what to expect and what is expected happens when it’s supposed to happen. They are going to have the most joyous time ever. But and it is good to fulfill that for them as when you can. But you know what else is also good for those types of kids having to be stretched in flexibility and not have their joy dependent upon control over the situation and control over the schedule. And so sometimes you have to have a family meeting to find out what the needs are. And then you go, guys, I think we need to adjust how things are because of this need. This is very important. We do this for anybody else. And it’s it’s it’s going to be challenging for some of them, but it’s going to be so good for their character.

So good. And if you don’t want selfishness to reign during your vacation, then get in the Bible on a daily basis. Now, I will say for me, it’s even harder on. Vacation to get into the Bible with family in the small RV and things like that, but we need to do it. We need the spiritual we need to be bathed in the spiritual world, the God’s word. So it’s so important. So, hey, the next episode will be How to Return Into community, How to Return into Life. There would be an actual title of that and setting expectations as you re-enter, because if you don’t, it can be a real disaster week once you get home, people still having that vacation mindset. So tune into the next episode

And that episode. I just have to say, like that’s one of the reasons why I think a lot of moms have a hard time wanting to continue doing vacations in the future is because of the return home. So we’re going to dig into all of those potential issues that families can struggle with and how you can kind of set your family up for success in returning home.

Thanks for joining us! See you next time.

Hey, thanks for listening to this episode. For more resources, go to And For free online workshops, blog posts and best selling courses. Also, we wanted to quickly tell you about our six-week online parenting mentor program, Isaac and I created a powerful biblical curriculum. Here’s how it works. Each week we release a video with a downloadable parenting package to make it easy for you to incorporate those teachings directly into your parenting.

This is an incredible self-paced program where we cover everything from obedience training to overcoming mistakes most Christians are making. But more than that, it’s a supportive community. You’ll have access to our private online group Live Webcast and the courageous parenting text message line where Angie and I can send you weekly encouragement straight to your phone

If you’re interested in joining our next online parenting mentor program. Secure your spot now at

Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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