Annual Leave can be many things. It can be fun and exciting, and yet exhausting and expensive. It is a time for engaging with many friends and loved ones, yet it is often a time of pressure for missionary couples and their children. Here are 10 essential tips to make your annual leave a restful and successful one.
1. Plan Realistically
The bad news is you really can’t do everything in a one-month annual leave you could do in a two- or three-month furlough. But the good news is you will be back next year.
2. Take a Vacation First
A week or at least a few days of real vacation as a family, either on the way to your home country or immediately on arrival, provides the refreshment needed to enjoy the rest of the pressure cooker time.
3. Keep It Simple, Saints
Don’t overcrowd your schedule. Don’t plan to spend every night with a different relative or friend. Don’t expect to see everyone you know. Don’t plan too many long car trips.
4. Beg, Borrow, Lease, Rent (no, don’t steal!) a Car
Personal transportation gives your family more control of your lives and allows more efficient use of your limited time.
5. Set Up Headquarters Somewhere
Find a simple place to rent or “house sit” or otherwise borrow as a base of operations from which you can shop, collect, stuff, and pack-all in one place. Your family needs it and you get relief from living out of suitcases.
6. Let People Visit You
You don’t have to always be the one doing the visiting. With a home base somewhere, people can come to you. Or, call instead of visiting. Phone cards make it cheap and the phones really work!
7. Buy It When You See It
Waiting for the perfect sale may mean paying g a higher price under pressure just before you leave. Streamline and organize your shopping list before furlough then stick with it to limit the impulse of buying.
8. Cut the Begging
Give the kids an amount of money appropriate to their age to buy things they want or need. It’s an opportunity for older kids to learn money management by being responsible for buying their own clothes or other supplies.
9. Take Time With Your Family
Do fun things together as a family. Maintain, as much as possible, treasured family routines-bedtime stories, morning worships, Friday night bubble baths.
10. Make Happy Memories
Give your kids (and yourself) positive “homeland” experiences (as opposed to non-stop travel and non-stop shopping). This may include quality time with grandma and grandpa, junior camp, family reunions, family camping trips, etc.