Vacation Envy, Family Travel and FOMO


Does anyone else have FOMO – fear of missing out? Or vacation envy when you scroll through photos? I realize I’m like the LAST person to be writing about this because we travel a bunch (Ron works with an airline) and I’m currently sitting in the middle of my parent’s lake house. Hang with me…

Regardless of your family, your situation, your budget… I think we ALL have similar feelings when you see others doing great things. And maybe we all can relate to vacation envy?

Currently, I am obsessing over photos from Family Camp. I mean seriously – how cute is my bud Heather MacFayden (God Centered Mom) at Pine Cove?

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How cute my friend Lani and her family at Trail West? I am like pouting that we didn’t do family camp this year. Which is absurd, but true.

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I’m also having a small obsession over doing a great service trip with our kids – like Lighthouse Retreat or an overseas mission trip with Care For Aids.

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Y’all the envy, the FOMO and then dreaming with Ron about 2018 travel .. got me all fired up. So, here’s the pep talk I’m giving myself and any other mom suffering with vacation envy with a side of FOMO.

10 Ways To Rethink Travel and Family Time (when you’re green with envy):

START WITH GRATITUDE – I have to stop myself sometimes and give thanks for all the things we GET to do. These aren’t legit problems, right? What a gift that we even get to take ONE trip! Or have days off at all?

GET OFFLINE. I don’t think I would know about all these amazing places or have as much envy if I didn’t scroll through photos on Facebook and Instagram so much. So, Court – put the phone down and go enjoy your kiddos right in front of you in the very vacation you are on. And same challenge goes for my kids too. Has anyone else had a “great day” maybe in the sprinkler with a popsicle ?… and then you got online and saw your friend in a hot air balloon over the caribbean? And all of a sudden – your normal day is crap. And you hate your life. Power down. Phones down.

PLAN AHEAD. Most of the folks you see doing big things didn’t just go spontaneously. There was planning. Ron/I sit down with our calendars (it is PAINFUL) but we do it and decided for the year – where we want to go and when. And what will actually fit.


DECIDE ON PRIORITIES. The truth is that we all have limits – budget, vacation days, ages of kids, family challenges, etc. So, decide ahead of time for your family – what will be the “big things” or traditions every year or for that specific year? Most people in America cannot do all of this.. so which areas are most important to your family? Which ones are “every year” and which are “once in a lifetime?”

  • Overnight trip for you/husband for marriage sake?
  • Trip to see family?
  • Time with cousins out of town?
  • Time serving together?
  • Time exploring and seeing new parts of our country or world?
  • Time visiting old friends?
  • Visit back to your college or favorite family location?
  • An experience or tradition like camping or fishing – you want your kids to do each year?


GET CREATIVE. Ron and I try to get creative and make the most of weekends (again – we go a lot and can bc of our flight situation)… but we try to think of ways we can maximize time and see old friends. Not everything has to be a week off. It can be tacking on one day here ore there for a long weekend. What areas could you combine? Can you reunite with old friends while showing your kids your college? Could you serve together during part of your beach trip? Can you bring one child along on a work trip to see a new city? Can you trade homes with a friend for free time in another state?


MAKE A BUCKET LIST. There are some trips and things we do every year – and then some ideas we have are on a bucket list of trips or locations. How many spring breaks do you have with them? Where are the top places you’d dream to visit together? Who are the people we care most about – and want around our family most often?

BE OPEN & FLEXIBLE. I am a little bossy and an “arranger” if you know what I mean. Meaning… when everyone else in the fam is carefree – I am making the schedule and the plans and getting people to commit to time together. My problem is that I make it work best for my life and expect them to do what I say. I have learned lately to be flexible and open to the rest of the family. It is SO TRICKY with siblings and their spouses and their kids. They are trying to do a lot in limited time too – so be open and flexible while also sharing your wishes… which leads me to…

COMMUNICATE. I have learned the hard way that communicating up front is best. Especially as you merge families and try to please all the grandparents with the holidays. Start up front and just communicate. Consider other people’s ideas. Makes for less fights and hurt feelings.

GET REAL ON NEEDS. I tend to pitch these grand family vacation ideas to Ron – as if they are like air and water. On top of my fear of missing out on fun.. I also stew on things I think my kids MUST DO to turn out great.

The truth is … our kids are going to be alright if they don’t do camp or see Israel. Or if they don’t ever ski in their lives. Or see Europe. I have to remind myself that our kids want TIME with us. Wherever. Is Disney cool? Of course! Would a family camp be amazing for all of us? YES! (And it’s on the top of my list for next year). 🙂

Are any of these things critical for the survival and success of our children? I don’t think so. Especially when we do it to “keep up” or “not miss out.” Let’s plan our days – based on where God wants our families to be. And how he might use us in the process.


So, remember that blocking time to do a staycation can be just as impactful as anything. Your kids will love the memories of camping in the back yard. They want YOU. They want your attention. Your approval. They want space to be a family and to feel safe and love and secured. We all can do that.

PRAY. That’s the last thing. Sounds trite but true – God knows the needs of your kids and what they need most. That time in prayer about how to spend your time off – might lead you to a drive across the country. Or, weekly movie nights at home. Or, to visit your grandmother before she passes. I believe God will give you clarity on how to spend your days. Because they are flying by. Just like money – I believe our time is stewardship issue. How can we be wise and intentional with this gift of time?


Ok… back to my vacation. Got to go jump in the lake with my cuties. In my land’s end skirt. Learn more about my feelings on bathing suits here with Melanie Dale. A funny podcast conversation on summer.



  1. As you think back to when you were little – what trips or travel or time off do you remember with your family and why?
  2. What are your top priorities with your kids – as it relates to family and travel and vacation?
  3. What has been a place you’ve visited with your family or an experience you did together that was worth it? You’d highly recommend?
  4. WHO do you want around you kids the most? Make that the starting place and then the place doesn’t matter so much.

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  1. Courtney- thank you for this article. Such a reminder to me on the important things in our lives and you are spot on. All our kids want is our time and love. Thanks for the encouragement. And we have really enjoyed the scripture cards, by the way!! I got my daughters teacher to incorporate weekly scriptures into their two year old class last year with these. And the parents reinforced and did it at home too. It was such a blessing!

    1. Meredith! Thank you for taking the time to comment and let me know. I’m so glad this post encouraged you (whew – I’m not alone)… and that you’re enjoying the scripture cards! Happy Summer!

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