Advice to the travel-weary vacationer

Rev. James L. Snyder - Contributing Columnist

Summer is usually a busy time, with everybody engaging in one of the great American activities. According to the overwhelming number of citizens, no summer is actually official until every American pursues this activity vigorously. Of course, I am referring to summer family vacation.

Our American government guarantees its citizens the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This is the great American dream, drawing people from all over the world to our shores. Once they become full-fledged American citizens, they then dream of taking a summer vacation to Italy or France.

Since the “pursuit of happiness” is the annual summer vacation, I thought it might be beneficial if I offered, out of my vast years of experience, some advice to my fellow vacationers on this crucial subject. After all, somebody needs to learn from my mistakes; I am not sure I have.

Every family vacationer consists of two categories: those who plan the vacation and those who fund the vacation.

The difference is obvious. If you plan a vacation, you are not required to fund it. If you fund the vacation, you have no say in the planning.

If your responsibility is to fund the family vacation, there are certain things you are not allowed to say to those who are planning said vacation. For one, the sponsor of the vacation is never allowed to mention the word “budget.” Nothing kills the exuberant spirit of the vacation planner than mentioning that foul word “budget.”

If you insist on interjecting the concept of budget to the summer vacation, you might as well stay at home. Now, if you exercise this option, be prepared to endure the worst summer of your life. The entire cast of your family will work together to make you regret this option. They will find ways to finagle money out of you throughout the summer, far exceeding what you would have spent on the vacation, which brings the curtain down on your precious budget.

I know when the first mention of the concept comes up in the family discussion, immediately you might think to yourself, “is it really worth it?”

I have wrestled with this question for many years. Every annual two-week vacation takes six months to prepare, five months and two weeks to recover, along with the mysterious disappearance of a full year’s salary. Following the vacation there is no logical explanation as to where that money went.

After years of financing the annual summer vacation, I have concluded that fun is expensive. I have found no way of getting around this truth.

On the other hand, grumpy is free. Lately, I have been leaning toward grumpy.

Summer vacations are necessary and a person just has to learn to deal with it and make the most of it, or the least of it, depending on your perspective.

Everybody needs to get away and rest. Even Jesus understood this concept.

He invites us to “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).

The best thing about the “rest” Jesus offers is he has already paid for it. Now I can really enjoy that vacation.

Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Silver Springs Shores, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. He can be reached at 352-687-4240 or 1-866-552-2543, via e-mail at or go to

Rev. James L. Snyder

Contributing Columnist