12 Hints for Joy Filled Trips

If I could have picked to vacation anywhere for Labor Day weekend, I would have picked the beach. The rhythmic waves and relaxed schedule ends summer on a perfect note, in my opinion, giving me one last taste of the long hot days with nothing to do before the fall schedule starts to kick in in full swing. 

And guess what? 

My wish came true and my family and I went on a mini beach vacation with some friends of ours! 

But just like any trip, my attitude going into the trip determined the amount of fun that I experienced. Going on a road trip to the next town over can make as many memories as going to Disney World, if only I make up my mind to have fun and not let the moments pass me by, whether the moments contain happiness or something-less-than-happiness. 

And so, without further ado, here is how I make every little trip something special in twelve little steps that you can remember on your next trip, be it a fourteen hour drive to the Big City or a little detour to the zoo on your way to grandma's house. 

Hint One- Start the Fun Immediately 

Never forget the potential of the car ride (or plane ride or boat ride or hyppogrif ride). In fact, I can remember some car rides more than the actual trip, like the time my family and I performed our own version of the Oscars or the time that some friends and I made up a story about a kingdom with a government based off of Rock Paper Scissors. 

On our drive to the beach, we watched the gorgeous sunset, talked about current politics, brainstormed for an upcoming school project, wore the gorgeous little "barefoot sandals" that Rebecca made us, and jammed to TobyMac's new album, This is Not a Test. (All of which included some rather entertaining time-lapse videos made by yours truly.) But you can also see Chloe's great post about How To Have a Productive Car Trip for some other great ideas!

Hint Two- Marvel at Your Housing

Even if you stay at the Sleep Inn, go into the room and throw your bags by the bed. Flop onto the pillows and run into the bathroom to admire the shower that you won't have to clean. Luckily for us, Mom chose a very cute little beach condo for us to stay in, and I took pictures before our stuff dominated the whole area!

Hint Three- Wear Something New

Maybe only I understand the power of a new (or rarely worn) outfit, but wearing something special makes any day even more spectacular. I mean, how can a giant floppy hat go wrong? (Well, it could fly off into the strong gusts of wind, but that's why I held onto it.) So put on new and exciting outfit in preparation for the day! (And don't forget about the selfie process that inevitably follows wearing a new outfit.)

Hint Four- Strike a Pose

Don't just leave it at the selfie, but let someone else capture you in your fabulous outfit! And don't stop at that, but grab a friend and capture your adventures in silly smiles and candid shots. I typically regret not taking lots of pictures at vacations, but at the same time, I don't want to focus so much on capturing moments that I forget to live them! A great way to prevent this from happening is to take pictures before every event but choose only one (or two for a long trip) event in which you want to focus on taking pictures. That way you can always go back and view the joy from your travels but still see the world apart from behind the lens.

Hint Five- Explore

You don't go new places every day (unless you have a really cool job), and so make the most of it! Take a walk on the beach or take the round-about way to get to dinner. Open your eyes to the newness of your surroundings, even taking joy in the bumps along the road.

Step Six- Leave Your Mark on Your Surroundings

Now, this may prove difficult depending where you go, but if possible (legally), leave a little piece of you behind. A drawing in the sand or chalk painting in the park. A generous tip for the waitress or simple act of kindness to an elderly couple. Leave a little bit behind for the location to remember you.

Hint Seven- Look at the World From a New Angle

There's nothing like a new environment to make me see things differently. I see the reflections, the curves, and the patterns in a new way. And of course I must take pictures of these things (on the designated picture-taking day especially).

But don't stop at just taking artsy pictures! Do something from a different angle, a different you. Do something bold and adventurous that makes you a bit uncomfortable yet thrilled at the same time! For me, I went parasailing on the beach and loved it!

Hint Eight- Get Creative

I find that using my creativity enhances wherever I am and whatever I'm doing. And so I like to do one creative thing everywhere I go! Don't just pose for the camera pose. (And if you're a ballerina, things makes things a bit easier.) Write a poem inspired by the setting, outline a blog post, or compose a song, whatever you like to do to get those creative thoughts active!

Hint Nine- Pause
Yes, that's right. Pause. For a moment, don't do anything. And let that moment turn into a minute, which turns into five minutes, which turns into an hour. Let that hour seep into your soul and clear the busy, vacation-mode mind that never wants to stop going.

Take a walk for no reason, sleep in late because you can, or savor those minutes of darkness to hear the unfamiliar sounds of a new place comfort you to sleep.

Hint Ten- Do Something Your Inner Kid Would Do

You know those places you wanted to visit as a kid? What about those things that you wanted to do at those places you wanted to go? Let your five year-old self take control for a bit and do something childish. Build a sandcastle, play in the park, visit the toy store, or order something off of the kids menu (and if you're brave, ask for the accompanying coloring sheet and crayons). These are the things that you will remember!

Hint Ten- Make Memories Together

While all of the previous hints can make a trip joyful and memory-filled, none of them matter if you don't appreciate the people that you travel with. This step may prove the hardest for me because I like to do things and try things and go places, but others in my family feel more comfortable at a slower pace. So I may not get to all of these things above, but if that makes my family happier, than that should make me happier! For the best memories aren't the memories where you got to do whatever you wanted, but the memories filled with community and laughter and togetherness.

But even if you unite with your fellow travelers, if you forget to include Jesus, the joy goes away. Happiness will remain. You will make memories. But joy, that only comes from Jesus.

Again, this is where I struggled, for the busy schedule and crammed space encouraged me to forgo time to take joy in Jesus during my trip to the beach. In fact, during almost every vacation I struggle to interact with Jesus. But I know that I need to be still in Him all of the time, and I know that so much more joy and excitement will fill my adventures when they stop focusing on me and start looking for Jesus.

Hint Eleven- Reflect on the Way Home

That ride home can hold much joy as well, although I've noticed that it typically doesn't vibrate with as much energy as the ride towards the vacation does. Something that I find makes the ride home meaningful, though, is reflecting upon the previous trip. What will you remember most? What challenged you? What would you do again? Make a conversation about it!

Hint Twelve- Take a Bit of the Trip Back

This step doesn't apply to the trip but the return back to reality, for the joy of a trip can last so much longer than the physical time of the adventure. Don't forget to look back on the lessons learned, the adventures had, and the rest obtained. Smile at the jokes that your friends said all of those day ago while you got lost on your way to the show. Pause from the rush of life for a minute while you look at the photos you took, photos which represent much more than just smiles and scenic spaces.

So next time you go on a trip, no matter how long or short, remember to appreciate all of the moments, grand and small, as you make this the best trip ever simply because you can!

Thank you for reading, and make sure to comment below what you like to think of when going on a trip! Also, what did you do on Labor Day weekend?

Princess Hannah

p.s. if you live in the South and pass through a place that sells Blue Bell Ice Cream on the way home, maybe you should buy a half-gallon. Or two. Or four.


  1. Oh my goodness, I think this is one of my favorite posts I've read this week.
    Honestly, these are the best tips ever. I am going with my cousins to the mountains for spring break next year, and so I think I can apply these then :) I love how you said wear something new...isn't it just great? I love going on a trip and wearing something new. Love the pictures as well, it looks like you had a ton of fun!

    1. I am so glad that you found this post inspiring! I didn't know if everyone would find it useful, and your comment really encouraged me!

  2. These are some of the best tips, thank you for this! And the pictures were gorgeous!


    1. Thank you for the comment! And yes, I had fun on picture-taking day, even if I only used my iPhone!

  3. I loved this post so much, Hannah!!!! Your tips are absolutely fabulous- I may be going on a trip in a few months, so I'll definitely apply these tips! New clothes definitely make everything better;) And YAY FOR THE SOUTH!!!!!!! It's fabulous. Along with Blue Bell ice cream.

    xoxo <3
    Grace Anne // http://totallygraced.blogspot.com/

    1. I'm so glad that you liked it! And yes, you can take the girl out of the South, but you can never take the South out of the girl!

  4. Epaulement on point! Anyway...
    I love traveling anywhere and anyway, but I love that you've focused on truly soaking it in and make those lasting memories. Love it. :)

    1. Someone understands the struggle of ballet posing! (It's especially hard in the sand because the ground always shifts beneath you.) And yes, I love traveling too, and living during every moment of a trip makes it all the more special!

  5. Your vacation looks so cute and amazing! Road trips aren't my thing, but next year my family is planning on going on one (my parents said we might be able to go back to Disney World for a couple of days; YAAAAAYYYYY!)... I want to wear and get something new, like you said for one of the tips, but well, clothes are hard to come by, for me. I'm terrible with clothes shopping.

    xoxo Morning

    P.S. Since our drive will mostly be in the south east, I think I will have to remember to convince my parents to get ice cream. XD

    1. We drive a lot, but we don't make it into a road trip. We do destination trips. But I've always wanted to do a road trip! you will have so much fun, if you want to. And DISNEY!!! That's the best!

      You should try some Blue Bell for sure!

  6. I love this! :) And your floppy hat and dress are so cute!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment and your interaction on twitter! And I do love the swimsuit-coverup/ floppy hat combo if I say so myself!