March 25, 2019

Maintaining Faith Habits on Vacation

Maintaining faith habits on vacation can be a serious struggle. You might be going to a place you’ve never been to before – you don’t necessarily know where the nearest church is or when they offer Mass. Your schedule is going to change for a week. You may have to accommodate family or friend who don’t care to practice their faith during the trip. You want to make sure you see all the sights and get the most out of your vacation.

St. Mary's Catholic Church in Tempe, AZ

I get it. It’s really hard. But God desires a continuous relationship with you. He doesn’t take breaks when you go on vacation. So neither should you!!

There’s a lot that goes into maintaining faith habits on vacation, but it’s completely manageable. All it takes is a little preparation and willingness to be flexible. Ready for some tips? Let’s jump in!

During Travel (on the plane/in the car)

Use this time for prayer!! You’re literally sitting in one place for multiple hours with nothing to do. Sure, maybe you have a book or podcast with you, but there is not a better time for prayer. You could even offer up this travel time for someone. Maybe you’re suffering and cramped in one seat for a couple hours, give that up to God in offering for someone else’s pain.

Either way, make sure you’re prepared. Be sure to pack any prayer materials you usually use: a spiritual book, bible, rosary, journal and pen, etc. Remember to stick them in your carry-on bag if you’re flying, you’ll want these to be easily accessible.

Then, during the flight/drive, take some time for God!

You will likely have two days of travel (one to get to your destination and one to come back) so you’ll already have two days of prayer covered. Now you just need to plan for what to do while you’re at your destination.

Mass At Your Destination

Depending on what days of the week you will be traveling, you may need to plan to go to mass. Don’t worry! You don’t have to miss mass because you’re in a new place. The Mass Times app/website is your new best friend. On Mass Times you can type in your location and the app will generate a list of churches near by and list the mass times for each. You can select the day of the week and type of event (mass, confession, adoration, etc.).

Take a look at Mass Times in advance so you can get an idea for what your options are. Especially if you will be at your destination on a Sunday. Take advantage of the Saturday vigil mass if you need to!

Even if you won’t be at your destination on a Sunday, look at the Mass Times app anyway! There are so many beautiful churches across the world, God is giving you a great opportunity to visit them. Drop by one of the churches – maybe you’ll find one with perpetual Adoration where you can go and see Jesus for a few minutes.

Maybe your family or friends aren’t on board with the whole church on vacation thing. This can be a tricky situation. If you feel comfortable, tell them why you want to remain faithful on vacation. Like I said, many churches are actually very beautiful – convince them to stop in for just a few minutes to appreciate the beauty. Jesus will thank you!!

As far as Sunday mass goes, this should be a non-negotiable. We’re all obliged to go to mass on Sunday. Let your family or friends know that this is something you must do. If you’re clear about your desires and obligations, most people will be accommodating.

Prayer at your destination

Again, this can get tricky. You had time for prayer during your travel, but it seems like time is more limited while you’re actually on your vacation. You might have to sacrifice a little here and there to make sure you maintain your routine.

Obviously, you want to have a relaxing vacation, but maybe you can get up half an hour early to spend some quiet time with God.

If you’re not a morning person, I still suggest using the morning for prayer time while on vacation. This is likely the least active time of the day – you probably don’t have tons of activities scheduled at 6 in the morning. Your family or friends may still be sleeping, and you can simply get up earlier and spend that time in prayer.

If you’re a morning exerciser, consider a prayer walk or run. While not ideal if you want to journal or read your bible, freeform prayer is a great way to pray. Think God for your beautiful surroundings and the time you get to spend on vacation or just talk to Him about what’s on your mind.

You can also bring some Christian music along with you. Listen while you exercise or while driving from place to place. It may not seem like a lot, but music can be extremely prayerful. After all, when you sing you pray twice!!


Integrating prayer throughout the day

You may not get 30 minutes (or however long you’d like to pray for) all at once but you can integrate small prayers throughout the day.

Maybe you’re hiking in a beautiful place – take the chance to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation. Thank Him for the flowers or the birds or the sunrise.

On my recent vacation to Arizona I found myself saying Hail Mary’s for people I walked by. I said the Divine Mercy Chaplet while hiking. Each morning I looked up at the sun and said a quick “thank you” for creation. I saw Jesus smiling at me in the form of a rainbow. It doesn’t have to be anything big or crazy, any small amount of prayer is better than none. And little prayers add up.

Hopefully these tips and suggestions can help you in maintaining your faith habits on vacation. It may seem daunting, but all it takes is a little preparation and flexibility. Your routine won’t be exactly the same, but God will see your willingness to spend time with Him and He will reward you. Good luck on your travels!!

P.S. Did I miss anything you have questions about? Let me know in the comments below or send me an email at

P.P.S. Stay tuned for my next post on vacation habits: Maintaining Diet Habits on Vacation.

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