Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
There's nothing like a summer vacation to create fond memories and bring a family closer together. At the same time, not all vacations are created equal—some will help you achieve familial bliss while others may just be a big waste of time, Rabbi Shmuley says. He shares his advice for the perfect vacation that the whole family can enjoy.

Rules for a Good Summer Vacation

  • Vacations should be meaningful. Incorporate something inspirational, historical or educational in your trip, Rabbi Shmuley says. Visit national parks, historical places or great museums. If you go on a beach vacation, be sure to plan activities, read books and play games.
  • Interact with your children. "You have talk to them, walk with them, engage them, get them to open up to you," he says.
  • Use your vacation to make your marriage better. "Do romantic, mushy stuff that you wouldn't do at home," Rabbi Shmuley says.
  • Enjoy the moment. Don't worry about capturing every last moment on camera, he says.
  • Don't try too hard to have fun. Let it happen. The harder you try, the less you'll enjoy yourself, he says.
  • Don't take too many friends on your vacations. "What [that shows] is that your own family bores you out of your box," Rabbi Shmuley says. "Vacations are there for the family to reconnect."
  • Read books. Find time to read on vacation as well as when you're not on vacation.
Today's Shmuleyism
"Vacations should not be spent vacuously as if their only purpose was to cease work. Rather, vacations should be taken in places like national parks, where children can appreciate the wonders of nature, in rich historical places, where children can connect with the past, or should be filled with physical activity so children can learn the glories of a life lived outdoors. Lying like the dead on a beach is a wasted opportunity to create family togetherness."