As practicing Catholics, Lent is a time for sacrifice and reflection in preparation for Easter. But also, as travelers we know sometimes routines have to be adjusted. Spring break is a great time to plan a trip but it usually falls during the period of Lent. Here are some ways to keep up your Lenten promises while traveling.
Set an alarm for Friday mornings
This may sound really stupid but if you are traveling Thursday-Friday your internal calendar can get super messed up. Case in point, while traveling to Brussels this past spring break we flew Thursday at 11 pm to Friday 5:30 pm. Totally forgetting it was Friday as we sat down to a lovely meat-filled dinner that night. 🙁 We didn’t realize until after the meal was over that it was Friday.
Read more from the blog Becoming Italian Word by Word “The Season of Lent in the Italian Language”
Research restaurants for Friday
Catholics traditionally give up meat on Fridays of Lent and while it is certainly becoming more and more common to find vegetarian meals in restaurants, doing a little research can help out. For example, I would probably not suggest a mouth-watering BBQ place for a Friday-night dinner unless your self-will is extremely high! 🙂 While abroad, research local cuisines for vegetarian options so you are ready if in a foreign country.
Find a local Church & Mass times
Going to Mass every Sunday is an obligation for Catholics but I’ll be honest, it doesn’t alway happen (camping trips in the middle of the forest for example). But it is part of my Lenten practice to make sure I go EVERY Sunday during Lent, no exceptions. That may limit some travel plans, but you can probably find a Christian Church, if not a Catholic one, almost anywhere in the world. In a pinch, watch a live stream Mass online.
This past trip we went to Mass in the Ghent Cathedral, St. Bavo. Although I don’t understand a lick of Dutch, Mass is the same everywhere so I could follow along with the rituals. Plus, Mass was in the church’s crypt so that was super cool!
Read more: Travel Tips: Visiting Catholic Churches
Stations of the Cross
Performing the stations of the cross during the Fridays of Lent is a good tradition to have and this can really be done anywhere. While on our trip to Columbia a few years ago we happen to be in the Salt Cathedral in Zipaquirá on a Friday of Lent. They have the stations of the cross carved into the walls so it was absolutely perfect for us!