vacation planning

Taking a vacation reduces stress and the risk of a heart attack, improves your sleep and gives you a boost of dopamine, a feel-good hormone, according to a study by the American Psychological Association. Even a short, three-day trip can have positive effects on your physical wellbeing and mental health.

With extended lockdowns around the world, the idea of enjoying the breeze of a luscious beach has been just a fantasy for many. However, most countries are easing their restrictions, so people have started to plan their summer getaways.

Almost 70% of Americans intend to travel this summer, TripAdvisor’s Travel Summer Index reveals. While 74% of them said they’ll take a domestic trip, 13% will travel abroad, the study shows.

The number one destination? Cancun, Mexico, followed by Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Key West and Miami. Do you see a trend?  

All these places sound tremendous, but not everyone is headed for the beach this summer. It turns out some people are more excited about visiting Egypt, Paris or the Irish countryside.

Don’t think of leisure and travel as frivilous. The rest and recreation that tourism affords are priceless to your wellbeing, productivity, health and overall life satisfaction.

So, where are you going this summer? Here’s what some of my peers shared with me.

María Blázquez, Mailbutler: “Valencia is one of my favorite cities.”

“This summer I am traveling to Valencia, Spain. Valencia is very close to my hometown, but I have been living in Germany for two years, so I am very excited! Valencia is one of my favorite cities.

The streets and squares of the old town are beautiful, and also its gardens and parks. I would like to climb towers like Miguelete or Torres de Serrano, since I’ve never done that.

Also, I will probably go back to the City of Arts and Sciences and visit the science museum. There’s also an aquarium, exhibitions, and much more!

Without a doubt, my favorite part is participating in the social life of the city. I like going to language exchange events. There you can meet people from around the world who are discovering the city for the first time. You can make great friends to accompany you on your trip!

María Blázquez, Marketing Specialist at Mailbutler

Bruce Herwig, Image Source: “I love shooting the Milky Way.”

“I’ll go to the Joshua Tree National Park.

It’s an American national park in southeastern California, east of Los Angeles and near Palm Springs. In addition to the surreal plants and landscapes, it has some of the darkest night skies in the Southern California area.

I love shooting the Milky Way and am looking forward to getting away from the lights of the city and out into nature.

While temperatures are hot during the day, the quietness and the cool of the evening make for a peaceful environment.”

Bruce Herwig, Marketing Director at ImageSource

summer vacation destinations
Bruce took this picture a few weeks ago.

Marius Barbu, Servers Factory: “This summer I plan to travel abroad.”

“Due to the pandemic restrictions, I’ve had the chance to explore my country’s beautiful landscapes in the past year. So, this summer I plan to travel abroad.

Spending time by the ocean breeze or by the seaside helps me recharge and offers me a well-deserved boost of energy.

I’m an active person and I seek for meaning in everything I do. This applies to my holidays as well. For me, a perfect vacation is more than relaxing on the beach. It’s about getting to know the places, understand their traditions, habits and culture and learn about the history of that area.

Of course, the global situation plays an important role in choosing my destination, but I have Costa de Caparica, Madeira and Sardinia on my shortlist.”  

Marius Barbu, Commercial Director at Servers Factory

Ashley Guttuso, Simple Focus: “I’ll be returning to England for a metal detecting tour.”

“I’m actually not going anywhere on vacation this summer because our family is moving from Florida to Mississippi in June. I am, however, looking forward to next April, when I will hopefully be returning to England for a metal detecting tour I’ve had to cancel two years in a row because of Covid.

The group I take metal detecting usually spends 10 days detecting farm fields near Colchester (in Essex County). We find really neat artifacts including Celtic, Roman, and Saxon coins and jewelry.

After rescheduling our annual trip twice, my team is eager to get back out and do some detecting. The fields would be too high with crops to go this summer, so we’ll have to keep waiting.”

Ashley Guttuso, Director of Marketing at Simple Focus Software

Laura Comsa, ZeroBounce: “My first choice would be the United Kingdom.”

“I kind of started my summer already, as I took my first trip to the mountains this year. It was absolutely stunning, but since that wasn’t my real vacation, I had to work during that time. You know, combining my two favorite things.

This summer I’ll continue to travel locally, as it’s not safe enough yet to travel abroad. As soon as I think it is, my first choice would be the United Kingdom.

I’ve always been attracted by it, maybe because of its history. There are so many castles to visit and I imagine you feel like you are in older times. Also, the weather is very much to my liking. Have you seen those villages? They are to die for! Simply gorgeous. You have to visit at least once.”

Laura Comsa, Customer Support Specialist at ZeroBounce

summer vacation
Laura took this picture on her trip to the mountains of Romania.

Irina Nica, HubSpot: “It’s Ireland, so the grass is always greener here.”

“This year, I’ll probably stay local. I live in Dublin and I’m planning to vacation somewhere in Ireland, maybe on the West Coast. In other circumstances, it would have felt like a sort of “consolation prize” to vacation locally instead of abroad.

However, this lockdown period has made me take a closer look at the wonderful things that are just in my “backyard” and appreciate more what I have here.

My new mantra is: it’s Ireland, so the grass is always greener here than on the other side. 

In terms of specific plans, I haven’t made any yet, aside from booking a couple of long weekends, though we’re almost in June. Ireland hasn’t fully opened up yet and, after a year and a half of changes and uncertainty, it still feels strange to make travel plans, even for a couple of months from now. 

My only plan is to be adaptable and keep an eye out for good weather reports.”

Irina Nica, Senior Marketing Manager at HubSpot 

Michał Leszczyński, GetResponse: “We booked something that’s going to be perfect.”

“After over a year of mainly staying indoors in our tiny apartment with our two small sons, we want to get outside and experience nature a bit more. So, my wife and I are staying in Poland, but somewhere a bit closer to nature.

We’ve already booked something that’s going to be perfect – far from the city, plenty of space for the children to run around, goats, rabbits, and other farm animals to play with. We don’t need much more than that.

As long as the weather’s good, we’re going to come back relaxed for sure. We’ve been there once before (three years ago), and it was terrific. Never before have I seen so many stars in the sky!”

Michał Leszczyński, Head of Content Marketing & Partnerships at GetResponse

Poland summer destination
Michal, on a previous vacation in the Polish countryside.

Bruce Harpham, marketer: “I want to return to Paris.”

“In terms of future travel plans, there are two dream trips I’ve been thinking about – France and Egypt, once I’m fully vaccinated and travel opens up.

I’ve been studying French on Duolingo for over 340 days as I write this, so I’d love to visit France again. Specifically, I want to return to Paris, visit the D-Day Beaches in Normandy and see the Loire Valley.

During the lockdown, I also started a wine and travel blog called “Travel By Glass,” so it would be fantastic to visit more French wineries and vineyards.

I have also been excited about visiting Egypt. The country’s ancient history is particularly exciting. I’ve never been there and it sounds exciting. In addition to the Pyramids, I would like to see Roman ruins and World War II history. There’s so much to learn! 

Bruce Harpham, marketing consultant and writer