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Vacation daze

How to do summer like a European

July 2, 2021
When the days grow longer and the temperatures start to rise, it can only mean that summertime has finally arrived. And after the past year spent at home, the appeal of a lengthy summer vacation is all the greater. Yet North Americans, arguably, can learn a thing or two from their European cousins, for many of whom the warmer months turn into a mini-sabbatical. Year after year, Europeans flock from the cities in droves to the continent’s many beaches and lakes, to its mountains and forests, to disconnect and unwind. And while they may benefit from more paid vacation days than the average North American, by taking a couple of pages out of their books, it’s possible to enjoy la dolce vita the European way this summer, too.

Don’t over plan

Have you ever come back from a vacation only to feel like you need another few days off to recover? It may be tempting to pack your vacation schedule with museum visits, restaurant bookings and other activities, but don’t forget to allocate some time to getting in some R&R. If you’re taking a city trip, keep a few hours in your day to accommodate for spontaneity. Headed into nature? Don’t forget to plan in some downtime.

Pack light

It can be tempting to pack a giant suitcase of outfits for every possible occasion, but more often than not, you’ll find that a few chic basics to mix and match can go a long way. If you can limit yourself to a carry-on bag, you’ll be off the plane even sooner and have more time to enjoy your final destination.

Focus on quality, not quantity

With limited vacation days, it’s only natural to want to maximize your time, but there’s an argument to be made to avoid destination hopping and stick to one destination at a time. You’ll have more of an opportunity to really get to know the place, for starters, and you’ll have time to kick back and really savor the moment.

Eat local

Any traveler who’s been to Europe will instantly recognize a stark difference between North American and European eating culture. Meals are lengthy affairs for our Old World relatives, even in their simplicity. By sitting down and enjoying fresh, seasonal fare from the region, we do better by ourselves and the planet.

Enjoy time with your loved ones

Spending time with the people who matter most in your life is a great way to boost your overall well-being. In fact, some studies have shown that having a robust social life can lower stress levels, improve your mood and encourage you to make healthier choices.