Emily Starbuck Gerson is a 20-something based in Austin, Texas. She currently works in the marketing department of a company in the travel industry by day, and she runs her own travel blog, Maiden Voyage, for fun in her free time. Gerson’s background is in journalism, and she has been published in a variety of websites and publications, including About.com, TravelIntelligence.com, Tribeza Magazine, TexasMonthly.com, and more. Two of her favorite places on earth are Santorini, Greece and Perugia, Italy.
We asked Emily (via email) to help 20-somethings (and anyone looking to have a good time) plan the perfect summer vacation:
1. What are some of the best (or your favorite) summer destinations for 20-somethings?
It depends on what you’re looking for. The summer is a great time to go backpacking in Europe; it’s crowded, but there are young people everywhere and there is so much to see. With so many countries clustered together, you can easily visit many countries in 1-2 weeks. There is also no shortage of affordable hostels. If you’re concerned about money, stick with Eastern Europe, which is less expensive than Western Europe. If you want to go somewhere exotic, Thailand is a great place to go — it’s a long and expensive flight to get there, but it’s very cheap to eat and stay there, and it has incredible beaches. If you want a relaxing beach vacation closer to home, you can never go wrong with Mexico — it’s beautiful and inexpensive, and there are many fun all-inclusive resorts. One of my personal favorite summer destinations is Colorado, as the summer weather is gorgeous and the hiking is incredible!
2. Are there specific summer festivals, concerts, or events you highly recommend?
If you love music, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza are two great summer music festivals! Bonnaroo involves camping out in a rural area of Tennessee, while Lollaplooza is in Chicago, but both always offer top-notch line-ups with a diverse mix of major artists. If you are going abroad, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Edinburgh, Scotland is another incredible festival that many people plan their trips around; with Edinburgh Castle as its background, the festival features incredible performances by dancers, musicians, and military bands from around the world. It overlaps with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which features dance, theater, music, opera, and more. If you are a patron of the arts, you shouldn’t miss these two annual August events! Edinburgh is an incredible city with some of the nicest people I have ever met.
3. When is the best time to travel for the summer?
I recommend going on the early side, like April or May, or on the late side, like late August or September. If you go in the dead of summer, everything will be more packed (hotels, attractions, museums, trains, etc.) and more expensive, and the weather will be the hottest. The more off-peak you can go, the less crowded things will be and the cheaper rates will be. The perk of going in the middle of summer is that you will meet other young people everywhere you go, so it’s ideal if you’re traveling solo. Also, in off-peak seasons, some attractions are closed and have limited hours.
4. Any tips for saving money while traveling for the summer?
Saving for travel is hard, so my best tip is to use an automated savings plan. I use one bank for my checking account, but I have an online savings account that earns interest with another bank. I set up an automatic savings plan, so each week, $10 (or however much you designate) is automatically moved from my checking account to that savings account at the other bank. When I get closer to an upcoming trip, I will increase the amount per week. This means that even when I forget to set aside money for travel, it is already automatically happening for me. And by having it take a small amount per week, you don’t have to worry about losing a big chunk at once and overdrafting. The reason I like storing that savings account at a different bank is because it takes 2-3 business days for the money to transfer. That means I can’t use the travel savings account impulsively — if I want that money, I have to wait for it, so that discourages me from dipping into it unnecessarily!
-Follow Emily on Twitter @TheMaidenVoyage.