Like a delicious recipe you cook in your kitchen, a great trip needs more than one ingredient. You need a great place, fun stuff to do, and fun people to share it with, according to about 300 kids who responded to our survey about summer vacations.
Around the World
Some kids are already seasoned travelers, having visited Africa, India, China, Europe, the Philippines, and Fiji, an island in the South Pacific Ocean.
Ellie, 10, had a blast in Portugal — especially the night they were allowed to jump in the pool with their clothes on.
Hridaya, 11, saw the Taj Mahal on a visit to India.
Alex, 10, said his family had a great time in Perranporth and Newquay, beach areas in Great Britain. According to Alex, "Newquay Zoo rocks!"
Across the Country
Back in the United States, kids liked traveling to the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Disney World, and, of course, good old grandma's house.
Dean, 8, said the best part of his summer is the garden he and his grandmother plant every year.
Other kids said they also had a blast without going too far from home. They visited relatives, ran through sprinklers, and visited nearby beaches.
Sarah, 12, remembers a parade on the boardwalk in New Jersey. People in the parade threw candy to the kids. "Me and my sister got so much candy — enough to last us until Halloween!"
Other kids watched the landscape change as they traveled to a different part of the country.
Taylor, 11, remembers the view out the airplane window as she flew across the United States from the East Coast to Arizona. "Buildings turned into farms, and farms into deserts. It was cool!" Taylor said. "When we got to the Grand Canyon, I was speechless! I can't even explain how cool and beautiful it was! You would have to see it for yourself."
Tiannah, 11, said her best trip was to Vermont, the home of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. In addition to the ice cream, she liked lying on a comfortable hammock and sleeping under the stars.
Sophie, 11, liked her trip to Colorado best because she learned to cast a fishing rod in a wobbly canoe. She also learned the backstroke in the hotel pool.
Hawaii was a favorite spot for a number of kids who wrote us.
Diana, 11, liked it so much she wants to move there. "I went to the beach, saw snakes, fish, and a sailfish in the ocean, ate great food, got sunburned, and rode in the new rented car we got."
Where you vacation is important, but as kids described their favorite trips, it was the people that seemed to matter most. In fact, more than half of kids said fun people were the most important ingredient — more important than a great place or fun stuff to do.
Mabembe, 12, said her best trip was a couple years ago when her family took a very long drive to Toronto for a wedding. "What made the trip sooo fun was that we drove," she said. "Yes you heard right, we drove! Two and a half days long. I tell ya, it was all worth it because we did it together as a family."
Lucie, 11, said her best vacation was when her family went to Tanzania in Africa. "I went not to have a safari adventure, but a family one. We went because all my family lives there except my mom, dad, my brother, me, and my sister. That was the best part because I could meet my distant family."
Family and friends also were important as kids described where they'd go on a dream vacation. Some kids chose popular vacation spots, but others said they wanted to visit other planets or go back in time!
Jen, 12, wants to visit 1960s. Why? To see the Beatles live in concert. "I am a big fan of the Beatles and am disappointed that I wasn't even alive when they were together. I'd take my parents so they could tell me about the '60s so I would know how to act in a different decade!"
Nina, 15, would take her best friend, Kathy, to the moon so they could float around in zero gravity.
Madeline, 8, wants to take her dog, Captain, on a trip to Saturn.
Megan, 10, would like to take her family and her cats, Marcie and Buster, on a trip to see volcanoes. She'd stop in Hawaii and Yellowstone National Park — two volcanic spots — to get a head start on her career. "I want to study volcanoes when I grow up," she said.
Hyder, 12, wants to go to Norway to see how it stays light for 6 months of the year and dark for the other 6. Who would he take? "My mom because I love her very much."
Matt, 10, says he wants to go to Washington, DC, to see his uncle and to see the new Major League Baseball team, the Nationals. He'd take his family "because they have done so many things for me."
Alaina, 13, says she's always wanted to visit Queensland, Australia. She'd visit the Sydney Opera House and explore Australian culture. Who would she bring? "My mom, dad, and . . . no one else. Ha-ha, just kidding. I'd take along my little brother, too."
It's hard to tell if Ashlei, 10, was kidding when she said she'd take no one with her on a dream vacation to Hershey, Pennsylvania. Why go alone? "I want all the chocolate to myself," she said.