What’s Trending: Euro Summer

By Bianca Guzzo

Like thousands of others, I’ve been watching TikToker Victoria Paris gallivant around Europe all summer long. She started in Paris and has travelled to Amsterdam, Italy, Portugal, Greece and the south of France, meeting up with all kinds of glamorous friends along the way. Paris has been living her best life in what is being described by her followers as “the dream European vacation”. In between shopping for new jewellery and designer goodies (it’s sale season), going on dates with a guy she met on an elevator in the building she’s staying at, and trips to the beach, she also shows the not-so-fun parts, too, like the straps of her bag breaking and occasionally missing flights. Even with the minor hiccups, the content from her vacation has been overwhelmingly influential, and it’s inspired others to book tickets to Europe and have their own adventures.

Thanks to all the curated travel content, summer 2023 has been officially coined “Euro Summer”. Unsurprisingly, millions have flocked to various European destinations for an unforgettable experience including some of TikTok’s biggest influencers like the aforementioned Paris, and others like Alix Earle who took her trip back in the spring. It probably also feels like your homepage on Instagram is filled with travel photos from people you know IRL, too. Europe has always been a popular travel destination, but it’s reached new levels of popularity following travel restrictions lifting post-pandemic. The New York Times reported that more people had booked European trips this summer than ever before, even with higher airfare and over-crowded destinations. Some travellers give credit to shows like The White Lotus and travel content creators for inspiring their entire trip itineraries. With travel being restricted for the past couple of years it can feel like people are booking trips to make up for the time they lost, which explains why the more popular destinations are feeling more crowded than usual. For example, videos of tourists trying to get on commuter trains in Monaco have been making the rounds on TikTok, and locals are saying they’ve never seen it this busy before, even in past peak seasons.

A quick search of the “Euro Summer” tag on TikTok and Instagram reveals thousands of videos full of beautiful places and all of the trending outfits to serve as inspiration for aspiring travellers. Mixed throughout are also a few videos that show the truth of European summer trips like the the fact that constantly going on excursions and eating out adds up, the reality that you’ll probably have an abundance of underboob sweat while you climb the stairs in Santorini to get your Insta pic, and that crossbody “phone straps” are the current trending accessory in France to keep devices safe from getting snatched on the street. As fun and carefree as certain influencers make lengthy trips across the Atlantic look, travellers have also taken to their social media accounts to complain and poke fun at the lack of accessible drinking water when they’re out exploring. After debates between both sides all summer long, it turns out lugging obnoxiously large water receptacles everywhere you go is very “American”.

Water bottles do exist in Europe, and the price is usually hiked up for thirsty tourists on hot summer days, but constantly having aqua on your person or ice in your glass at a restaurant just isn’t how they do things over there. It may seem like small inconveniences to have when you’re experiencing a new place for the first time, but they’ve sparked even bigger discussion about tourists not considering things might be a little different on the other side of the world. I went on a spring break trip to Europe where I encountered a woman in our group who complained to our tour guide that there weren’t enough “American breakfast options” available at the small family-run hotels we were staying at. It’s kind of silly to think that instead of embracing a different way of life for the duration of our travels, we might expect businesses to abandon their own traditions to bend to our needs for DIY waffle stations and unlimited bacon.

If hustling around Europe at warp speed in two weeks seems like a personal nightmare, there’s also another travel trend that’s emerging for those of us who like to stop and smell the roses on our vacations. “Sustainable travel” is a different way to really experience a new place. It encourages people to pick one or two spots to stay in on their trip in order to really immerse themselves in the local culture. Ecobnb.com says it’s a great way to encourage travellers to support the local economy and pick places that aren’t currently being negatively impacted by tourism. If exploring crowded places isn’t for you, planning a vacation sustainably might give you the laid-back Euro trip you’re dreaming about. According to Hopper.com, prices of flights from North America to Europe this year have reached the highest peak since 2017, so it’s totally understandable to want to see as much as you can once you’re over there, especially because the price to travel within Europe is often so accessible and affordable. Sustainable travel offers a different experience with more opportunities to discover local hidden gems and it’s a little kinder to the planet, too since you won’t be spending a large portion of your trip aboard planes, trains, or automobiles.

At the time that I’m writing this, Victoria Paris is on the last leg of her lengthy Euro summer trip. She’s leaving Paris to make one last trip to Copenhagen for a few days before heading back to her home in Los Angeles for the first time since July. One of her viewers that has been eagerly awaiting updates from her trip all summer is calling it “their Paris olympics”, and in a way it kind of has been. The content that has come out of Euro trips this summer has been dreamy, but the reality is that running around Europe for an extended period of time during the hottest months of the year does start to feel like a sport at some point. With summer in Europe being busier than ever, a lot of travellers have opted to take their trips during the autumn, so if you’ve been living vicariously through travel content over the past four months and you’re not ready for it to end, I’m sure we’re in for a #EuroFall, too.

Tags: top story, topstory, What's Trending

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