Oh, how we long for the days when this time of year meant unquestioned time off and weeks with little more to do than develop irrational crushes, dodge our parents and scrape together enough change for toffee sundaes at McDonald's. Okay, summer holidays never felt particularly wild here in the UK, and some of that retrospective disappointment comes from the fact that – if Hollywood is to be believed – our teenage peers in America do it way better.
Take the new Spider Man: Far From Home film. Little Peter Parker (Tom Holland) nips over to Italy for a school trip. It’s dreamy. He’s accepted his crush on MJ (Zendaya) and is excited to do something about it. Granted, his fun is briefly interrupted by a water demon, Jake Gyllenhaal in a cape and Samuel L. Jackson with a tranquilliser gun, but what a way to spend your summer vay-cay! Amanda Bynes did it pretty well when she jetted across to London to track down her onscreen dad Colin Firth, and god knows the Olsen twins lived for this brand of escapade.
If we work our way back through the history of American teens casually jumping on flights to Europe for a holiday that we, as Europe-adjacent adults, wouldn’t be able to compete with, there’s a pattern. For one, parents never seem to accompany their kids on these cross-Atlantic adventures. Instead they rock up in the final 20 minutes or so, either to make up with or chastise their wayward offspring. Then there’s the fact that the weather is always glorious, excitement awaits around every corner and the impracticalities of fancying someone abroad are never really an issue. Here’s some proof. Click through for evidence of the times an American teen has been sent to our side of the pond for the most enviable (but wildly unrealistic) summer holiday.