Experimental feature

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00
Experimental feature
or

Inspired by the summer plans of leading figures from the worlds of business, politics and arts featured in Perfect summer holidays 2016, we asked you for your own travel stories and recommendations. We weren’t disappointed. Here are a few of the best.

© Dreamstime

Hans-Juergen • Wegberg, Germany

How are you spending the summer?
One week on photo safari in the Ruaha National Park in Tanzania, another week on the island of Pemba. Then briefly back to Germany and onward to Japan for three weeks, with some short trips to beaches and hot springs.

Who would be your ideal travel companion (real or fictional, dead or alive?)
My son Kai, who recently turned 16 years old. It is wonderful to see him grow up and interact with people from different places and cultures.

What’s on your summer reading list?
The astonishing landscapes of east Africa, sunsets in the Indian Ocean, the lush colours of a hot, humid summer in Japan. No books, no e-readers — just reading a day’s memory before falling asleep.

What is your worst holiday memory?
There is none, really. The cash stolen on board a flight to Johannesburg (by a crew member), the bad malaria initiation to Africa many years ago, the missed flight with an exhausted baby in my arms, the rented car that broke down in a remote national park in Zambia, with wild animals all over the place; these memories have become nothing more than insignificant little stories to tell and laugh about.

If you had one top travel tip, what would it be?
Don’t stay at home because of scary-sounding stories [you hear from] the press and the web. Remember, falling down the staircase in your own house is a much more likely form of death than being the victim of a terrorist attack.

David Blackstock • Houston, Texas

How are you spending the summer?
I am escaping the oppressive Texas heat with my annual holiday on the Maine coast. Sadly, the heat lasts longer than my holiday allowance, thus the remainder of summer is spent racing from air-con to swimming pool to G&T.

Who would be your ideal travel companion (real or fictional, dead or alive?)
My grandfather, retracing his tour of the world during the second world war.

What’s on your summer reading list?
Essays of EB White, Hemingway’s short stories, a backlog of unread New Yorker issues, and — naturally — the FT with coffee in the morning.

What will be your soundtrack to summer 2016?
The laughter of my young son, the peace and quiet of not watching US cable news during election season, and the new solo album from Wilco’s guitarist Nels Cline.

What is your worst holiday memory?
A debilitating sunburn acquired while snorkelling in Mexico. It was so unpleasant I ended my trip five days early and flew home to bathe in aloe and misery.

If you had one top travel tip, what would it be?
Explore on foot. There is hardly a better cure for jet lag than a walk around the great cities of Europe or a steamy jog through Kuala Lumpur.

© Dreamstime

Paul Myers • Corona del Mar, California

How are you spending the summer?
A Danube river cruise from Budapest to Bucharest. Going to travel through time. Churchill once said, “The Balkans produce more history than they can consume.”

Who would be your ideal travel companion (real or fictional, dead or alive?)
My wife. Since marrying her, every vacation has been a delight.

What’s on your summer reading list?
The Wise Men, by Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas. It gets at the story behind the “present at the creation” period of 1940-52, when America put together the postwar international order. I call it the Decisive Decade. Very fundamental.

What will be your soundtrack to summer 2016?
Madeleine Peyroux. I’ve heard her twice in person so far this year.

If you had one top travel tip, what would it be?
Fly premium economy.

© Dreamstime

Jean-Pierre Merlet • Paris, France

How are you spending the summer?
As I don’t have a rigid work schedule, I tend to take several holidays from late May to mid-October, one week at a time. This summer: Eze Village on the French Riviera (a spectacular view on the Mediterranean), Biarritz, and the mandatory one: Paris in the beginning of August, when everybody has left! I live on the Left Bank, so sometimes I take three or four days in a nice hotel on the Right Bank — it’s an adventure.

Who would be your ideal travel companion (real or fictional, dead or alive?)
Stendhal and Grace Kelly: a delightful ménage à trois (I’m French, of course).

What’s on your summer reading list?
Belgravia, by Julian Fellowes; Sept brèves leçons de physique, by Carlo Rovelli, and Les Deux Révolutions Françaises, by Henri Guillemin.

What is your worst holiday memory?
Two days camping on the seashore of Languedoc-Roussillon, with a never-ending gusty wind that kept me awake for two nights (and the place was pathetic). It was in the mid-1970s, and I never, ever want to camp again!

If you had one top travel tip, what would it be?
Arrive early at the airport so you can take your time.

© Dreamstime

Erik Peterson • Les Baux-de-Provence, Switzerland

How are you spending the summer?
Recharging for a month in the Alpilles of Provence. For me, summer vacation is a combination of relaxation, intense reading, exercise and great food. The Alpilles are a wonderful place to find all of these without the crowds of the Luberon. It’s also a wonderful region for the children — swimming in the pool, horseback riding, exploring nature and the ancient villages, and it’s a short drive to the sea.

Who would be your ideal travel companion (real or fictional, dead or alive?)
My wife, of course. A real vacation is also an opportunity to recharge your relationship.

What’s on your summer reading list?
The Black Widow, by Daniel Silva, City on Fire, by Garth Risk Hallberg, and The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, were by far the best.

What will be your soundtrack to summer 2016?
Vance Joy’s [album] Dream Your Life Away

What is your worst holiday memory?
Wilderness camping on the Richardson Lakes in Maine. After loading up our canoes and getting a late start on the 15km paddle to our campsite on the lake, we got hit with a storm. Soaking wet, we spent a sleepless night huddled under a tree about halfway along our journey. After reaching our destination, we spent most of the week on a rainy remote island.

If you had one top travel tip, what would it be?
I think it’s important to distinguish between a vacation and an adventure — a vacation is going to a place you know to relax and completely wind down. You need a minimum of two weeks. An adventure involves going to someplace new, seeing sites and experiencing new things. This may be great fun, but it is equally as stressful as work. Make sure you know what you really need from your summer break.

© Dreamstime

Adriane • London

How are you spending the summer?
Taking long walks along the river Thames, which is a novelty since I moved to Kew Gardens. My ideal summer adventure would be to spend two weeks doing yoga in Tulum, Mexico.

What’s on your summer reading list?
Some of my old and recent wonderful discoveries include: The Man Who Planted Trees, by Jean Giono; The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant; The Meaning of Night, by Michael Cox; Tulip Fever, by Deborah Moggach; Zlateh The Goat, by Isaac Bashevis Singer.

What will be your soundtrack to summer 2016?
“An Innocent Man”, by Billy Joel; “Will You?”, by Hazel O’Connor; “Love and Affection”, by Joan Armatrading; “Mensch”, by Herbert Grönemeyer; “Je T’aime, Moi Non Plus”, by Serge Gainsbourg — and, above all, Karl Jenkins’ “Benedictus”.

If you had one top travel tip, what would it be?
Anything cheap will cost you more.

© Dreamstime

Jens Høiberg-Nielsen • Siena, Italy

How are you spending the summer?
I am going trekking with my dog, a golden retriever called Laurina, on the high plateau in the Dolomites between Corvara, San Cassiano and Arabba. During the winter, this is an amazing skiing area. In late summer, it turns into the perfect area for trekking on foot with your dog. Base station is Armentarola where you will find the best dog-friendly hotel in the Dolomites.

Who would be your ideal travel companion (real or fictional, dead or alive?)
Knud Rasmussen (1879-1933). The greatest — though relatively unknown — Arctic explorer. His fifth Thule expedition took him to all Inuit territories in Greenland, Canada and Siberia — more than 3,000km on a dog sled. All the dogs he used as sleigh dogs survived the expedition.

What will be your soundtrack to summer 2016?
Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony.

What is your worst holiday memory?
None. As long as you stay in Italy, it can’t go wrong.

© Dreamstime

Stephen Ford • London

How are you spending the summer?
Driving down through France eating regional dishes before spending 10 days by the sea at Banyuls-sur-Mer. Terroir, wine, food and sun!

Who would be your ideal travel companion (real or fictional, dead or alive?)
Fred Goodwin — to build and lose a FTSE 100 company? Wow. Interesting. Otherwise, [Brazilian racing driver] Ayrton Senna.

What’s on your summer reading list?
Game of Thrones; The Trouble with Europe, by Roger Bootle; The End of the World Running Club, by Adrian J Walker; and The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman.

What is your worst holiday memory?
Wales — it rained for six straight days, I caught chickenpox and we left a day early, in sunshine. Never holidaying there again, and I was 10 then!

If you had one top travel tip, what would it be?
Eat adventurously and trust the locals.

Photographs: Dreamstime

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
myFT

Follow the authors of this article