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Francie’s Summer Travel Guide

School’s out for summer (are we the only ones who sang that?) and for many families, it’s one of the few times during the year that they can get away to relax and recoup from the pressure and stress of the daily grind.

Francie Little, an Austin Portfolio Real Estate agent, has a strong passion for travel and foreign locales. From vacationing with her family as a child to continuing the tradition of travel today with her husband Gary, children and pup Baxter, Francie’s philosophy is living life to the fullest and sharing her knowledge with others.

“I have learned so much through the travels I have done the past many years,” Francie says. “As much as I love all things European, the summer is not when I want to be there. It’s hot so I declared to Gary several years back that I prefer to travel there in the spring and fall.”

So in order to help families, couples and individuals who might be planning a vacation soon, Francie has put together a guide with her summertime travel preferences that include locations much cooler than Texas and Europe.

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“There’s a saying that people move to Colorado for the winter ski season, but stay in Colorado for the summers,” Francie says. “It’s absolutely true! From the wildflowers to the mountain vistas and Alpenflow at sunset, it’s beautiful!”

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While she and her family usually visit Beaver Creek, she adores all of Colorado. The temperatures occasionally reach the 90’s but, according to Francie, it’s an arid climate so the heat factor is much less than humid weather regions.

“We love to hike the many trails in the Vail Valley and there are some fun biking trails, as well,“ she says. “And, of course, the restaurant selection is amazing, most of which have outdoor seating so one can enjoy the beautiful weather.”

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If Colorado is on your summer trip list, Francie has a few recommendations for things to do and places to go.

• In the Beaver Creek and Vail area, there are multiple opportunities for live music. The Bravo! Vail concert series has different orchestras come play at the Gerald Ford amphitheater and the performances are always fantastic.

• Also, at the amphitheater is the Hot Summer Nights every Tuesday, which offers free concerts with some really great bands such as Darius Rucker.

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While Africa does not necessarily have seasons like Texas does, they do have wet and dry seasons. According to Francie, the summer months in the United States are essentially wintertime in Africa since their dry season produces cooler temperatures.

“Our trip to Africa was an all-time high on my list of favorite travel destinations,” she says. “It’s a place I would go back to yearly if possible.”

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Packing is simple, states Francie, since the highlight of the vacation is going to be game drives. She says it makes deciding what to wear every day even more uncomplicated!

“You don’t need fancy clothes,” Francie says. “You wear the clean pants and shirt in your bag and all the safari camps have laundry service, which is nice.”

When Francie and her family traveled there, they visited six countries including Kenya, Botswana, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa, all of which they thought were fabulous in their own right.

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Other activities that Francie encourages travelers to do include:

  • Visiting Victoria Falls and do the gorge swing if you’re looking for a major adrenaline rush
  • Feeding giraffes
  • Going on a gorilla trek where Francie saw a large family with babies
  • Visiting an elephant orphanage where you can mingle with baby elephants during their playtime
  • Cruising the Chobe river
  • Taking a hot air balloon ride so you can witness the great migration
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For the fashionistas and foodies, Nantucket is a-must in the summer or early fall because of the many high-end boutiques and fantastic restaurants. Francie insists that indulging in a lobster roll is a necessity.

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With gorgeous, public beaches, those who enjoy soaking up sun rays, frolicking in the water or cruising on a sailboat will appreciate this captivating island.

“Sunset cruises are especially good because the sunsets are stunning,” Francie says.

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She also suggests:

  • Renting bicycles for the bike paths that allow you to experience everything that cannot be seen from the road
  • If you prefer exploring on foot, there are numerous hiking trails to enjoy
  • Learning about the town’s rich history through a guided or self-guided walking tour
  • Going whale watching