5 Invigorating Trips to Take In Spring

//5 Invigorating Trips to Take In Spring

5 Invigorating Trips to Take In Spring

spring tripsWhen a new year starts, I usually have a good idea of what trips to take in the first quarter. 2016 was different, since I got preoccupied with moving to Paris. Now that I’m settled in, I’ve put together a list of spring trips that make me want to hit the road again.

Whether you are looking for a luxury getaway, an up-and-coming city to explore, or “meaningful travel” ideas, read on.


A few months back I did an interview with travel expert John Golicz and asked for his thoughts on emerging urban destinations. One of the first trends he mentioned was the rise of “second tier cities.”

These smaller cities in the USA, including former industrial towns, are “starting to evolve around cuisine or things that go along with cuisine, such as drinks or alcohol.” John’s hot spots are Louisville, Kentucky (where the historic Bourbon Trail begins) and Cleveland, Ohio with trendy restaurants popping up around its newly redeveloped downtown. “A great foodie place to go,” he says.

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky – where the historic Bourbon Trail begins (photo credit)


Nothing says “spring is here” like a good drive. Imagine yourself cruising on a sunny day, windows down, favorite tunes on the radio. Where would you go on a full tank of gas?

I would travel California’s Pacific Coast Highway. Designated an All American Road, PCH is one of the country’s most scenic and celebrated routes. It winds around cliffs, passes through beach towns, and lets you enjoy panoramic ocean views. When done, I’d drive back to see everything again.


If your ideal spring trips involve luxury and relaxation, then European river cruises may be for you. Sailing allows you to explore destinations and their culture at a leisurely pace – be it capital cities, riverside towns, or wine regions – while providing the comfort of a boutique hotel.

You can hop on and off the boat, or stay on board and enjoy regionally-inspired food alongside fellow passengers. And unlike grand ocean excursions, river cruises generally have a capacity of 200 people and therefore offer more privacy and quiet time.

European river cruises

How would you like to take a relaxing cruise on the Seine?


After a great experience at a travel writing retreat last year, I am encouraged to do another one. Spring, with the energy and sense of renewal it brings, seems the right time to invest in self-development. Whether your goals are personal or professional, on-the-road workshops can give you an extra boost.

What if you could wake up in a European city, drink coffee with a freshly-baked pastry, and then attend small-group sessions with like-minded individuals? Imagine walking the old town at sunset in e.g. Valencia or Ljubljana, chatting with your new friends or enjoying alone-time in a café? Beats a regular classroom anytime.

Valencia, Spain

My spring wish list includes a retreat in Europe, e.g. Valencia, Spain


Another type of “purposeful” trips to take is volunteer work, including cultural exchange programs. I recently hosted a panel discussion with industry experts titled Meaningful Travel: What, Why, How. The guests mentioned that such trips are on the rise among Millennials, families, and solo female travelers, and the trend will continue in 2016.

Listening to the panelists share their stories (e.g. teaching English in Japan and visiting fair trade artisans in India) reminded me of volunteering in Ecuador back in 2013 and how much I enjoyed getting to know the community. It also inspired me to find another program this spring.

What spring trips are on your list? Let me know in the comments below.

By | 2017-03-04T19:51:23+00:00 February 26th, 2016|STORIES|35 Comments

About the Author:

Pola Henderson is a travel writer, city explorer, expat, and event host. Traveling has been a part of her life since she was three. Pola grew up in Krakow, lived in Chicago for many years and is currently based in Paris, where she teaches Business English.


  1. avatar
    Scott Winterroth February 26, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Awesome! My friend moved to Louisville, they’re trying to get us to visit! I hear it’s got some really up-and-coming things to do.

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 29, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      Very cool! I hope you visit, Scott. An actor friend of mine did some plays in Louisville, and now I want to check out the local art scene.

  2. avatar
    ashleigh February 27, 2016 at 2:57 am

    Oh wow a writers retreat sounds fantastic! Wish I could do one, maybe one day soon:) Just off to read your other post about it haha
    ashleigh recently posted..South Island, Off the Wall Eats and ExperiencesMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 29, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      They’re great and I wish I’d thought of them earlier. :)

  3. avatar
    Arzo Travels February 27, 2016 at 5:05 am

    Such lovely ideas, I would go for a cruise right now :)

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 29, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      Good choice! It’s a really fun experience.

  4. avatar
    Vlad February 28, 2016 at 3:51 am

    I love road trips and I’m actually doing one this spring in Italy, from Rome to the Amalfi Coast and Naples. I’m super excited about it :D I’ve never done a river cruise (that lasted for more than an hour, haha), but I’d love to one day. :)
    Vlad recently posted..A Quick Guide To Concert TravelMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 29, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      You’re doing one of my dream road trips, Vlad! Have a blast.

  5. avatar
    Emma Hart | Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles February 29, 2016 at 11:39 am

    I’m not sure my spring trip fits into any of these categories but I’m heading to Nepal at the end of April. It will be a different kind of trip from anything I’ve ever done before but I’m really looking forward to it! Spring is always a great time to visit any European city too – Barcelona in particular is beautiful in the spring :)
    Emma Hart | Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles recently posted..My Word Of The YearMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 29, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      Have a great trip to Nepal, Emma! It’s one of those places I want to visit, but it’s never on the way…

  6. avatar
    Corinne February 29, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    I’m all about the road trip…it’s so soothing and rejunvenating!
    Corinne recently posted..Supreme Pampering in Budapest – Gellert Spa and BathMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 29, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      It really is! I recently drive from Chicago to Michigan and caught some great sunsets… I couldn’t stop smiling.

  7. avatar
    Erin Marie February 29, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Great ideas! I am so looking forward to my river cruise!!
    Erin Marie recently posted..Wanderer of the Week: Victoria Philpott of Vicky Flip Flop TravelsMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 29, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks. Enjoy the cruise, Erin!

  8. avatar
    craig zabransky (@StayAdventurous) March 1, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Spring trips… definitely heading back to Mexico City with Stay AdvenTours :-) But also, working on a trip inside the mind and returning to the stage to perform in a play… pretty stoke to traveling to rehearsal weekly…. it it the Upper Florida Keys Spring Play from the Keys Players…

    Stay acting, Craig
    craig zabransky (@StayAdventurous) recently posted..Travel To Mexico City, the Stay AdvenTours New 2016 Tour DatesMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around March 2, 2016 at 5:01 am

      You know Mexico City is forever one of my favorites! It would be cool to experience it on your tour one day. (And wait, you’re in a play??)

  9. avatar
    Leah March 2, 2016 at 3:19 am

    I can get behind any of these ideas. Now that you’re a fellow Parisienne, maybe we can do a few of these together.
    Leah recently posted..5 Things to know about Rosé Wine in ProvenceMy Profile

  10. avatar
    Charles McCool March 2, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Gosh, I have all of these booked, except for a writer’s retreat. It will be a busy spring. Any suggestions for a great retreat? I can easily create my own, too!
    Charles McCool recently posted..5 Fantastic Things To Do In Hagerstown MarylandMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around March 2, 2016 at 11:58 am

      The ones I know of are geared towards women, but I’ll let you know if I see something else. And 4 out of 5? Nice!

  11. avatar
    Jessica March 5, 2016 at 1:55 am

    Wow, these are great ideas! It’s a dream of mine to travel on the California’s Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible.

    • avatar
      Jetting Around March 13, 2016 at 7:40 am

      Yes! A convertible would be just perfect. :)

  12. avatar
    Jackie March 5, 2016 at 4:36 am

    A writing retreat sounds heavenly! I’ve always fancied a river cruise too. I’m going to Prague in 2 weeks and Iceland in April, after those I think I’ll need a trip somewhere warm!
    Jackie recently posted..My Travel Plans for 2016My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around March 13, 2016 at 7:39 am

      Nice travel plans, Jackie! I haven’t been to Prague in probably 10 years and would love to see it again. And don’t get me started on Iceland… :)

  13. avatar
    Amanda Williamsa March 5, 2016 at 4:43 am

    I like the thought of a travel writing retreat. You have given me some inspiration here, thank you.
    Amanda Williamsa recently posted..Independent Guide to London 2016My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around March 13, 2016 at 7:38 am

      Glad to hear that, Amanda! Feel free to contact me if you need more information. :)

  14. avatar
    Stefan March 5, 2016 at 4:46 am

    Yes – a nice Spring Retreat would be right up my alley – he he he. Amazing you volunteered in Ecuador. I did a similar project in Peru many many years ago. We’re going to both later this year, dead excited :)
    Stefan recently posted..Join us for a luxury gay cruise to the Galapagos this OctoberMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around March 13, 2016 at 7:37 am

      How cool that you volunteered in Peru, Stefan! Enjoy South America – I need to get back there soon.

  15. avatar
    Anda March 13, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Of all your suggestions one really stands out for me: Paris. I’m ready for a trip there any time. As for volunteering, I had my fare share in my youth years.
    Anda recently posted..The Weekly Postcard: Balboa Island, Newport Beach, CaliforniaMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around March 13, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      Hi Anda. Paris is my answer to (almost) everything, so I’m glad to see your note! I hope you’ll get to visit this year. :)

  16. avatar
    Ahmed March 15, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Paris, and river Seine cruise, ohh i miss it badly. Hope so soon will there again.
    Ahmed recently posted..Inspiring Beauty of The Eiffel TowerMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around March 16, 2016 at 11:18 am

      Good luck, Ahmed! I hope you’ll get to visit Paris again soon.

  17. avatar

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  18. avatar
    Aaron April 16, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Love going on road trips in the Spring. Here in the Midwest it’s time to enjoy the fresh air after staying indoors a lot in the winter months. The grass is all still green, there is still a coolness in the air and there are lots of blooming flowers to checkout. Do love your suggestion of the PCH. Magical road to be on, favorite parts being between San Francisco and Santa Cruz and then just south of Monterey in the Big Sur area.
    Aaron recently posted..Chicago: A Million Skyline Looks.My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around May 1, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      Yeah, PCH is something, isn’t it? I’d like to do another road trip in the Midwest, perhaps back to your state. :)

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