How to Write a "What I Did On My Vacation" Essay

Vacation essays tell a story

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Are you required to write an essay about your summer vacation or your holiday break? This can be a tough assignment to tackle at first glance. But if you think about it, there are lots of interesting things that happen on your vacation that others might enjoy reading about. The key to success is to zero in on the experiences, people, or situations that made your vacation unique.

Summer vacation can be busy or lazy, funny or serious.

You may have traveled with your family, worked every day, fallen in love, or coped with a difficult situation. To start your essay, you'll need to choose a topic and tone.

Family Vacation Essay Topic Ideas

If you traveled with your family, you may have some great stories to tell. After all, every family is crazy in its own way. Want some proof? How many Hollywood films have themes about family holidays or trips? Those films are popular because they enable us to glimpse inside the crazy family lives of others. Alternatively, you may have a more serious story to tell.

Consider these funny topics:

  • Why I'll Never Go Back to (insert place name)
  • How (insert name) Drove Me Crazy in Five Days
  • Traveling to (insert city) Then and Now
  • The Hazards of Traveling With a (person or thing)
  • Why You Shouldn't Take a Dog to (insert place)
  • I Left (insert city) But My (lost item) Stayed
  • Why I Couldn't Sleep in (place name)

    If your family vacation involved something more serious, think about one of these topics:

    • The Love I Left Behind in (insert place)
    • Saying Good-Bye to (insert person or place)
    • Exploring (place's) Secrets
    • An Emotional Trip

    Summer Job Essay Topic Ideas

    Not everyone gets to spend the summer having fun; some of us have to work for a living.

    If you spent your summer at a job, chances are you met a lot of interesting characters, dealt with complicated situations, or even saved the day once or twice. Here are some ideas for summer job topics:

    • The Boss's Day Off
    • The Customer From Hell
    • What I Learned from My Customers
    • Why I'll Never Go Into the ___ Business
    • Six Things I Learned on the Job

    How to Write the Essay

    Once you've chosen your topic and your tone, think about the story you want to tell. In most cases, your essay will follow a typical story arc:

    • The hook (the funny, sad, or scary sentence that grabs the reader's attention)
    • The rising action (the beginning of your story)
    • The climax (the most exciting moment in your story)
    • The denouement (the aftermath or ending to your story)

    Start by writing out the basic outline of your story. For example, "I started cleaning a guest's room, and found that they'd left behind a wallet with $100 in cash. When I turned it in without taking a single dollar for myself, my boss rewarded me with a $100 gift certificate and a special award for honesty."

    Next, start fleshing out the details. What was the room like? What was the guest like? What did the wallet look like and where was it left? Were you tempted to just take the money and turn in the wallet empty?

    How did your boss look when you handed her the wallet? How did you feel when you got your reward? How did others around you react to your honesty?

    Once you've told your story in all its detail, it's time to write the hook and conclusion. What question or thought can you use to grab your reader's attention? For example: "What would you do if you found a wallet loaded with cash? That was my dilemma this summer."