"Ethel, how do you say 'We're from Queens' in British?"
James Lipton: In that picture.. Kelly's grandfather invites the entire gang to Hawaii for summer holiday.
Dustin Diamond: Yes! The thing about that-
James Lipton: [interrupting] They expect a marvelous time at the beach, sans Mr. Belding. They arrive.. and discover Mr. Belding is there as well, don't they?
Yes! Yes, he is! [cracking up] They didn't think he was gonna be there, but he is! That's the twist part! [laughs]
In an ongoing series that normally takes place in a few fixed locations, the Vacation Episode
is a one-off episode where the characters leave their familiar grounds for a well-deserved rest. The vacation will invariably be set in a faraway and exotic location for maximum impact; given the higher costs of shooting on location, the episode will often be longer than usual
, to make best use of the budget. A Special Guest
or three might also be included. Expect some jokes at the expense of the city, country or people visited, targeting National Stereotypes
, funny foreigners
or a Culture Clash
between our protagonists and the foreigners. When jokes are made at the expense of the protagonists' own nation or culture it's My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting
May overlap with other types of episodes depending on the destination; for instance, a Vacation Episode
to Hawaii will inevitably also be a Beach Episode
. It may also turn out to be a Busman's Holiday
. Occurs in lots of anime, often as a Beach Episode
Also see Christmas Episode
, Beach Episode
, Road Trip Plot
, Hot Springs Episode
, and the Episodes
index. Parent trope to Aloha Hawaii
and Viva Las Vegas
. Add Horror
and it becomes a Deadly Road Trip
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Astérix: Not really vacations, but Asterix and Obelix travel sometimes to other countries for one album, giving the creators a chance to reference various aspects of the local culture and poke fun at National Stereotypes. They're usually there on a mission, but still act as tourists most of the time.
Live Action TV
- After the first few seasons, Friends began a pattern of making every season finale a two-parter vacation episode.
- Although with the exception of the London episode(s), most of these were filled with California Doubling.
- The Brady Bunch
- The Season 3 premiere was a three-part trip to the Grand Canyon, with gold mining, ghost towns, and Jim Backus as a crazed prospector.
- Season 4 started with a three-part family trip to Hawaii, where the kids toured the local beaches, got involved with a cursed tiki, and ran into Don Ho and Vincent Price.
- In the final season, one episode took place almost entirely at King's Island, a Theme Park near Cincinnati, Ohio.
- I Love Lucy
- The show had an entire vacation Story Arc that ate most of the fourth season and leaked into the fifth. It pretty much inflated every aspect of this trope to fit — especially, since it was a trip to Hollywood, the Special Guest part.
- Also later in the fifth season, the tour through Europe.
- Family Ties has the TV movie Family Ties Vacation where the Keatons went to Englandnote .
- Malcolm in the Middle
- Subversion: one entire episode was built around the family stuck in a traffic jam on their way to the vacation.
- Played Straight: the previous episode was them at a water park. The traffic jam episode was the drive home. And the B-plot with Dewie was a 2-parter.
- Another played straight, but also played 'with': Malcolm and Reese try to snealk off to 'Burning Man' only to be caught by their parents...who decide it sounds like a delightful family vacation. Reese embraces the spirit of Burning Man, Lois does to yet still acts like its a family fun time, Malcolm gets into it in a sense but can't completely let go, Hal tries to act like its any other vacation but his conservative nature and hatred of the free spirited nature of the festival makes him hole up in the RV (the other people thinking he's making a live art piece about pretenciousness, and Dewey....is forced to do everything Hal doesn't want to.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch had a two or three part season finale in some sort of beach resort.
- Also, an episode at Disney World.
- Married... with Children
- There were three episodes (actually, a three-part episode) in England (ironically, the series wasn't running on British TV at the time!).
- And the two-parter in picturesque Dumpwater FL.
- Scrubs, Season 8, episodes 14-15. No sharks were jumped, literally at any rate.
- Blossom kicked off a season with a five-episode storyline (basically a TV movie, which was how it was originally shown) in Paris.
- The Movies of certain seventies Brit Coms, for instance Are You Being Served? (Spain), Holiday On The Buses (holiday camp) and Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads (caravanning). More recent examples are the Harry Enfield and Chums movie Kevin & Perry Go Large (Ibiza) and The Inbetweeners Movie (Crete).
- The TeenNick shows tend to have one every year.
- Hannah Montana also has one every year.
- Full House had episodes of the family going to Hawaii and Walt Disney World.
- Modern Family does this (roughly) Once a Season: in five years the family have visited Hawaii, a Wyoming ranch, Disneyland, Palm Springs and Las Vegas. It's usually made a point that vacation episodes of the show are filmed on location, and are often double episodes or season premieres/finales.
- Head of the Class had the class go to Moscow, the first American show to film there.
- Sesame Street had a series of episodes where the characters went to Puerto Rico to visit Maria's family. Also, there were one-hour specials like Big Bird in China and Big Bird in Japan.
- Roseanne had an episode where Dan and Roseanne go to Vegas, featuring nonstop gambling and a visit with Wayne Newton (and a Wayne Newton impersonator). Another episode featured a trip to Walt Disney World.
- The Jeffersons went to Hawaii in a four-part episode arc.
- Saved by the Bell
- The series finale has Zack and Kelly married in Las Vegas.
- An earlier episode has Kelly's grandpa inviting everyone to his hotel in Hawaii for summer vacation.
- Jon And Kate Plus Eight went to Hawaii to renew their wedding vows.
- Season 3 of My Wife and Kids started with a three-part episode in Hawaii, with stops in New York, Chicago, Denver and other cities before they arrived (two days later).
- The Spanish dramedy Aquí no hay quien viva had one that doubles as both a Beach Episode and a Pool Episode.
- In season 3 of Boy Meets World, Topanga wins a trip to Disney World. Cory follows her to make up with her.
- Step by Step had two of these: one in Hawaii and one at Disney World.
- The Monkees episode "The Monkees in Paris" where the guys walk off the set tired of the same old scripts and go to Paris.
- Gossip Girl season four sees Blair and Serena enjoy their summer vacation in Paris.
- Subverted in a first season episode of Criminal Minds. It starts with the team getting time off and Elle and Morgan going to Jamaica (?). They promptly discover a dead body and the rest of the team is called in.
- Home Improvement had two, one where the Taylor family goes to a lake house, and one where Tim, Jill, Al, Heidi and Wilson go on a rafting trip for Tim's birthday.
- The Late Late Show spent a week in Paris, with Craig Ferguson and Kristen Bell visiting popular tourist destinations and eating dinner with Jean Reno.
- Late Show with David Letterman spent a week in London (which also marked the only time the series has seen the light of British terrestrial television - BBC2 aired those episodes). Johnny Carson and Bill Maher also had UK jaunts.
- Steve and the kids win a trip to Universal Studios Orlando on The Steve Harvey Show. Regina tags along because she's always wanted to ride The Hulk rollercoaster, and Cedric uses the trip to give Lovita a honeymoon.
- In the second-season 2 Broke Girls episode "And the Bear Problem", Caroline, Max and Andy go on a weekend trip to a cabin.
- Bravo always sends The Real Housewives on at least one group trip for drama and hijinx.
- Emergency! had "Welcome to Santa Rosa County", where the paramedic duo tried to go on a fishing trip in another California county, but work followed them.
- Barnaby Jones had a "Nightmare In Hawaii" in the final season, where J.R. (not that one) was framed for murder. This episode averted California Doubling by being filmed in the 50th state (this being a CBS show, that was to be expected).
- In season two of The Golden Girls, Dorothy, Rose and Blanche visit an unnamed Banana Republic country, and wind up stranded on what appears to be a Deserted Island.
- Episode 3 of Llamas with Hats: Carl enjoys himself rather more than Paul does...
- Word of God has said that after the first one, the commercial specials are done whenever The Nostalgia Critic is in need of a break from proper reviewing.
- The Ni Hao, Kai-Lan episode, "Ni Hao's Trip to China" is a textbook example. It's a double-length episode where everyone visits Kai-lan's great-aunt in China, tries various new things, and meet a newborn baby panda.
- Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, where all the Tiny Toon Adventures characters leave Acme Looniversity for various vacation-related hijinx.
- The Simpsons
- The Simpsons have visited many locations over the years, usually because of a quest, a mission or some incident, but they still act like tourists while being there, visiting the country's hot spots, and meeting the locals. All while the creators have fun referencing all the stuff that particular location is (in)famous for, with National Stereotypes included. Examples of such episodes where usually a large part of the plot is travel related:
- Before they had gone everywhere on the planet they had one of these where they went to the beach for a week, using Flanders's beach house.
- Early in the first season, they rented an RV and went camping. It crashed down a cliff at the end of act one, leaving the Simpsons stranded in the woods.
- An episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends deconstructs the "packing up and getting to the airport" part of a vacation, much to the dismay of those who were expecting "Foster's Goes To Europe" to, well, go to Europe.
- Chowder 's "The Vacation" occupies its time with Chowder getting stuck in Mung Daal Catering's bathroom and the others trying to get him out.
- That episode of Cow and Chicken that spends its entire runtime on a plane... that turns out hasn't even taken off yet.
- One "Thunder Lizards" segment on Eek The Cat was about Bill and Scooter actually inventing the concept of a vacation.
- The Rugrats did a couple vacation episodes, as well as a vacation movie.
- American Dragon Jake Long: Jake Long will always have some magical emergency even during what would otherwise be vacation episodes.
- "The Long Weekend": His Dad took him into a camping trip, where Jake ended up having to save a village of sprites.
- "Feeding Frenzy": The Longs were visiting relatives in Florida and a gang of magical sharks caused mayhem.
- "The Hong Kong Longs": The Longs went to Hong Kong for a two-week vacation. It was also the time for all dragons on Earth to meet at Victoria Peak and the Dark Dragon captured Lao Shi to force Jake to slip a mind-controlling potion to control all dragons. This was also the only episode of the series to have no scene in America.
- SpongeBob SquarePants did a whole series of vacation episodes.
- Animaniacs had a song called "I'm Mad!" where they go on a car trip.
- The children's channel Noggin had a song called "Are We There Yet?", about how exciting a vacation can be.
- Older than Television: The Tom and Jerry episode "Neapolitan Mouse" features Tom and Jerry on vacation in Naples, Italy.