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The "Mamma Mia" church, one of many set locations that keeps calling me to Greece. Credt: Son of Groucho.

By Valerie Moloney

The summer that “Dirty Dancing” came out (1987, if you’re feeling nostalgic)my next-door neighbor and I spent the next nine months recreating the routines in our backyard and memorizing every word to “Be My Baby,” a painstaking process that involved stopping and starting my boombox until the cassette ribbon nearly snapped from being rewound so many times.

We thought we were Baby. We wore her jean shorts. We owned the same pair of Keds. And more than anything, we longed to be her swaying in Patrick Swayze’s beefy arms at the Kellerman’s Resort.

Twenty-four years later, it continues to be the film that I most associate with summer vacation. It must have been the time of my life (heyo!) for it symbolized my tween angst, my perennial girlhood crushes, my desire to escape – even if the getaway was a road trip with my family to upstate New York.

What movies make you want to go on summer vacation? Here are a few of my favorites – heavy on the chick flicks – with one crazy bromance thrown in for good measure.

1.       The Hangover
Everyone has a favorite Hangover moment: the lost baby, the tiger in the bathroom, Mike Tyson singing “In the Air Tonight” and the R-rated unmentionables. For me, it had to be the real plot opener, when the boys are doing shots on the roof of Caesars Palace (Because who hasn’t been out with their boys — or girls — raising a glass to an evening of madness?) Above a jillion lights on the Vegas Strip, it’s a given that they’re one scene closer to jail or the E.R.

2.       Beaches
Sure, Atlantic City gets very little screen time in this 80s classic, but its role in CC’s and Hilary’s relationship is what propels the story forward and builds up to the moment we all require a whole box of Kleenex. For now, let’s focus on the good times, i.e. the darling Mayim Bialik (still love you Blossom) and her BFF meeting under the boardwalk.

3.       Under the Tuscan Sun
Before Julia Roberts went to eat, pray and love, Diane Lane was getting a divorce, buying a Tuscan villa and falling in love with an American expat. Between the sunflowers, sundresses and rolling hills, it’s the perfect escape movie – especially with a bottle of vino.

4.       Mamma Mia
I  say with 100 percent confidence that there was no acting in this movie. Case in point: Pierce Brosnan, who is no singer, but like Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried and crew, was so clearly happy to be filming in Greece. You would have been, too, if your work day consisted of sailing the sparkling Skolepos waters and belting out an Abba tune while doing so.

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Valerie Moloney is a writer for Orbitz who was born in the Philippines, lived in Morocco and married a native Irishman. She now covers hotels around the world and contributes to the Orbitz blog.

Tagged: Europe, Las Vegas

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