There is a common misconception that travelling and taking a holiday are the exact same thing. However, this is far from the truth. In short, I think that to travel means to explore, educate and discover yourself, while a holiday is more about an escape from your normal daily life through relaxation and unwinding of stress. This is the difference between travelling and taking a holiday, they are two very different things that both contrast each other and yet compliment each other.
When I tell my parents I have just purchased flights for a new overseas adventure they always assume I am going on a holiday. We travel often but our parents sometimes think we are being irresponsible, that we should be saving money and working. When we tell them we want to go on a holiday to wind down after returning from an epic adventure they look at us with confusion and usually reply with something like “but you just came back from a holiday!”
Our parents and many friends have the same misconceptions that when you travel you stay in fancy hotels and relax, eat out at a lot of restaurants and laze around by the pool. Most of the time, however, this is not the case. When we go overseas we hardly ever stay in fancy hotels. Most of the time we opt for three-star hotels or self-contained apartments and Airbnb rentals. The accommodation we usually stay in has no pool, isn’t fancy and often has no inclusions like free breakfast. When we travel we do what travellers do, we are out exploring as much of the region as possible, learning about history and culture.
When I think of what a holiday is I think of sitting on a beach resort, drinking cocktails or staying in a four-star or five-star hotel with breakfast included. Obviously, there are exceptions and these are generalisations but the point I am trying to make is there is a difference in the style of the trip.
Some key differences between travelling and taking a holiday.
Below is a list of some of the main things you may do when on a holiday or when you’re travelling. Not all of these things apply to both at all times. Obviously, there are exceptions, but the point I am trying to make with the list below is there is a difference in the style of the trip.
- Often travels in economy on budget airlines.
- Budget-conscious travellers
- Often travels to multiple regions of a country/countries. Trips are usually longer in length.
- Takes advantage of public transport, like trains and buses to get around and to even travel interstate and inter-country.
- Usually stays in hostels, hotels with lower star ratings or self-contained apartments.
- Eats cheap food and tries to experience local cuisines and often cooks their own meals.
- There is usually a lot of walking involved exploring an area in depth, visiting museums and going on hikes. Can be tiring and very draining physically and mentally.
- May opt for comfort with business class flights or more expensive airlines.
- Money might not be a problem
- May go to one region of a country and usually travels for a short period of time
- Uses private chauffeurs, tour buses, cruises, flights or first class trains to get around.
- Tend to stay in luxury hotels or resorts where they don’t have to do anything, it is all taken care of.
- Eats whatever they want, when they want and may have breakfast included in their hotel rate and an in-hotel restaurant open all day. Eats out at cafes and restaurants for every meal most days.
- More relaxing and less strenuous activities are undertaken
Combining both travelling and a holiday
It’s also possible to combine parts of both of these categories. This is what we often do. In 2018 Kayleigh and I went on an around the world trip where we visited about 20 countries across Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America, in three and a half months. At times we combined both categories. We flew with budget airlines, travelled on public transport in many major cities and even travelled from London to Paris on a bus. We also ate cheaper foods, cooked a lot of our own foods and did a lot of city walking and exploring free museums.
But we also used some private chauffers to get to some hotels, treated ourselves to dinner on a few occasions, including Valentines Day in Rome (very ROME-antic) and stayed in two fancy five-star hotels. At the start of our Asia trip, and then again in Europe, we were constantly on the go. We were completely drained, both physically and mentally. Our bank account was also getting quite low. We had our flights to and from Los Angeles pre-booked but we had not purchased any accommodation or chosen where we were going until three-quarters of the way through the Europe leg so we had the freedom to choose a more relaxing itinerary.
When we were deciding on what to do on our North America leg we wanted to make the trip more relaxing and less hectic. Europe burnt us out so much that we knew we weren’t going to do that again. We decided that our next stays in Los Angeles, Vancouver, Banff, Mexico City, Merida, Playa Del Carmen and Cancun were all going to be less intensive and relaxing.
We are advocates for travelling, but we also know the importance of taking a holiday to rest and unwind.