Balkan Countries (1)

What’s the Difference Between Vacation and Travel?

When you think of a new destination to explore, are you looking to vacation there… or travel? Today I’m going to talk about the difference between vacationing and traveling…and why I usually plan both.

This is an important distinction I will make on my page and you will see me use vacation and travel in different ways. For me, they are not interchangeable. I will talk about the difference between a vacation and travel to help you get a better idea of what you want out of your time away from home.

What's the difference between vacationing and traveling?
Travel essentials

What counts as traveling?

First, travel for me is something that is a bit more lightweight. I tend to pack lighter, pick more destinations and try to fit in as many excursions as possible. When I think of traveling, it’s more about sightseeing, up-and-at-’em mornings, long days, long nights, and overall as much time for me to see as much of a destination as possible. I am NOT focused on getting good quality sleep, this is NOT for me to restore my body.

There are so many ways to define getting out of your hometown… really just getting out of town in any way that you choose to leave – that’s travel. Traveling to me does not necessarily indicate a vacation. I really want to make this distinction on my page because there will be destinations I recommend you travel to, and some that you vacation to.

vacation versus traveling
The perfect place to vacation

What is vacationing?

Vacation is that R&R time. A trip that is designed and designated for your recovery from your job. A trip that gets you back to feeling normal. No agenda, and no plans, except for rest and recovery. Vacation is you on a beach, margarita in hand, getting a tan and not worrying about the next thing you have to do.

When I travel with my mom, we typically plan a vacation and add travel dates. For example, this last summer we booked an apartment in Spain for 2 weeks. In that two weeks, we booked a trip to Madrid, day trips to Barcelona and Tarragona, and then up and changed our location later to Morocco.

Our trip really constituted some serious travel, but also a lot of vacation. We gave ourselves some flexibility, some adventure, and a way to see things without sacrificing sleep. This is the BEST way to travel with your mom in my opinion!

We bought groceries, laid on the beach, read and napped as much as we wanted, and caught up on lost sleep. On the days we traveled, we packed a single backpack and ran out the door! Having both allowed us to see a lot of cool stuff, but also just sit down and enjoy the world around us.

Understanding what you want out of a trip is the MAIN component of booking anything. Decide what you want from your trip ahead of time, and plan accordingly! It will be much easier to navigate both my page and your own travel plans by making this distinction. My favorite thing to do, as I mentioned, is to book travel during a vacation.

vacationing versus traveling
Budva, Montenegro (a great place to vacation AND travel)

Best of both worlds:

Booking travel in the middle of vacation is beneficial for me for a couple of reasons. Number one, Jet lag (no explanation necessary). Number two, my extreme desire for some days to just sit and “do nothing” and enjoy the scenery. I call it acclimation, but I think my friends would just call me lazy. Anywayyyssss….

This may sound controversial, but I am a HUGE believer in living my life in sprints. I like to work very intensely for a little while, followed by a FULL on break. Like running sprints. So for me, when it’s travel time, my feet are hitting the pavement. When it’s vacation time? You cannot move me from my life of luxury! (Even if it’s just me and a towel on the beach)

Once you get to know me, you’ll see that I’m the kind of traveler who books one major thing per day, followed by culture sampling. For example, if I were to be in Paris, I would plan to see the Effiel Tower, walk around and make my way to the Louvre. I do not pack my days full of things to see and do. I will schedule one to two things I MUST do that day, and leave the rest for exploring. I’d leave my afternoon open to just wander, sit in a park and eat a baguette with a bottle of wine.

I have found that when I make my days too full, the stress of getting from location to location and staying on time makes me way more stressed than I’d like. And I don’t end up enjoying any of it. It’s why I’m a sprints kind of gal. Move, plan, shake when I need to, and also stop and smell the roses.

This is something that as an American, we are notoriously bad at. When you’re traveling, especially in Europe, part of seeing the world is observing how people live their lives. It’s always okay to slow down. Become a culture participator! It’s the best way to learn new things.

To sum it all up:

Having a clear vision for your trip will make things go smoothly. It will also help you read my page a bit easier – travel is for cheap accommodation and extracurriculars outside of your hotel/hostel. Vacation is for better accommodation and fewer activities. But I usually like to incorporate both where I can!

Check out this article on Traveling to Montenegro

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comment section below!

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