There is a difference between holidays vs travelling. Then there is a further difference between touring, backpacking and “Travel – living like a local“, the latter being the option we’ve selected.
Let me explain in a little more detail, and define how I see the differences between holidays vs travelling. If you want to miss all the comparison and scroll to the bottom, you’ll find my favourite style “Living like a local” at the end:
- Holiday. Generally 1 or 2 weeks. Main aim is relaxation and rest. Normally to 1 or 2 destinations. Activities are often planned. These are often sold as packages: flight & hotel, hotel & car, all inclusive etc.
- Mini-break. A newcomer to the travel world becoming more popular. Fly to a city, spend a few days there, fly back. Go, see, conquer, tick off the list of destinations you’ve been to.
- Travelling. Longer journeys. Main aim is usually to understand places better. There is an assumption that travellers move around a lot more to enable them to get a deeper insight into the areas they are travelling to. The outline travel plan is generally known, but the journey is not mapped out fully.
Also read: How to live like a local in Discovery Bay
- Backpacking. A type of travelling. Because people are moving around a lot, they carry their gear in a backpack to enable them to navigate any type of terrain. Travel plans are generally fluid. Backpackers tend to gather together, travel together and because it mostly attracts the young, party together. Problem is, backpackers often travel the ‘backpacker trail’, a well worn path, following the journeys of those before them, as that makes this type of trip easier. Part of the reason for this, is that these routes have been westernised (read: full english breakfasts, Irish Bars etc), making it a much easier transition from home comforts to the foreign and the unknown.
- Hardcore intrepid travel. Not for the feint-hearted. These are a subset of backpackers. They are looking for the ‘real’ experience, want to tread where no-one has trodden before, want to experience all things unique, and will endure anything for the rush that brings.
- Touring. This is a hybrid between travelling and backpacking. More mature, more sophisticated, or less intrepid travellers want to see the world, but don’t fancy throwing on a backpack to see it, and often don’t have the time needed for a long-term journey. Touring companies are there to help, you can get yourself booked onto a range of trips, from cruising to bus trips, intrepid or eco-tourism holidays. They are generally fast paced, packed with sightseeing, activities and experiences. Downside is: sometimes you arrive back home so exhausted, you’ll feel like you need a holiday.
Also read: Travel – Living like a local
- Family visits. These trips masquerade as holidays, but don’t always give you the down-time you need. As the world has become smaller, and people living around the country or world, there are often trips planned back ‘home’. But they are generally peppered with stressful activities like, helping family members with admin, chores, moving. They often include trips to the family dentist, doctor or accountant. Visits to the bank to try and sort out bank accounts, investments or resolve issues. Always great to see the family, but don’t provide the rest you expected.
- Living like a local. Ah-ha, now we come to my holidays of choice. This holiday style does what it says on the tin. Experiencing a country, as far as possible, as a local living there would be experiencing it. One glaringly obvious difference: work. We aren’t working, but we can just pretend we’re on early retirement. This often means not living near the tourist attractions and not even always living in the most picturesque areas. You’re shielded from the tourist tat, the manufactured tourism, and you experience the real place. I like that. I like it so much, I have dedicated a whole separate article to it. You can read it about Living like a local here.
I don’t think there is a wrong or a right way to travel or holiday. Each to their own in the holidays vs travelling stakes. Some people choose all-inclusive holidays in holiday resorts where they can lie by a pool all day, others want to conquer a mountain, others again love the glamour of cruising. No-one is right, and no-one is wrong. It’s a very personal choice. One’s holiday heaven is another’s holiday hell.