Travel vs Vacation: How to know the difference

Machu pichu

To understand this post, you must understand we are strange.  We really are.  We have been meaning to put down our thoughts on this topic for some time….We aren’t trying to make a judgment call, rather explain ourselves a little.  You’ve heard of 1000 Fights’ travel plans based on crazy detailed spreadsheets and timetables.  We map out activities and restaurants timed down to the millisecond. Yes, we are Type A planners.  We are over the top and take our travel time extremely seriously. It takes a lot of effort to get us on the road (getting off work, babysitters, plant waters) that once we go; we want to make the most of it. We usually plan our adventures a year out.   Our planning rivals many military campaigns!  People have said to us, “your vacations look a lot like work!”.  They would be right, we don’t vacation….we travel.

What’s the difference?

couple walking1000 Fights “Travel” Definition: Where one goes to a foreign place to see and experience a different way of living.  The primary purpose of traveling is to expose oneself to a new culture, cuisine, ideas, ect.

1000 Fights “Vacation” Definition: One takes a break from their normal activities to vacate from every day experiences. The primary purpose is to relax physically and mentally.  Vacations can occur in a foreign place or in their hometown AKA “Stay-cation.”

Which is better? There is no one perfect answer. Sometimes your soul needs to travel and other times your body needs a vacation.  From a few fights (or a 1000 of them), the Fighting Couple has discovered that you can have both with proper planning, of course. In our recent vacation to Thailand, we packed in a lot of activities, while also taking time to vacate.  This gave us the best of both worlds, gaining the intellectual stimulation that true travel can offer while letting the body recover.

We try to have our cake and eat it to.  One of the best things to do when planning is to build into your schedule one day where nothing is planned. Give yourself a “vacation” from your “traveling”.  Schedule a free day at the end of each of your travel segments. For instance, if you are spending five days in London, plan four days, and keep the last day free.  Splurge and go for a massage in London.  That way you can let your body catch up. When 1000 Fights went to Cusco, Peru, we kept a day free and were able to get some much needed rest and a massage to ease the tension from hiking and altitude.

woman massageIf you need to plan your free day, do some advance work on quality spas in the area and look for some spa day offers in advance. That way it’s scheduled (which calms the spreadsheet obsessed husband) and gives you something to look forward to as your husband runs you at Olympic speeds from museum to museum.  For the guys, hitting the golf course might hit the spot.  At times, having a little down time makes the rest of the travels more meaningful.

The fruits of a good vacation are so valuable.  Your body and mind are recharged.  The result of a positive travel experience is your soul is educated and invigorated.  So whether you choose to travel or vacation or a little or a lot of both, make sure you plan so you can get the most out of whichever method is in your future.

So what is your preference?  Do you prefer a week on a white sand beach with an “umbrella” drink in hand?  Or does the thought of hiking the Inca trail in the quest of ancient Peruvian ruins appeal to you?  Leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear your take.

2 Responses to Travel vs Vacation: How to know the difference

  1. A Nomadic Translator August 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    “To understand this post, you must understand we are strange. We really are.”

    ^^ that made me LOL. I believe only long-term travelers can truly understand this post, for sure. Those that work all year and only take a two-week break every 365 days will always see travel and vacation as the same thing.

    For the rest of us who lead unconventional lifestyles, however… You got it ;)

    – Maria Alexandra

  2. 1000 Fights September 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    Maria-It is great having someone be able to understand just how crazy we are!