The Deal Mommy

Is There a Difference Between “Travel” and “Vacation” (Or Is It a Snobby Question)?

Arriving via Plane into the Turks and Caicos, October 2014

Arriving via Plane into the Turks and Caicos, October 2014

As I organize my thoughts after a stay at Beaches All Inclusive Resort I’m stumped as to how to frame my review. To be honest, my first instinct is to say “Beaches is a fantastic vacation, but it’s not travel”. But then I stop and think: “Whoa. That sounds snobby!”

So I’m putting it out to you: does “it’s vacation, but it’s not travel” make sense to you or just sound like I’ve been drinking too much Lonely Planet Kool Aid? How do you define the difference?


17 thoughts on “Is There a Difference Between “Travel” and “Vacation” (Or Is It a Snobby Question)?

  1. Kenny

    To me, vacation is a state of mind that can but doesn’t have to involve travel. If you woke up in D.C. one day and the next in Turks and Caicos, that’s travel. If you take time to check out of the daily routine, it’s also a vacation! The trip to an AI might not be very culturally immersive, but who cares? It’s your time and your money!

    Ideally that’s not the only kind of travel one does, but that doesn’t somehow make it ‘not travel’. Most of our vacations take place at our personal Kellerman’s – a state park two hours away. Where we sleep in a tent and love every minute of it.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Kenny, thanks for your comment. I just think there is a lot a pressure to “do” and we dont get permission to “be”.

  2. Allie

    I think of vacation as a relaxation based trip. A beach or mountain escape where you are not planning much, just taking in the activities as they come. Traveling to me is exploring a new city/state/country where there are things you want to see and in general it is much more coordinated and maybe even tiring. 🙂 I often need a vacation after I travel, but travel is what I crave. Luckily the repetition of the same beach vacation each year is what my husband craves. So there is balance.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Interesting…I felt like I needed a vacation after Disney, so I get what you mean. I’m really enjoying this conversation.

  3. Erik

    I agree…taking a vacation implies that relaxation/recreation is involved. Travel, for me, is simply the act of getting from point A to point B, regardless of the method of transport. While business travel can be relaxing, I can assure you that is not always the case, especially when the weather goes bad.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Funny you say that. A bunch of the folks on our trip got stuck in T&C on the way home and even “Paradise” turns sour when you’re trapped in an airport without air-conditioning.

  4. Joe

    I think we need a Venn diagram for the two – and people will have different areas of overlap for their individual Venn diagrams.

  5. Mike

    Sometimes people with the “I’m a traveler, not a tourist” attitude come off as snobby but I dont think your question does. I get what you mean. And I’m in agreement with Allie. Normally I like to travel, sometime I just want a vacation for a couple days. And once in a while, I enjoy a cruise.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Thanks, Mike. I think my experience at Beaches can best be equated to a high-end cruise and that’s the lens I’ll review it through.

  6. Jamie

    I don’t think it’s snobby. We’re talking about putting a trip into the correct context. You wouldn’t judge a ferrari harshly because it couldn’t tow your boat and you wouldn’t put down a F-superduty for not going zero to 60 in ?? seconds.
    My husband and I keep saying we need to book a beach vacation, where we have a place right on a relaxing beach where the kids can just play in the sand, sun and surf for like a week or at least a few days. It’s not Paris or Ulan Bator, but for us a trip like that (a “vacation” in the terminology of this post) really belongs in the mix for us.
    So, I say run with it, if using those words helps you put the trip in the right frame.

  7. Chucks

    Vacation is a trip that’s a retreat from your normal life, centered on relaxation, rest and entertainment and somewhat short. Travel is a trip that is focused on you continuing or expanding whatever it is you do. It is not a retreat and one in which you wouldn’t shirk taking on a big project. “I can’t do this, I’m on vacation” as though there’s some moral objection to doing work, is not what you say when traveling.

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