The Difference Between Travel & Vacation

Growing up, I didn’t realize that there IS a difference between traveling and vacationing. It wasn’t until I visited Greece that I really learned this understanding.

Up until that point in my life (mid 2013), I had always associated the two as one in the same. But then again, my experience of seeing the world was somewhat confined to Caribbean island resorts and cruise ships with my fear-of-flying mother (she’s still terrified of flying).

Now don’t get me wrong, these types of family vacations are completely enjoyable in and of themselves… but getting off the beaten path in Greece – exploring this exotic place, eating new foods, meeting lots of different people and adapting to the curve balls that happen as you venture outside your comfort zone (and off your itinerary) – that was traveling for me.


It’s safe to say that I’ve been “traveling” ever since then. From Greece and on to many other countries in Europe and North America… getting lost in Ibiza, making friends in Cuba, conquering fears in Canada. I haven’t stopped traveling for a solid four years.

I live and breathe the excitement of discovering a new destination. The go-go-go of seeing and doing as much as I possibly can in the smallest amount of days I can spare away from my desk.

But guess what? I finally took a real vacation, and it was everything I didn’t know I needed.

difference between travel and vacation

Visiting Cabo San Lucas, Mexico this past weekend was not my average adventure.

This was not a work trip – there were no PR responsibilities or clients to impress.

This was also not a writing trip – there were no assignments or editors to pitch.

There were no real responsibilities – like social media posting requirements or recording for The Podcast (wink wink, stay tuned!).

Mexico was pure relaxation. No pressure to do anything except to do nothing and enjoy the weightlessness.

real vacation

It rejuvenated me in so many ways. It was like my body or my mind or the universe knew I needed it.

I came back from Mexico rested and ready. Despite it taking 2 flights, 7 hours and an arrival back in New York at 11:30pm, I was up and at ’em on Monday morning.

I feel inspired. The words are flowing, the ideas are coming quickly, my fingers can’t even keep up. And all this made me realize just how important it is to take a true vacation every so often.

Disconnect from the responsibilities, from the sharing, from the checklist.

I told myself it’s okay to sit by the pool for three days straight, just soaking up the Mexican sun and sipping down the mezcal margaritas.

Resting the mind as much as resting the body.

I realize some people are fortunate enough to seamlessly blend vacations and traveling into one. But most of us dive head first into traveling with an itinerary of some sort – whether it’s vague or detailed. A laundry list of suggestions and recommendations and places that we must visit.

I’m right there with you. 90% of my travel adventures are exploratory, immersive, and curated.

But every once in awhile, it’s not a bad idea to throw the itineraries to the wind and spend a few days on vacation.