The Difference Between a Trip and a Vacation

The Difference Between a Trip and a Vacation

There are some people who just know how to truly relax. I haven't always been one of them but this summer I've been on a mission to understand what it means to work hard and play even harder.

After about a decade of taking numerous "vacations" with my family, only to come back feeling more exhausted, drained and "over it" than I was before I left, I had an a-ha moment last year. It was sparked by one of my dearest friends. In the post-mortem recap of my long-awaited summer vacation to California--the vacation I'd longed for since we were taking my son to Disneyland for the first time--after five minutes of my complaining, my friend turned to me and said, "Oh I get it...you took a trip, not a vacation." 

And it was like BOOM. That's it! I've taken about 30 trips over the past 10 years, spending God-knows how much money and experiencing let down after let down. A true vacation, the kind that involves tiny umbrella-clad drinks and sandy beaches, has eluded me for most of my adult life. In order to change the narrative of living an exhausted life, I identified 3 red flag statements I make when planning a vacation that quickly turn my time away from home into just another trip. I implemented these tips on my trip this summer to the Dominican Republic and it made a world of difference so I've shared them with you below in hopes they will sound the alarm in your own vacation planning.

There are no shortcuts to a good time.
  1. "I'll just knock out a little bit of work while I'm away."
    NOPE. This is trip territory my friend. Whenever we start planning even a small amount of work to complete while we're away, we're on a fast track to feeling depleted upon the return. Live dangerously...relax. 
  2. "Let's cut out (insert beloved activity or an extra day or easier travel means) to save a few bucks."
    If we're scrimping to make it happen, it might be a trip because we're already in the mindset of limiting ourselves on the amount of fun to be had. I'm not suggesting one become financially irresponsible, but let's live a little. There are no shortcuts to a good time.
  3. "We always go to (insert routine destination)."
    This one is borderline. While we can definitely have repeat fun, such as when a family has a traditional summer beach trip or a regular winter retreat we anticipate all year long, if we're making travel plans to the same tired destination each time with no plans to experience the location in a new way, we might be setting ourselves up to feel bored and depleted on our return. New stimulation sparks creativity and gets the intellectual and emotional aspects of our replenishment cycle in gear. 

Now, how about you? Do you know the difference between a real getaway and an annual trip? What are your trip-taking habits you can identify now to save your vacation later? Grab my free "Trip Dream Guide" to help you think through your next big adventure. It provides some wonderful planning essentials to help you push your trip into true vacation territory.