8 Reasons Why Traveling Is NOT The Same As Vacation (You Won’t Believe #6!)

…alright, you will believe number 6… I just wanted to have a headline like all those ridiculous articles that you see on Facebook that you feel compelled to read. If you don’t believe me, feel free to scroll down to number 6 to see for yourself.

It feels good to be on vacation. I just left a beautiful resort on Waya Island in Fiji and am now on Bounty Island, where you can circumambulate the entire island in 30 minutes. It’s beautiful and extremely relaxing. My big decision today was whether I wanted to snorkel or kayak (hint: I did both).

I am on vacation right now and I love it. Before I know it, I will be back to traveling through New Zealand. Here’s 8 reasons why traveling and

1. Trip Duration

VacationAhh, vacation time in the United States is a curious thing. The US doesn’t require employers to give paid vacation time or paid holidays. In fact, you’re lucky if you get a couple of weeks that you can use during Christmas or Thanksgiving for an extended weekend. Because of this, your vacation is probably only a week or two, depending on what you’ve finagled with your employer.

Traveling: I’ve met a lot of travelers who have simply quit their current jobs so that they could travel. They’ve been traveling for months or even years. One friend that I met (that’s you, Ray!) was traveling on and off for five years.

Other people get working visas where they can stay for extended amount of time and work simultaneously. When I fell in love with Australia, and I seriously considered doing the same thing.

It’s because of this that, as a traveler, you really get to know the heart of the countries that you’re in. You learn about the people, their culture, and what has shaped it. Your schedule isn’t dictated by the amount of time that you have there; instead, it’s dictated by what you feel when you’re there.

2. Luggage

VacationYou pack your biggest suitcase that has four wheels and is ergonomically created so that it never tips over. You pack its matching carry-on companion, your fanciest purse, and a neck pillow, because, you’re not a barbarian.

Traveling: You get an 80-liter backpacking pack that will hold all the clothes you’ll need for the next months or years of traveling. You know that you’ll have to carry your bag everywhere and will be traveling to places with poor infrastructure. Wheeled bags will slow you down and look ridiculous.

Your life is on your back and you’re ready to carry it wherever the wind may take you.

3. Packing

Vacation: We all know that packing for vacation is a nightmare because you want to pack everything. You bring your night cream, day cream, a few pairs of sunglasses, 8 pairs of shoes, scarves, hats, socks, belts, and any other random thing that you might need.

Going to the Carribbean for a week? You’re probably bringing a parka because, well, you never know what the weather will be like.

Traveling: You bring just enough underwear to last you before you’re forced to do laundry. If you run out of clean underwear, you wear your bathing suit. You pack one pair of sensible shoes because you’ll be walking everywhere, and one pair of comfortable sandals.

If you’re traveling across different climates, you pack clothes that will keep you warm and also clothes that will keep you cool. You’re less worried about fashion than you are with clothes that are lightweight, versatile, and packable. You bring clothes that will get ruined, stained, or lost… and you’re okay with that.

4. Accommodation

Vacation: Five-star hotels, all-inclusive resorts, and luxury cruises, all equipped with room service, housekeeping that puts chocolates on your pillow, private bathrooms with Jacuzzis, and televisions that nobody ever watches. Staff members are constantly waiting on you, carrying your bags, or asking if you would like a refill.

When you get to your room, you’re disappointed that the hair dryer isn’t powerful enough or they only give you one bottle of shampoo. The lobby, hallways, and rooms, are all air-conditioned. There are extra blankets and pillows in the closet, which also houses a safe for your valuables, an ironing board and iron, and a luxurious robe.

Traveling: You find the cheapest hostel with relatively high ratings on budget accommodation sites like hostelbookers.com or hostelworld.com. You book the dorm room for a few reasons: it’s easy to meet people and it’s so much cheaper than a private room.

You sleep in one room with 20 other people with 2 toilets. You’re packed in tightly, the room is hot, and you might have to pay extra for air conditioning.

The mattresses are hard. The pillows are lumpy. The blankets are thick when you want them to be thin. There’s zero privacy and you have a tough time sleeping because the person in the bunk above you keeps moving around.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have a locker in your room where you can put your valuables (but make sure you brought your own lock). Don’t forget to bring your own shampoo and soap. Oh yeah, and towels cost extra for rental and they will be harsh and abrasive against your skin. When you check out, you have to take the sheets off of your bed (just like you had to make your own bed when you arrived).

5. Transportation

VacationYou travel in style. You fly to your destination and if your hotel doesn’t have airport pickup, you hail a taxi. Traveling is easy and fast, and the cost doesn’t matter as much as convenience.

Traveling: You walk everywhere. If something is too far to walk to, that is, it’s further than 2 or 3 miles, then you take the local bus. Taxis are a last-case-scenario that should only be used in the most dire of situations.

The question is never “how do I get there?” Instead, it’s “what’s the cheapest way to get there?” even if that means that your travel time is exponentially increased.

6. Food

VacationYou indulge in fancy food and eat out at nice restaurants. Midnight buffet? Sure, why not. You’re probably eating constantly and the food is delicious. You’re often stuffed from eating excessively. Restaurants that you go to are clean, have passed health inspections, and highly rated online.

You drink the fancy cocktails with the creatively cute names, because why not? You’re on vacation!

Traveling: You eat literally anything that comes your way; any semblance of a diet is out the window. You’re too poor to go to the fancy restaurants, so you eat street food, find back alley dives, and buy groceries at the store to keep costs low.

The food (in my opinion) is probably better and more authentic at these types of places than at the upscale restaurants.

7. Entertainment

VacationYou check with your hotel’s concierge to see what they recommend. There’s a show tonight at 7:30 and tickets are on sale for a mere $140 each. What a steal! You buy tickets for your whole family.

Traveling: You ask one of the other 20 people in your dorm what they recommend, ideally something cheap. You also do some searching online to see what is available for a budget. You probably opt for the free activity and you are probably going to walk there (see the Transportation section).

8. Hygiene

VacationDay cream, night cream, hairspray, hair dyer, flat iron, curling iron, lotion, face lotion, makeup, perfume, etc. Those are just a few of the items that you’ve brought with you that you will be using on vacation. You look great, smell great, feel great.

Traveling: You go days without brushing your hair; sometimes you realize it and sometimes you don’t. Deodorant, while a good idea in practice, is not always applied. Perfume is strictly avoided because you don’t want to attract bees or mosquitoes.

You appreciate the fact that it’s been weeks since you last wore makeup or shaved. You’ve grown accustomed to not looking in the mirror and not caring what your hair looks like. You are indifferent because you’re traveling and you’re not here to impress anyone.

Well folks, I think that’s just about it for me today. I’m going to enjoy the rest of my night and prepare for my full day tomorrow that consists of reading, beach lounging, snorkeling, and perhaps some hammocking. Goodnight from Fiji!

 

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