Trip Planning: Travel Genres

When my friends ask me about planning travel, the first question I ask back is: “Well, what are you looking for?” For some people this is really obvious but here’s what I mean – are you looking for a vacation, a trip or an adventure? Let me explain how I use each of these genres.


Vacation: This is the most classic type of travel. Most of early travel would be put into this genre. A vacation to me is a holiday where the primary purpose is relaxation. You pick a location and stay there. This doesn’t make vacations boring – but just more slow paced. It also is a lot easier to plan a vacation – one hotel, one flight, maybe one rented car – it’s one stop shopping.

When I was young, every year we went to Lake of Bays, Ontario for a week or two of reading, board games, swimming, kayaking, and shopping in the tiny nearby towns. Similarly, I think holidays that center around a beach, mountain, ocean or lake sort of fall into this genre. You can also get a really amazing vacation out of a single city destination.

I also think of vacations as happening within a finite period – like when your children have time off from school. You go on your vacation and then you return to your everyday life immediately.


Retreat: A retreat to me is very similar to a vacation except it might be shorter term and with a goal of disconnecting from your everyday life. This might include spa holidays, yoga retreats or just renting a cabin and staying on your own. Retreats are like vacations where you focus on self care.


Trip: For me, trips are more work than vacations to plan and to execute. I think of trips as having flexible dates, more moving around and defintiely more than one location. When I started solo traveling, I would take lots of fast paced trips around Europe like so many other young people.

To plan a trip, you may have to coordinate multiple accomodations, modes of transport and activities. This doesn’t necessarily mean that trips are more expensive (in general I’ve found that my trips are in fact the least expensive genre of travel).

As much as I love a good trip, sometimes you get back home and think that you really could use a vacation.


Adventure: an adventure is the most physically and sometimes mentally draining of my genres of travel. Not only do I think of lots of demanding activities as being part of an adventure but also sometimes the destination is a bit challenging. You may do more adreniline pumping activities like hiking, climbing, spelunking, rafting, kayaking and horseback riding.

I think of adventures as having a distinct focus on nature and therefore the destinations might be a little more remote. The one time I would say I took a true adventure was when we took students to Costa Rica. I would say a lot of travel throughout Central and South America as well as Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Africa would probably qualify as more of adventure territory.

So those are my four main genres of travel. Whenever I plan a trip, I start with what kind I’m looking for. Sometimes – it’s more than one. Do you have a favorite genre of travel? I would probably have said trip when I was younger but as I get older – I’m all about the vacation. Let me know your thoughts below!

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