Thursday, January 6, 2011

Holiday or Vacation?

At this time of the year these two words are favorites:


  • Are they exact synonyms?

  • When do we use one and not the other?

  • What kinds of holiday/vacation are there?

Let's start with the last question first:

Have you ever been on a busman's holiday? It's when you do exactly the same thing you normally do at work. This is my case this year. During my holiday/vacation, what am I doing? What I usually do - teaching?
I'm on a busman's holiday!

Here are some other types. Can you name them all? (The answers are at the end of this post)

What about the other two questions? Are holiday and vacation the same? When do I use one and not the other?

The difference is between American English and British English. (Observe the colours)

Vacation is the same as Holiday.

A holiday or public holiday is the same as a bank holiday.

The holidays is the period of Christmas, Hannukah and the New Year's.

Vacation is when universities are closed for students.

To finish, a few more questions:
  1. What is your idea of a fun-filled holiday/vacation?
  2. Have you ever had a disaster holiday/vacation?
  3. Do you usually plan your holiday/vacation?
  4. What is the best time of the year to take a holiday/vacation?
  5. What in your opinion would be a dream holiday/vacation?
  6. Do you like taking a staycation - a holiday or vacation at home?

Key to images (from left to right):
adventure holiday; camping holiday, family holiday
package holiday; staycation; overseas holiday


Bárbara said...

U rule, stephan! Great post, as usual.

Angela said...

Interesting questions, Stephan!Just in time ! (I`m back from Chile)

My idea of a fun-filled vacation ?
A fun-filled holiday/vacation for me must include travelling.
No matter if it`s a short trip to a place near Rio or if it`s a long trip overseas.
I love travelling! Trips mean adventure, relaxation and enjoyment at the same time. Someone once said that “Travelling is like changing the soul clothes”.
In fact, the enjoyment starts with the trip planning. A perfect holiday should include some time for planning : maps, leaflets, travel guides, money- exchange and packing. I read that the measure of a good traveller is how light he travels. I try to pack light. ( not always succeed).
It`s quite impossible to estimate the amount of information we get in a single trip: different scenery, different people, habits, food and drink, language, currency...
That`s fascinating!
The best investment in life!

Anonymous said...


I don't know if the fun of traveling starts with the planning of the trip; it's a necessary part of it all, but if I could, I would just travel and worry about the details when I get to my destination.

Angela says traveling is like changing the clothes of the soul; I say traveling is one of the best way to feed the it.

Angela said...

What in your opinion would be a dream Holiday/vacation

I`ve just arrived from Chile and I`m enchanted with this country. The trip was beyond my expectations.
I stayed there for a very short period and didn`t feel time passing by. It flew. I blinked on Monday and when I open my eyes it was Sunday, time to leave.
Among many beautiful places like Vina del Mar and Valparaiso, I can recommend a visit to Pablo Neruda`s house in Isla Negra .
It`s part of a dream holiday which I`ve just fulfilled.
Isla Negra is on the central Chilean coast, 80 miles from Valparaiso in a pine forest.
The writer loved the sea and so, his house, overlooking the Pacific ocean, was constructed as if it were a ship at sea. Waves, breakers, beach and rocks ... Mystic and fantastic!
Inside the house we can see exotic nautical decoration and lots of collections: strange shaped bottles, seashells, smoking pipes, masks and cachalote`s teeth are some of them.
Neruda asked a friend who was an architect to put a zinc roof to bear the sound of the rain which evoked the feeling of the house he lived in his childhood in the rainy Chilean South
Everything in the house “smells” poetry.
After visiting this enchanted place I can better understand Neruda`s imaginary:

, Muere lentamente quien se transforma en esclavo del habito, repitiendo todos los días los mismos trayectos, quien no cambia de marca, no arriesga vestir un color nuevo y no le habla a quien no conoce.

Angela said...


I blinked on Monday and when I OPENED my eyes it was Sunday.