There is a tendency to use the word ‘holiday’ as a catch-all term. It’s used to describe a simple overnight at a luxury hotel, a weekend away at the seaside, a city break to Prague, and a month-long safari in sub-Saharan Africa. ‘Holiday’ means different things to different people.
The definition of a holiday is a period of leisure. Well and good, but there are now so many differing things to do with your period of leisure. Do you daydream of a beach, cocktails and sunsets?
Or is your idea of a period of leisure grabbing a backpack and taking off wherever you can find a different culture to explore?
The unfortunate truth is that so many book whatever we see first, fuelled by the desire just to get away from the mundanities of ordinary life.
This is the time of year when people start looking ahead to their summer break. Some of that time may just be spent at home, relaxing and catching up on all the things you never normally have the time to do. But for your escapism, what might suit your personality best?
Holiday Type: City Break
Purpose: A short trip, usually two-to-three days (and often over a weekend) in a major city. You can see (some of) the sights, enjoy a fine meal out and enjoy a different culture without becoming absorbed by it.
Popular Destinations: The continent is the main consideration when it comes to city breaks. Most of the popular cities are within a short flight, so you don’t have to worry about coping with the rigours of long-haul. Cities like Prague, Amsterdam, Rome and Barcelona are some of the better known; Dublin is wonderful, though can be overpopulated by stag groups.
Try Something Different: If you want to grab a city break without the usual crowd of tourists, then the old city of Carcassonne in France is a perfect choice.
You could also try Geneva in Switzerland or Oslo in Norway – all great cities, without the usual ruckus of the crowds.
Who Does It Suit? A city break is best suited to someone who likes to try things without being taken over by them. You have a short attention span and want to pack in as many activities as you can manage over a short space of time.
Who Does It Not Suit? Luxuriating, doing nothing, sitting by the pool and reading… they’re possible on a city break, but it’s not what the time is best used for.
Holiday Type: Beach Holiday
Purpose: Relaxation is turned up to 11. You want a sun tan, a cocktail and to keep things simple – and perhaps to catch up on all that sleep you have missed.
Popular Destinations: There are several different resorts that UK beach holiday seekers turn to. Greece, Spain and Portugal are probably the most-visited trifecta. The Canary Islands, though a slightly longer flight, are worth it if you want an increase in temperature.
Try Something Different: It goes without saying that there are beaches pretty much everywhere, even landlocked countries like Switzerland have options such as Lake Como. Study coastline images and see where appeals, from the rugged Irish coasts to the crystal waters found in Tahiti.
Who Does It Suit? The answer here is primarily… everyone. There are certain times in life where you just need to head for the sunshine and sand, thinking of nothing but what you’re going to have for an evening meal. There’s a whole subgenre of products, such as “beach read” books, that cater to this need. However, those who solely choose this kind of holiday tend to be fairly unadventurous. There’s nothing wrong with that! Not everyone needs to push things to the limit and stretch themselves. If you know what you like, then more power to you.
Who Doesn’t It Suit? If you ever get the feeling you’ve more time on your hands than you know what to do with, a beach holiday isn’t going to suit you. You need more stimulation than a book in your hands. If you’re the kind of person who is easily bored, you might find yourself enjoying the first few days and then struggling for entertainment. It therefore makes sense to try and find a resort near to a few local sites of interest, which can provide the stimulation you’re inevitably going to find yourself craving.
Holiday Type: Touring
Purpose: Seeing whatever you can. A touring holiday is all about new experiences and doing something you usually wouldn’t. You want to take in sights, experience different cultures, and walk over paths trodden thousands of times throughout history.
Popular Destinations: The most obvious of this kind of holiday is the safari holiday, which means Africa in terms of destination. There’s no better place to see the “big five” safari animals, with Tanzania the best choice if you want to see as many as possible in one trip. There are also more nature-focused touring holidays, such as the Canadian winter wilderness or through the Norwegian Fjord system.
Try Something Different: You can tour almost anywhere you want, depending on the kind of thing you want to see. For a unique history, road tripping through Ireland makes an interesting experience – though not ideal if you want good weather! The Australian outback is also worth considering.
Who Does It Suit? Adventurous types who are naturally curious. If you find yourself itching for more information, to learn from a holiday, to test your physical limits, then this might be the one for you.
Who Doesn’t It Suit? If you want to come back from a holiday feeling refreshed and pampered, there are better options for you. It’s also not a great choice for the faint-hearted; if you scare easily then you might feel a rush of adrenaline for all the wrong reasons!
Holiday Type: Adventure Holiday
Purpose: Who wants to sit around and do nothing? You’re longing to throw yourself out into the fresh air, feel the blood roaring through your veins, and experience something different. You’re chained to a desk all the time with work and this is your time to experience freedom.
Popular Destinations: The USA is an adventure holiday all of its own. You could climb through the Rockies, go trekking in Appalachia or take a trip through the salt flats of Utah. New Zealand also works well, with a huge amount of action sports like bungee-jumping and zip-wiring available throughout the country.
Try Something Different: Why not go on a rainforest trek through the Amazon? Or if you like your coffee, then there’s no better place to visit than Costa Rica. You can see rainforest, experience how coffee is grown, and of course then sample the goods on offer.
Who Does It Suit? It seems obvious, but adrenaline junkies are the obvious candidates. It’s also great if you usually take a more sedate kind of holiday and want to try something different. Even if you have no previous experience of seeking adventure and white-knuckle thrills, if the mere idea excites you, then it might well be worth considering. Start small with a weekend away and see how it fits; there are plenty of UK based activities such as white-water rafting that can give you an idea.
Who Doesn’t It Suit? While it’s possible to relax when you’re not out adventuring, if that’s the sole purpose of your holiday then this one might not be for you. It’s also not the best idea if you don’t like the feeling of being uncomfortable; many adventure holidays involve some element of camping.
Which of these holiday types is suited to you?