Difference Between Holiday and Vacation

Anything related to a break from daily life activities is regarded as leisure. This category of leisure is further subdivided into holidays and vacations. These breaks can be differentiated based on origin and purpose. Once the subdivision is demarcated, it is essential to incorporate the necessary elements.

Holiday vs Vacation

The main difference between holiday and vacation is that a holiday is a narrow term that refers to significant weekdays while a vacation is a wider term including holidays that fall in a sequence. The former does not require any sanctions while vacations need a lot of arrangements for making the plan successful. At times, holidays are also considered synonymous with shortened versions of vacations.

Holiday vs Vacation

A holiday can be regarded as a normal day that becomes special due to the significance attached to it in the form of important birthdays, milestone events, and many other types of celebrations. Every festival can be regarded as a holiday. In most cases, holidays are meant to be spent out of the workplace. All the other aspects attached to holidays may or may not be practiced based on the main reason for celebration.

Vacation is an umbrella term used to refer to extended holidays which are planned to be spent at some tourist place. No vacation is complete without a restful period dedicated to leisure activities. Once the vacation begins, the numerous predecided events take place from time to time. It is essential to make the vacation as memorable as possible.

Comparison Table Between Holiday And Vacation

Parameters of ComparisonHolidayVacation
DefinitionIt is defined as a day of celebration which is marked by an off-day at workIt is defined as a designated break that allows people to spend time away from the challenges of daily life
DurationIt does not last for more than one or two daysThe duration might vary from a weekend to a month, and even more
SpecialtyHolidays are given on special occasions and some historically important eventsNo special occasion is necessary as the break is simply for recreation
Importance of TravellingTraveling is not an essential aspectVacations do not find much meaning apart from traveling to some other city or town
Possibility of PaymentAlmost all types of holidays are paidVacations may or may not be paid, depending on the protocols of the organization

What is Holiday?

Holidays are the weekdays regarded as special days which are specifically marked for celebration. This celebration may or may not be grand enough to make the holiday universally valid. Daily chores might take a backseat in case the holiday is attributed to fasting or practicing other forms of devotional activities, patriotic fervor, etc.

Some of the most common activities linked with a holiday include a significant mode of tribute, a festival celebrated as per customs, or other routine activities directed towards a better kind of appeal. Christmas can be considered to be a perfect example of a holiday. It is dedicated to customary celebrations. A holiday is the same for educational institutions as well as workplaces.

The two main types of holidays are national holidays and local holidays. National holidays are spread across vast areas and most of the social and economic ventures remain closed. Local holidays may or may not constitute an off. This demarcation also finds its roots in regional disparities based on the history of a particular place.

What is Vacation?

The term “vacation” is used to describe the North American variant of celebrating the time provided for recharging oneself. Celebration or fanfare is not necessary to constitute a successful vacation. It is essential to travel to a nearby or distant place to formulate a “far-flung” vacation. All aspects need to be planned.

On the other hand, even if the vacation is spent at home, it will still be regarded as a successful break. Solitude may or may not be chosen. Once the vacation begins, a lot of fun activities including shopping, trying new foods, and collecting memories (in the form of photographs, etc) are practiced with utmost enjoyment.

Another form of vacation is a staycation. This is an exclusive type that does not require any type of travel after reaching the destination. Staycations are popularized as visits to special places to embrace a different standard of life. People might indulge in solo staycations or even choose to take their families along.

Main Differences Between Holiday And Vacation

  1. A holiday can be defined as a normal day devoid of any type of routine, regarded as important due to the historical significance attached to the particular date. On the other hand, vacation incorporates a lot of other interconnected activities during long breaks.
  2. The special aspect attached to holidays might be a weekend off or a historically significant event. Vacations are mostly seasonal and do not hold much significance like that of festive holidays.
  3. Vacations mostly last longer than holidays and can be extended as well. On the contrary, holidays are marked on a calendar priorly and they cannot be changed.
  4. It is not necessary to travel during a normal holiday while vacations generally involve a lot of touring and other adventures which might spark excitement.
  5. Holidays can be treated as paid leaves too while vacations are to be supported by savings. A session break might also be paid at times, depending on the category of incentives.


Leisure activities include a lot more than a holiday or vacation. The terms have varied interpretations across the globe while the main context remains similar. Holidays can be converted into vacations. The same is not true for the opposite case. All vacations need not be destined towards far-flung areas.

The mode of finding respite decides the type of leisure activity chosen by a single person or a group of people. Expeditions, trips, tours, etc are other more complex forms of vacations. It becomes easy to distinguish based on the motive of recreation. Vacations, as well as holidays, have their own significance and there is a very thin line of difference.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231019300512
  2. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/eb010245/full/html
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