As we approach peak holiday season, in the northern hemisphere at least, this seems to be a well-timed article – on the subject of holidays.


Travel – do you deserve a holiday?

Based on some of the comments I received from the travel intro as well as the ageing survey, where some people rated holidays as essential, while others felt they were overrated, I thought it would be interesting to explore the motivation behind holidays.

When referencing holidays, I mean actually going somewhere, but the location is not relevant in this particular article, I’ll leave that for another time.

The motivation probably depends on the person and may also vary at different times over a short period or over the course of our lives. Much of this applies to our lives today, as well as when we get older.

Deserving a holiday

Listening to conversations at work, in the schoolyard, in the gym, and in the media, many people refer to deserving or meriting holidays. I have to admit that I often feel this way too. So why is this? There are a few reasons that spring to mind…

    • Many of us work hard during the normal course of our lives, whether in employment, as homeworkers or fulfilling some other kind of activity. A holiday is therefore seen as a reward for the hard work that we’re engaged in for the majority of the time.
    • Wanting to spend time with family is often a key reason, especially if this is normally limited due to working long hours, travelling or other commitments.
    • Many of us save up for a holiday, maybe foregoing other things along the way in anticipation. Holidays can be expensive and time away is often more costly than time spent at home, due to additional treats and sometimes simply the lack of choice available.
    • We could be recovering from an illness or incident and feel the need to get away to help aid or speed this up.
    • It may be simply a case of wanting to spend time doing something you enjoy, rather than the things you typically have to do as part of the day to day.
    • Frequency can also be a factor: if we haven’t taken a break for a certain period of time, we may get a little tetchy and crave the time away.
    • 7 glaring signs you need a holiday!

I recently realised the last time I took a week off was over Christmas and I’m counting down the last 4 weeks until my next holiday in mid-August. I’m not quite at the tetchy point, but I’ve definitely experienced it before.

Quality time

For many, a key attraction for holidays is spending quality time. Again, this can be interpreted in different ways. As previously mentioned above, many like to spend quality time with family and friends away from the ties and constraints of regular life. This could include activities, playing games, or just enjoying each other’s company.

For others quality time may include doing things that we might not otherwise find the time for or feel is too indulgent during regular life e.g. reading, enjoying a long walk, working out etc. This could also include doing things that restore and energise us e.g. massage, exercise, eating well, self-reflection.


This is similar to ‘deserving’ but is probably on a more exceptional or elevated level.

  • It could be tied to a celebration e.g. a birthday or anniversary, or reaching a key milestone, such as getting married or retiring.
  • It could be the ‘trip of a lifetime’ i.e. something planned and saved up for over a long period.
  • It could be a lone venture to treat yourself to something special e.g. a yoga retreat, a course to learn something new or simply some time out.
  • It could alternatively involve treating others e.g. a grandparent taking the family away or paying for others to go, where or when they couldn’t otherwise afford it.


Some holidays have a definite purpose. This may be to achieve a goal or to complete a challenge e.g. renovating a house, completing a sporting challenge or taking part in an ecological or volunteering initiative.

Some people go away to learn new skills or to learn or practice a foreign language.

The aim of some holidays may be to spend time with a specific person: to get to know them better, to show them somewhere new, to help them convalesce or to act as a companion.

Visiting places of interest could also be seen as purposeful, including finding out more about the local culture, geography and history. This could be something on the bucket list, a recommendation from a friend or a desire to share with others.


Many people love holidays just for the opportunity to break from their normal lives, the “rat race”, work or financial constraints.

We may like to temporarily ‘park’ or forget about other ties and commitments back home.

Depending on the type of holiday, we may want to treated with the courtesy or respect that is rare or lacking during other times of our lives. “Anonymity” is often key to this and I sometimes like to guess what other holidaymakers do, just for a bit of fun!

Some people may want to get away from people in general and may choose to go somewhere remote. Others may like to get away from specific people including friends, family and work colleagues!

As lives can be so technology dependent these days, some people like to go somewhere where they cannot be connected e.g. being out of reach e.g. in a plane or camping in a remote location.


So, we’ve seen that there are many motivations for taking holidays. As we are all different, so too are our motivations. These may also change over time as our interests, family connections, working practices and financial circumstances all evolve.

I’m off to start planning my own holiday – a week in a cottage in the Lake District with my family, and for the first time, my Dad. We are hoping to enjoy some time together in the great outdoors. Fingers crossed for some nice weather!


Thank you for reading. For more interesting articles, visit my blog at to learn more.