Domestic holidays v travelling abroad

Does a domestic holiday really feel like a holiday, or do you need to travel to foreign lands.

I have a weekend planned at the Belfry in March and three nights in Carnoustie (Scotland) in July, both golf related. My last two breaks include three nights in Bath and four nights in Linlithgow (near Edinburgh).

I feel dreadful saying this, but I can’t help but feel my last holiday was back in July when I travelled to Kenya and Tanzania. Likewise, I feel dreadful for saying I don’t feel I have any holidays planned for next year. I enjoyed both Linlithgow (and surroundings) and Bath, but neither felt like a ‘proper’ holiday.


Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

I have tried to explain why I feel like this, why a trip in the UK doesn’t feel like a holiday in the same way travelling aboard does?

My childhood, perhaps?

I have been very fortunate. My childhood was a mixture of domestic holidays and travelling to the USA. For the first decade of my life, yearly holidays usually included a week in Norfolk, a week in Dorest and a week elsewhere in England. After this, I visited the USA every year until I stopped going on holiday with my parents, around 13 years later.

I have visited some amazing places across the world since and feel very privileged, but I do wonder if I have been unintentionally spoilt. I probably have.

I have some amazing childhood memories of my holidays in the UK, but childhood memories are often rose-tinted. Other more recent breaks in the UK have largely been restricted to ‘stag weekends’, sporting weekends (watching darts, horse racing) or visiting friends. These have been enjoyable weekends, but it has always been more about the occasion than the location.

Has visiting the USA every year from an early age (10) sub-consciously raised my expectation of what a holiday should be? I think this is definitely a part of it, but not the whole story.

Perhaps it is too close to home?

I decided to visit Linlithgow and later Bath after visiting the Isle of Man to see a friend. While not in the UK itself and needing to fly from London, it is nestled within the UK and left me wanting to explore more of my home island.

Both Linlithgow and Bath felt familiar.

Regional differences aside, the beers were quite similar, the pubs are the same variations of the ‘British Pub’ and while I risk my credibility, broadly speaking our lifestyles are not too dissimilar. I wasn’t exploring or experiencing different cultures, I wasn’t finding places and seeing things that are impossible to go and see without travelling abroad. I had home comforts, I knew which type of food I liked and where to find it, I knew where to watch sport, I even knew what channel to watch if I arrived at the hotel and wanted to relax before going to sleep.

It felt like home, but not in the way this is normally meant. I should maybe rephrase it by saying it felt like I hadn’t left home.

Is it psychological?

Does just knowing you aren’t travelling abroad have an effect?

Domestic travel doesn’t usually include the airport experience, the departure lounge at St Pancras Int. Station or a sea port. You don’t need a passport, you don’t need to buy travel insurance or change currency. You are less likely to be obsessing over the weather forecast every hour of every day leading up to your holiday. You are less likely to buy Lonely Planet guide books or research hidden gems and places to eat. People don’t react or take the same interest when talking about your holiday.


Photo by Sandra Mode on Unsplash

Should this matter? No of course it shouldn’t, but I think it does.

Does a domestic holiday really feel like a holiday, or do you need to travel to foreign lands? In a word, no. It doesn’t.

Thinking forward to my plans for the next few years, the UK hasn’t really entered my mind. I know this is likely my loss, but I cannot help how I feel. I hope this changes as I cannot kid myself, there are some pretty amazing places to see in the UK.

Please don’t judge me.

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