What’s your Vacation Style?

In our intercultural work we pay a lot of attention to different styles: communication styles, personality styles, conflict-resolution, decision-making, leadership and management styles. We help people understand their own preferred styles and the preferences of their colleagues so that, ideally, they can work more productively together. We talk about direct and indirect communication, authoritarian and egalitarian approaches to management, introverted and extraverted personalities, and task-oriented and relational decision-making styles, among other things.

This week, though, my attention has drifted far from all of this to a different set of style contrasts. I've been wondering about vacation styles, and all the different ways that people approach their leisure time, especially when gifted with a full week or more off from their daily work.

I haven't done any formal research about this—after all, I'm on vacation—but I imagine that someone has. Instead, I've just been noticing the different approaches within our own small family and the people around us.

There are people with an action-oriented vacation style, setting goals for the week, filling every hour with something fun or educational to do, and happily checking things off the list as they go.

There are people with a late-sleeping, lounging around doing nothing style, content to simply enjoy a break from the fast-pace and demands of their normal lives.

And there are people with an in-between style, balancing some recreational activities with reading and hanging out with friends, enjoying some good food and drinks.

I suspect that if we did some kind of formal analysis we would find that our vacation styles have some roots in our individual personalities, as well as our cultural backgrounds and upbringing. I would be curious to learn more about this some other time, and to hear about other people's experiences.

For now, I'm content to just notice the differences and enjoy the remaining hours of sunshine and a good book by the pool.




  1. I subscribe to Caribbean magazine, went there on our honeymoon and lived there as a child. I guess when I think vacation I think about going to places where I can kick back while at the same time visit a few new sights- but usally I think of the tropical island as my preferred leisure location. Good post- made me think!!

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