Understanding Travel in General – How Many Different Forms Do We Have?


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Travel is the movement of individuals between various distant geographical locations at various times. Travel can either be one-way or round trip, done by automobile, foot, bike, train, plane, sea or any other means and can also be one-time or multiple time. This article mainly deals with travel as it relates to long distance travelling.

The term ‘traveling’ is broad in its literal sense but can mean many different things. The literal meaning is ‘to travel to a place’, which can also include visiting a place and returning to the same place repeatedly within a period of one year. The more common term however, when we speak of travel, refers to a general journey across different countries, regions or continents over a period of days, weeks or months. For convenience, let us look at some common types of travel which are broadly classified into two: routine travel and non-routine travel.

Routine travel is traveling to one place for a fixed duration and purpose. It may also be called ‘business travel’. A classic example would be a businessman going to a meeting in a business conference location or in a resort town, not so much for the business reason as for the business location. Such travel is one place, one purpose and one date. In this sense, it is quite similar to the leisurely gathering of people for dinner in a restaurant for conversing, as described above.

Non-routine travel is any journey where travel is intended for a specific purpose. This could be for pleasure as in a vacation or hunting or fishing trips. Such trips may take place between two places or from one city to another. As the name implies, non-routine travel has a destination, however not necessarily a specific place.

So let us define travel in general as something that brings about a change of surroundings or a mode of traveling to some specific place. Now we can make our lives easier by simply adding ‘visit’ to the existing term. For example, ‘visit’ is already used to mean a journey. Let us use it as the keyword for an even simpler journey: a picnic!

So, let us look at the three different forms of travelling. We have the routine form, the business trip and the leisurely gathering of people at a restaurant for casual conversation. Let us further understand each travel meaning by exploring its basic elements. The first element is the time and place. The second element is the object or purpose. And the third element is the traveler and his behaviour or mode of travelling.