I wondered where people who live and work in tourist hot spots go for their holidays. Do they take a week off to stay at home, and maybe go touring to see parts of ‘home’ they hadn’t seen before? Or do they just take a week off during the ‘off season’ to do home décor or fixing fences, that sort of stuff. For the lucky ones who own a holiday home, they are free to choose their visits whenever they can. Some can’t go on holiday at all, because their main concern will be getting food on the table, or the work they do is on the land, and there are no breaks in nature.

In a tourist location, visitors might make a quiet place come alive, with vacationers asking questions about the locale that you are happy - and indeed proud - to know the answers to. You might recommend food they must try before they leave, ask what memories of their holiday they will take home to share with their friends that you will have contributed to in your own small way. You may be curious, and ask about their countries and traditions. They visit the local stores, putting much-needed money back into the economy.

Do other locals plan vacations, and go somewhere completely different, maybe a road-trip across the United States, or visit family abroad?

I guess if I knew the answers, I could make a fortune in the travel business, anticipating everyone’s needs for holiday venues! I have been here quite a while, and admit there are still places I haven’t ventured to. It takes an intrepid guest with a lust for sightseeing to ferret out Roman remains I didn’t know existed, or cheap train trips I had never thought about.

Holidaying at home

I have lived in several holiday destinations, and for a good while lived on a tiny island where tourism was the only income the country had. I had a job, not tourist related, had a family, went shopping, and did all the things normal people do. But tourists were a big part of life there, and we were friendly and helpful, and joined in the planned tourist activities alongside them, went to parades, restaurants, the beach, etc. It was in everyone’s best interests to be welcoming - no matter how uncomfortably crowded it became.

The second time was a slightly larger island off the coasts of Britain and Ireland. It was a pretty sleepy place, and had a trickle of visitors all year. But twice a year it buzzed and came alive with the sights and sounds of bikes and bikers, there to either race or watch motorbikes – they came from far and wide and poured off the ferries in their hundreds, and you couldn’t help getting involved. Locals marshalled the races, church congregations turned their hands to sandwiches and cakes in village halls to feed everyone, and we lined the streets to watch and feel the whoosh of speeding bikes. A lasting memory is the smell of leather – it was worn everywhere, whether or not people had a bike, just to feel part of ‘the gang’. But equally there were people who hated their lives being disrupted by it, and took themselves off for their own holidays away from it all.

Credits: Unsplash; Author: @zhenhappy;

I love both ends of the spectrum. Pleasant to walk along the beach ‘off season’, where you don’t have to step over sunbathers, but equally it is fun to enjoy the sun, dine alongside tourists and take part in events that are laid on for them - parades, music events, etc.

The trouble is, if you live in a tourist destination, you are likely to be working your socks off and barely have time to catch up on your laundry, let alone have a holiday. If you are able to take a proper holiday, you might be too exhausted to go anywhere, and will take a well-needed rest at home.

But if you chose to travel, it isn’t ‘off-season’ everywhere, so wherever you choose to go, you might get the chance to take a well-deserved vacation of choice.


Marilyn writes regularly for The Portugal News, and has lived in the Algarve for some years. A dog-lover, she has lived in Ireland, UK, Bermuda and the Isle of Man. 

Marilyn Sheridan