British Airways aircraft on stand
Aircraft getting ready to make a journey

Difference between Trip, Travel and Journey

The English language nouns Trip, Travel and Journey have related meanings, but they are all different, as I shall explain, using British English examples. 

A Trip is a single act of going to a location for a short time before returning. A trip always involves coming back again. A trip can last for less than a day, in which case we can say "day trip", or for a few days. A trip is often, but not always, made for pleasure. We talk about "taking a trip". We can be "on a trip" while the trip is still in progress.

"My day trip to France when I was little gave me a passion for learning languages."
"I can't come to your party, I will be on a trip to Scotland."
"The business trip was only 2 days, but it was very successful."
"Last weekend I took a trip on a hot air balloon. It was fabulous."

Travel is the act of going to one or more places, during a period lasting at least a few days, normally to a place outside of the area in which you live. We can travel to foreign countries, or travel to see friends, we can travel by car or train or plane. Travel is also used to describe the general act of travelling. It is an industry - airlines and hotels are all part of the travel industry.

"My big passion is travel. I love exploring different cultures and places."
"Travel is one of my biggest expenses each year."
"Travel expands the mind."

Note, both of the following are correct:

  • "I like to travel to Spain every year." The speaker goes to Spain to be there and explore there. The speaker might make several trips to Spain each year, or just one, we don't know. 
  • "I like to make a trip to Spain every year." The speaker makes a single act of travel each year.

A Journey is an instance of going from one place to another. It is not necessary to return from a journey. It can be used as a physical movement of someone in the world, but is also frequently used figuratively, to imply someone has learnt a lot or been changed by an experience.

"My journey to Australia took more than 18 hours."
"I enjoyed the journey more than the destination."
"That journey was horrible; the bus was so crowded."
"I have learned so much at school over the past eight weeks. It has been a real journey for me."

Please email me with any questions