I believe that a pilgrimage could be defined as a holiday, as the prefix, "holi" means sacred or holy, so a "holiday" would be appropriate to associate with this spiritual event however, used in the context of a vacation, I beg to differ. For me, a pilgrimage is a rite of passage; everyone should be able to experience the vocation and awe that comes from a pilgrimage, which is its purpose. However, I understand how people can believe that a pilgrimage would and could be abused in to being named an excuse and here I will consider both sides of the coin.
Religious people believe that a pilgrimage could be described as a journey of finding. This "finding" could be discovery of things which we have no control over or a finding of a better understanding of things around us or around oneself. A pilgrimage is the sort of "sealing" made to each person's religion; it's the event that will enhance the faith of an individual; however this is a weak reason as, do people of strict faith need the surrounding to help them? Where the pilgrimage is placed is vital to the overall effect.
The holy place is very important to the particular person as it holds historical tales and landmarks within them, this is a strong reason as some monuments bear great emphasis on happenings told in the religion's holy book. The sheer thought that the history that had once taken place now influences the world of today becomes quite surreal. An example of this could be Jerusalem, infamous for where the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ had occurred, it's definitely of appeal to Christians and is an important time for them, especially since it has important places inside it like Gethsemane, where Jesus had often prayed.
People of faith would think of pilgrimage as a duty or a right and certainly not a holiday or free ride. Others believe that a pilgrimage is a waste of money, pilgrimage does cost a lot and you should not become bankrupt to pray just as you would at home. This is a strong reason as, yet again, is worship and faith, a material or spiritual thing? People claim that a place is holy when it's actually all a hoax as this was the case when someone claimed to find the shroud that Jesus had been wrapped in, all for a profit!
Also, some may argue there is very limited evidence to prove that a place is authentic and untouched or may be even accurate, after all, scriptures do get lost and history is sometimes twisted. Some pilgrimages are based on a supernatural basis, for instance, Lourdes in France was founded when a girl called Bernadette claimed to speak to the Virgin Mary. This is highly skeptical especially in today's society where science conquers all. However, I believe that this is a weak reason because isn't the concept of religion it self based on faith in something that can't be seen or touched but only felt.
God's existence hasn't been proved; however, so many have faith in Him and His commandments. In conclusion, I would like to say that a pilgrimage is an arduous journey into seeking something special and sacred. It isn't a time for games or sin making; it's an escape from daily life and a focus on only one thing. A holiday involves the time at present and how the world is today, reality is always marauding within it, however, a pilgrimage is a pause in time, a place where things become much more clear, where you're at peace within yourself, where you could find the true meaning of life not like a vacation at all!