Quick answer
"De vacaciones" is a phrase which is often translated as "on vacation", and "estar en" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "to be in". Learn more about the difference between "de vacaciones" and "estar en" below.
de vacaciones(
deh
 
bah
-
kah
-
syoh
-
nehs
)
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
phrase
1. (general)
a. on vacation
El verano pasado me fui de vacaciones a Cuba.Last summer I went to Cuba on vacation.
b. on holiday (United Kingdom)
¿Puedo hablar con el señor Alarcón, por favor? - Lo siento, pero esta semana está de vacaciones.Can I speak to Mr. Alarcon, please? - I'm afraid he's on holiday this week.
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estar en
An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
1. (used to talk about places)
a. to be in
¿Viste a Juan? - Sí, está en su oficina.Did you see Juan? - Yes, he's in his office.
b. to be at
¿Dónde están Pedro y Andrés? - Están en el bar de la vuelta.Where are Pedro and Andres? - They're at the bar around the corner.
c. to be
Felipe no está en casa.Felipe's not home.
2. (used to talk about figurative places and states)
a. to be in
La empresa está en graves problemas. Seguramente, declarará la quiebra.The company is in serious trouble. Most certainly, it will file for bankrupcy.
b. to be at
Estamos en un punto en el que no hay retirada posible.We are at a point where there's no retreat.
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