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  • 予定 (Yotei) is defined as plans;
  • 計画 (keikaku) is also defined as plans

Please could you explain the difference by explicitly making reference to the following examples:

Example 1:

Kyuuka no yotei wa arimasuka?
(What are your vacation plans?)

Example 2:

Mada ryokou no keikaku wa arimasen.
I have no travel plans yet.

Please keep your explanation relatively simple as I am a beginner. Please could you make reference to the above examples.

Please also explain a general rule for knowing when to use one over the other.

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This is not necessarily an easy question to answer because of the wide range of meanings 'plan' has in English, but I will try in any case!

For me, 予定 is something that you (strongly) intend to do, and likely have made arrangements for too. Looking at the kanji might help here: 予 imparts the meaning of 'beforehand', and 定 imparts the meaning of 'determine' or 'fix'. So this is something that is "determined beforehand". So, it can sometimes also be translated as 'schedule' or 'arrangements'.

On the other hand, 計画 is more of a plan in the sense of a design, or a strategy. In my mind, 計画 typically involves some thought process. I think it can be distinguished from 予定, in that 計画 has an underlying goal or aim, and so often lays out a set of actions to achieve something.

Examples of 予定:

今晩は何も予定がない。 I have no plans (I'll be free) this evening.

今日の予定 Today's schedule.

工事が予定されています。 Construction work has been scheduled. (i.e. a date has been set)

Example of 計画:

販売計画 A sales plan

暴力団は強盗を計画していた。 The gang was planning a robbery.

その計画について相談しよう。 Let's discuss that plan.

Looking at your examples:

休暇の予定がありますか。has for me a meaning of

What do you intend to do on your holidays; have you made arrangements yet?

On the other hand:

まだ旅行の計画はありません。 has for me a meaning of

I haven't yet started to plan (design) a trip.

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