Urban Dictionary includes a definition of “staycation” that reads: “Staying at home during your vacation instead of traveling to a pleasure destination. This can be caused by high gas prices, or just a shortage of money.”
Wikipedia.org echoes this sentiment indicating that “Staycations have achieved high popularity in the US during the financial crisis of 2007–2009 in which unemployment levels and gas prices were high.”
Although partially valid, definitions like these tend to give staycation a negative ring: “I’m staying home for vacation because I can’t afford to go anywhere.” It’s unfortunate, because there is so much more to a staycation. As far as I’m concerned, the most important reasons to stay home for vacation are to keep things simple and protect the environment.
Keep Things Simple
Which of the following sound like stress-reducers?
- Frantic laundering the night before your trip
- Packing and repacking to make everything fit
- Going through airport security
- Waiting for delayed flights
- Not getting much sleep in a foreign bed
- Spending way too much on food at mediocre restaurants
- Wishing that you had at least a day or two at home to recover from vacation
You got it: None.
Staycation allows you to get out of all of these stress-inducing activities! You get to sleep in your own bed, you can choose to eat some of your meals at home, and, best of all, you don’t have to go anywhere near an airport.
As a nation, we travel much more than we used to. It’s not relaxing. And travel can really drain your finances.
Dare to be different! Find out what’s fun in your area. I’m sure there are museums you haven’t explored, concert halls you haven’t visited, parks you drive by and think, “Wouldn’t that be a nice spot for a picnic?”.
The best part about staycation is that there are no rules. Do what you love and leave the rest. If your idea of vacation is to read those books that have been sitting on the shelf for months, head over to a cafe, find a cozy chair and read. On the other hand, if you want to spend time outdoors, check out the local state park system.
Protect the Environment
It doesn’t matter if you drive or fly to your destination. The CO2 emissions are almost the same (for a solo driver). These forms of transportation are equally bad for the environment.
In the spirit of enough, we should contemplate how much we really need to travel for vacation. Are we traveling just because it’s “the thing to do?” Are we traveling because our daily lives are so stressful, we just have to get away? (If yes, you may want to take a look at the source of the problem.) Are we traveling so we can tell our friends and colleagues, “We took a quick trip to Nassau.”?
After determining why we travel, we can make conscious decisions about how we want to spend our vacation time. Perhaps you will find, like I did, that you are tired of traveling and that you really want to stay home. Now you have a win-win situation. Maybe you’d like to travel, but the damage to the environment doesn’t seem worth it.
Now, I’m not saying that you should never travel again. For some people, traveling is the best thing ever. My family and I love to visit relatives across the country and on the other side of the Atlantic. We don’t necessarily enjoy the stresses that accompany these trips, but it’s typically worth it. However, this holiday season, it is wonderful to be at home, relax, read, bake bread, go sledding, cook, sleep “late,” go for long runs, play the guitar, and just enjoy being.
The origin of the word vacation is “freedom.” Do you feel free when you are on vacation? Are you free to do the things you love? Staycation may actually let you be more free than a traditional vacation. Give it a try!