Vacation or Staycation for the Holidays?

By Derek Thompson

This week's "Working it Out" question was: When is a so-called staycation a better choice than a vacation? We asked, you answered.

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Traveling is one of is one of life's great pleasures, but this time of year the hassle isn't always worth the price. When is staying home for the holidays a preferable solution? Between hundreds of answers submitted in our comments section, email, and online survey, staycations easily beat vacations by more than a two-to-one margin. Here are some of the most thoughtful responses to our question.

'Give me the hassles'

Ah, the staycation: your own bed, your own town, etc. etc.  No hassles, no foreign languages, nothing out of the ordinary.  And the dishes that haven't been done, the lawn that needs to be mowed, the job that beckons, the restaurants you've been to a dozen times this year.  Give me the hassles of a new place to visit or an old favorite vacation spot away from here and I'll take it anytime.  And, by the way, I live in a very nice place where many people come to vacation and where there are still many new places to see and new restaurants to try.  For me, there's no question which I prefer for a real vacation.  I love coming home after a trip, but I want the trip too.

After a lifetime of travel, the pleasure of home

I have traveled extensively around the world. I used to live for travel, saving all my money for yearly vacations. Recently I have lost the urge to travel long distances. My best vacations were short flights away from San Francisco (where I live): Quebec, Hawaii, New Orleans, Charleston, Hilton Head, Savannah, Sedona, Chicago, Washington D.C., etc. Although my trips to Europe and the Middle East were fascinating and exciting, I really don't want to take any more long, painful flights; risk food poisoning (I got deathly sick in Israel); and worry about how much I'm spending, when it's so much easier to travel in North and Central America.

For the places far away that I'll probably never get to, I simply rent Globtrekker videos from Netflix, and that satisfies my travel needs!

Little kids + budget + uncertainties = staycation

A staycation is better than a vacation when you have really little kids; when the weather is quite iffy like during the winter months and when fuel prices are high & incomes are low.  I will have a staycation this Christmas, no vacation time for me.

It all depends

This question needs to be broken out into different categories: traveling with kids, without kids, destinations for singles, dating, married, etc. The calculus really changes depending on those details.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/12/vacation-or-staycation-for-the-holidays/250503/