It's that time of year, the time when people begin to ask you, "What are your plans this summer?" So, what are your plans this summer? Will you be traveling? Or will you be embarking on the most beautiful travel plan of all, the one in which you vacation to your own home? May I suggest that you take, this summer, an edifying and guaranteed-to-please staycation?
Why would you want to take valuable days off work and go nowhere? Oh, there are reasons:
A Staycation Is Money-Saving. The popularity of the word really hit it big with the recession, and though the economy appears to be on an upward climb (fingers crossed), maybe this year it would be wise to keep your mind on your money and your money on your mind, so to speak. On a humble staycation, you need not deal with pricey airfare or transportation fees. You don't need to book a room. You won't shell out hundreds of dollars to do that zip line in the Amazon, or to search high and low for the perfect Parisian macaron. You will probably save still more money by not commuting to your office daily, by not spending way too much on delivery lunches and instead shopping and cooking at home, and by abstaining from the afterwork office drink culture, if that exists for you at your place of work. Even if you purchase a high-end apartment hammock to assist with your staycation, you're likely to end up on the plus side of things, money-wise.
If you don't need to save money, you are very lucky, and you can consider your staycation "retro" or even "historic." People have reportedly been staycating since back in the early aughts, and maybe even earlier.
A Staycation Is Efficient. Taking a week off? Well, you just essentially added two days to your vacation because you don't have to account for travel days. You punch out, your vacation has begun, and time stretches out ahead of you without being tainted by a fear of travel delays or annoying transfers or having to get out of bed or go anywhere at all. You can do fun things you never get to do in normal workaday life, like going to museums or counting the cicadas or watching TV all day long, drinking wine at lunch in the park or shopping for sunglasses or simply wandering the streets in search of something fun to get up to. A staycation changes your world by simply omitting one thing from it (work).
A Staycation is Largely Worry-Free. There is a worrisome piece in The Wall Street Journal that explains all the possible things that might go wrong with your air travel plans this summer. "The forecast calls for heavy frustration with a 50% chance of innovation at U.S. airports this summer," writes Scott McCartney. That does not sound promising. He goes on to explain that the season's airport crowds are expected to be the biggest since 2008. That means longer wait times, particularly when paired with TSA budget cuts. Security, never fun, may be less so. And at the same time, airlines are charging more, and nickel-and-diming you for everything from your luggage to your drinks to increased costs if you should need to change a ticket. Did you know that on-time arrivals decline in the summer months? There's also the risk of summer storms leaving you stuck at the airport. Stay at home and watch the rain through the window of your lovely home, it's so relaxing, and it smells good, too!
A Staycation Is the Only Vacation After Which You Don't Need Another Vacation. You hear it all the time, from the weary world traveler who returns from India or Thailand or a yoga retreat in Mexico just plain tuckered out. "I need a vacation from my vacation," he or she will say, and you will empathize, but not really, because you feel quite well-rested, in fact, having not done anything at all for a week. Boredom is brilliant, really. Why go somewhere just to complain afterward when you can go nowhere and do the same on your own time?
You Get to Say "Staycation" If You Take a Staycation. Sure, it's an obnoxious word, but that makes it all the better when you're saying it to everyone you know. "Did I show you the photos of my staycation?" you ask a friend after your great home-holiday is over. "Oh, no!" he or she will say. "Please, I'm dying to see them. I'm thinking of staycating myself! Do you have any tips?"
Staycation the term is of course a portmanteau blending stay and vacation, and it means, according to Merriam-Webster, "a vacation spent at home or nearby." The dictionary gives the first known use of the word as having occurred in 2005. A post on Jaunted in 2009 reveals a bit more on the storied history of the staycation as trend story: "A Nexis search reveals that the first published use of staycation (as far as Nexis knows) was in the Myrtle Beach Sun-News on July 11, 2003. In a story entitled 'Sports World Doesn't Stop for Vacation,' Terry Massey uses the term to describe nine vacation days spent at home in Myrtle beach watching sports on television and preparing a nursery for a new baby." The word was used a year later in 2004 in a list of things that were "in" in Entertainment Weekly's Shaw Report. It popped up again in 2005 in Alabama's Huntsville Times. "The staycation-story trend accelerated from there with hits in the Washington Post (August 4, 2005), Gawker (July 10, 2006), and Ascribe Newswire (September 2006), which deemed Summer 2006 'the Summer of the Staycation.'" More articles have followed; we haven't stopped talking about staycations — nor will we.
Your Friends Will All Be Jealous of Your Trendy Staycation! As written about in The New York Times: "Staycations do not start with a pretty girl wrapping a lei around your neck in Hawaii. They start with coffee and a roll on a park bench instead of on a subway platform. They start on the sofa the morning after two Gossip Girl discs and a box of wine." Cannot wait to staycate.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.