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Staycations–Good Idea or Bad?

Staycations–Good Idea or Bad?

Whenever I hear that old James Taylor song, “Summer’s Here”, I dream about vacation. It goes like this:

Summer’s here
I’m for that
Got my rubber sandals
Got my straw hat
Drinking cold beer
Man, I’m glad that it’s here
It’s my favorite time of the year
And I’m glad that its here

Generally, my family vacations at the beach, on a lake, in the mountains or some far away land. We pack up and we’re outta here. I’ve been giving some thought to the idea of a “staycation.” I’d like to discount the idea just on the name alone — so silly sounding, but I’m trying to stay open-minded to whether or not there is some validity to taking a staycation.

Some thoughts:
Yeah, yeah, I get the premise: There are lots of day trips that can be explored from your home. You could put your rubber sandals and straw hat on, grab a cold beer and hang out in your backyard. The TV remote control can be hidden. I do like to be mindful of the heavy carbon footprint that travel impacts on the Earth. I certainly get the economics of vacations, as the economic downturn has abbreviated my own family’s vacation. But, where’s the ‘cation part–the vacation?

More thoughts:
Travel is the greatest inspiration. Travel opens minds and hearts to new cultures and experiences. Travel makes individuals more “Earth savvy.” Journey’s away from home provide unique opportunities for social responsibility. Your good green intentions take shape with so many opportunities for eco-friendly travel. Travel can be life-changing. There are inexpensive vacations just over the horizon of your front lawn. The Frugal Traveler outlines how to find some deals here .

Can a staycation top these wonderful reasons to travel? OK, I’ll bite. Why go on a staycation? Consumer Reports defines a staycation as, “A vacation in which the vacationer stays at home, or near home, while creating the environment of a traditional vacation. “Creating the environment of a traditional vacation” is the important part. It means getting out of the rut of your daily life…the best staycations come from people who treat a staycation like a real vacation by planning it ahead of time, taking care of as many household projects and chores before the staycation begins, and knowing how to feel like your splurging even when you’re saving money.”

Here are some tips on how to enjoy your “staycation” by becoming a tourist inside or near your own home. Pauline Frommer of Pauline Frommer’s Travel Guides advises:

• Stay in a nearby hotel. Tell them you’re a local, and they may give you a discount so that you’ll recommend them to visiting friends or relatives.
• Consult guidebooks such as Frommers.com, Fodors.com and LonelyPlanet.com to find nearby hot spots.
• Check out Web sites like Chowhound.com or Roadfood.com to find the best local eateries.
• Join your local museum to get on lists to identify when the best cultural opportunities are happening.

Staycations seem to be here to stay (again, that word doesn’t bring out the best). I feel I have to take a stand on this one. The readers of my blog know, I love my EcoNest and enjoy so many aspects of green home living. But, let’s face it, I could stay home and watch the grass grow, and the doggie dust bunnies accumulate in the corners of my floor, but honestly, that’s not a vacation. I would need a vacation from my staycation.

I’m just not ready for tee shirts that declare, “My parents went on a staycation and all I got was a lousy tee-shirt.” Or, hear people say, “Want to hear about what I did on my summer staycation?”

Whether you travel for business, pleasure, or have a vacation at home this summer, what do you think about the idea of taking a staycation?

Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley.

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Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.

12 comments

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8:43AM PST on Jan 25, 2012

I enjoy staycations.
Lots of fun exploring locally, and no hassle of travelling.

3:55AM PDT on Sep 7, 2010

good

12:54PM PDT on Apr 19, 2010

noted and thanks for your article. Have an amazing day.

12:12PM PDT on Apr 19, 2010

Have we forgotten the countless state and national parks? Camping can be a wonderful type of "staycation", especially if you go to one that is very close by. There are also private campgrounds not far from most urban areas. Even just a day or two in the fresh outdoors can make a big change in ones mental attitude. And, who knows? Maybe, you will see some wildlife or flora that will interest you and your family enough to learn something about it what you saw when you get back home. It's not the miles you put between your house and your vacation spot; it's the mental adjustment, that makes you feel as though you've actually had a vacation.

6:56PM PDT on Mar 25, 2010

I like the staycation idea. I love going for walks locally and seeing lovely things that I have not seen before. Last year I saw a wonderful waterfall in a stream in my own suburb. It is such a pleasure to truly relax for a few days at home on holiday, and enjoy my surroundings.

6:58AM PDT on Jul 23, 2009

I love our home. We've spent a lot of time and energy getting it just the way we like it. The perfect vacation for me is to schedule a week totally free of HAVING to do anything at all so that I can just enjoy being in our lovely space that we've created.

6:21PM PDT on Jun 22, 2009

i think i need a vacation from my staycation

11:30AM PDT on Jun 22, 2009

Hi again! Nancy what we do is go stay at a motel that has the things we want (like a pool and breakfast) and eat out and visit what is near at a leisurely pace so we have the fun stuff without all the travelling. I am lucky enough to live near alot of interesting things but maybe if you tried a search engine of your county/nearest city you may find you do too :)

8:02AM PDT on Jun 22, 2009

Kimberly and Karen, you made excellent points about it's being a change of pace. We take advantage of local attractions on weekends on a regular basis, so that wouldn't qualify. As a homemaker, though, it's much harder for me to have a change of pace at home. We sure wouldn't be eating all our meals out, nor would we be using disposables,and guess who gets to prepare food and take care of dishes, etc. For someone who is out of the house every day, it might be a treat to have time to do some creative cooking. Basically, I live in my office.... Maybe my feelings have something to do with the fact that there were no vacations of any kind while I was growing up in the 1950's. We can afford to travel a little bit now, and I truly enjoy seeing the great wide world (in small doses).

7:10AM PDT on Jun 22, 2009

When I was growing up we didn't have a lot of money, so going on a "Vacation" was something we only did about 5 times in 20 years. I don't feel deprived in the least. We found ways to entertain ourselves. One summer we painted the house. People think they need to "get away" when in actuality they need a change of pace. You can do that at home. It's a mindset.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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