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