staycation definition holidays

What Is Staycation: Discover The Latest Trend In Sustainable Tourism

André Gonçalves - Editor & Head Of English Market

After studying and working in HR, André studied sustainability management at Lisbon's School Of Economics & Management. He is responsible for the English speaking market of Youmatter since 2018.

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The term staycation, originally from the United States, is a neologism deriving from the contraction of “stay” and “vacation”. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it means vacations that you take at home or near your home rather than traveling to another place.

Staycation isn’t, nonetheless, a vacation model for students or low-budget travelers (though it may be a concept a large share of these audiences decides to adopt).

Rather, a staycation is an ecological way of spending your vacation close to your home. It is synonymous with less pollution, saving money and not contributing to the overwhelming chaos that takes place in some of the world’s most touristic areas. Let’s take a closer look.

Staycation, A Movement Born From The Economic Crisis And Ecological Awareness

The concept of staycation was born at the time of the 2008 market crisis in the United States. Because of it, many households were forced to restrict their expenses and consequently limit their vacation budget. The shortage of money to travel abroad is at the origin of why many ​​people started to (re) discover their most immediate surroundings.

At the same time, awareness of the environmental impacts of tourism, especially on what concerns the impacts of transportation, started to increase too. And so has the perception that some of the main cities (abroad) are increasingly overloaded with people – with places such as Barcelona, Venice, or the Seychelles planning on introducing a tourist cap.

Staycation appears like a great solution for the challenges above mentioned. It is a great way of spending joyful vacations while helping one’s pocket and the environment. In fact, staying close to home eliminates the budget for accommodation (15% of the budget of average households on vacation) and transport.

Apart from the financial savings gained by leaving behind expensive plane tickets or by not booking hotel rooms that aren’t cheap, staycation also has the benefit of keeping harmful GHG emissions in the ground. Cars, boats, and planes are not (or are less) used and other means of transport such as public transport, bicycles, electric scooters or just walking are favored instead. This allows people’s carbon footprints not to increase as much as they would if long distances had been traveled.

Staycation: A Slow And Sustainable Touristic Movement With Many Benefits

A staycation is a form of alternative tourism that is fully in line with the slow tourism trend. Slow tourism invites you to live in the present moment. It encourages you to take your time, discover nearby landscapes, reconnect and spend more time outdoors in nature with the people you enjoy.

There are no fully-booked days, you do what you feel like doing (with proactivity and without constantly falling into temptations such as Netflix) and there is no rush to go from one activity to another just to stay busy all the time.

Hence, provided you stimulate your curious mind and push yourself to find out new tracks and new things to do, here are some of the benefits of a staycation:

  • Staycation limits the stress related with organizing a trip: from finding accommodation to preparing multiple suitcases filled with clothes that many times aren’t even used;
  • It allows carrying out activities that you never do because of a busy schedule during the year – such as visiting the permanent collections of museums, taking advantage of the good weather to (finally) practice some sports in the nearby parks;
  • Staycation also promotes the local economy. You can take advantage of vacations to take a tour on the local markets, go to the farm to pick fruits and vegetables, take part in the seasonal sports or artistic courses; or even to spend a night in an interesting hotel nearby;
  • Discovering or rediscovering the beauty of your city or region, which we often forget to notice due to stress and the power of habit is another potential benefit of staycation;
  • Last but not least: staycation allows you to learn how to take advantage of the present moment.

Given the multiple advantages of local tourism, you no longer have a reason to be embarrassed at the coffee machine at work when you are asked where you are going on vacation this year. 

On the contrary, not going to the other corner of the world like everyone else to “visit” instagramable beaches, but instead to discover your region is an eco-friendly and economical choice you should be proud of.

10 Ideas For What To Do During A Staycation: Different Plans And Activities

We will leave you with some nice tips that you can use to make the best out of your staycation:

  • Number 1: Turn off your phone notifications, skip your emails and the news and focus on yourself and your loved ones;
  • Number 2: Take advantage of your staycation to have a good time outdoors in nature: be it in a nearby beach, lake or reservoir;
  • Number 3: During your staycation find the time to practice sports you haven’t been able to play: be it surfing, snowboarding, hiking or a short bicycle trip;
  • Number 4: If it’s not too cold outside, grab a tent and a sleeping bag and go camping;
  • Number 5: Go to a theatre, music or comedy show and if you find someone you know let them know about your staycation project and inspire them to try it out too;
  • Number 6: Use a mat or a carpet, find some online videos and start your regular practice of yoga at home;
  • Number 7: Find the time during your staycation to learn about things you’ve been wanting to learn for some time but never really had the time to read about them;
  • Number 8: You are no longer under the work routine – it’s staycation time. Forget about cooking your own meals: order takeaway food or go eat out at a nice restaurant;
  • Number 9: Relax when you’re at home and create a different atmosphere. Choose different soundtracks, candlelight at night to create a more relaxed environment and use refreshing essential oils for the air to smell differently;
  • Number 10: One of those nice things when you are sleeping out is having a perfectly made bed with clean sheets and a room perfectly tidy. Hiring someone to do these home services for you can be a warming idea.

Note: Some paragraphs from the first half of this article are an adaptation from Emma Henrich’s piece, available at youmatter.fr

[Image credits to hiking on Shutterstock]

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