Vacation or Stay-cation?

With the recent economic downturn, the close to home vacation, otherwise known as the stay-cation, has become increasingly popular. Rather than wasting valuable and rare vacation time with travel, Americans are choosing to stay home, get some work done around the house and visit local attractions. However, those who don’t leave the house miss out on opportunities and experiences that can only be had by flying to your destination. Which to choose?

Stay-cation Pros

First and foremost, stay-cations are a far less expensive way to travel than flying, with no costly hotels or airfare. Stay-cationers have more opportunities to find free entertainment around the house. By sticking with regional travel and day trips, stay-cationers also report less of the stress that comes from long delays and packing and unpacking. Stay-cationers enjoy greater access to family and friends, and many report that they learn much more about the recreational and cultural opportunities that are available in their hometowns. Of course, many stay-cationers use the opportunity to finish larger household projects, which could relieve another kind of stress altogether.

Stay-cation Cons

Some stay-cationers still engage in overnight, regional travel during their vacation time, and so they still spend significant sums on hotels and travel expense (i.e., gas). Also by staying home, stay-cationers report it is often more difficult to truly relax and leave their usual stressors (such as work and the “Honey-do list”) behind when compared with traditional travel. Other stay-cationers find they spend more of their vacation time bored, and then they feel like they have wasted valuable vacation time.

Flying Pros

Taking a vacation that requires air travel opens up so many more chances to see and experience something new or exotic. Those who go beyond mere regional travel get the luxury of hotel living (i.e., no cooking or cleaning), as well as the chance to truly relax and return from vacation refreshed. Furthermore, to paraphrase Jimmy Buffett, changing your latitude can change your attitude; many report that flying to an exotic location gives them a unique perspective that helps them see life in news ways.

Flying Cons

Most airplane trips are uneventful, leave and arrive on time, and drop you at your destination with all of your stuff – but not all. Having to check (and pay for extra) bags, lost luggage, delays and airport security can separately or together make the vacationer wish he’d never left the house and stuck with regional travel instead. Furthermore, vacationers with toddlers, even relatively well-behaved little ones, are almost guaranteed to have a rough flight. Even with the best of flights, airfare is a significant travel expense, as are hotels.

So, which to choose? It really depends on the needs, wants and budget of the traveller. If you are looking to relax on very little money, clearly regional travel and the stay-cation are the best option. If, however, you can afford it and really need to get away, airline travel to an exotic destination may be the perfect choice. Take the time to list your pros and cons, and whichever vacation you choose will be just right.