What is a staycation?

The term staycation refers to holidaying at home or using home as a base to undertake short trips away.  Staying put rather than travelling away is nothing new for many people but the term has grown in popularity in recent years.  Typically an individual will pay for holidays using their disposable income but this has been cut for many in the current economic downturn.

While its true that many won’t want to forfeit their annual getaway to the sun, figures show that a significant number have.  During 2009 an estimated 60% or 37 million Britons stayed at home, around twice the number as estimated in 2008.

The origin of the term staycation is thought to have originated from around 2005, of course from a blending of the words stay and the vacation (the American term for holiday).  In the US where levels of foreign travel are generally lower, the economic crisis has been severe and many have stayed at home rather than holidaying away.  It’s widespread use  earned it a place as one of 100 new words in the 2009 edition of the Webster’s dictionary.  Interestingly, it was not the only new word that blended existing words together.  The word frenemy meaning  “one who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy” was also introduced!

A second, less significant reason for staying put may be increased awareness of the impacts mass tourism can have on the environment.  Why flying currently only contributes a small amount to global carbon emissions, it will add a lot to an individual’s personal carbon footprint and this has been highlighted frequently in media reports.  There has also been increased interest in ‘green tourism’ experiences with several organisations such as Green Traveller getting increased exposure, although strictly a staycation is staying at home.

So what are the benefits of staying at home?  The advantages of taking a staycation may include reduced stress levels from not queuing at the airport, parking, hunting down good deals and spending more time with family & friends.  However possible disadvantages could include getting roped into everyday tasks you were trying to escape from or to work overtime as well as a feeling that an opportunity to take time away has been missed.

While there has been a drop in foreign visitors holidaying in the UK there are signs that the British economy may have benefited by Britons staying at home.  For instance sales of Cornish pasties rose by 14%, searches for accommodation in the UK’s busiest holiday region Devon & Cornwall rose by three-quarters and there was even an associated reported drop in numbers claiming state benefits in British holiday towns.  Whether these signs represent a real shift it’s difficult to say, but the UK economy as with others is unlikely to recover for many years.  It looks like the staycation or at least the term’s use, could well be here to stay.

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  1. I totally agree with the reduced stress levels by not queuing at the airport thing… but I wouldn’t be able to spend any time with family if I ‘staycated’ : (
    Glad to read about the cornish pasty sales. They are yum!

  2. Some encouraging stats, and I love the picture! Though a dog is supposed to have the same carbon footprint as an SUV :s

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