Staycation vs Vacation: What, When and How?

When to take a staycation vs vacation? If you have to take some time off work, there may be reasons why you don’t want to go away and you may be considering a staycation. Let’s see what a staycation is, what the reasons for a staycation are, what the benefits and risks of a staycation are, and how you can prepare for a staycation.

What is a staycation vs vacation?

Let’s first look at the definition of a staycation. Wikipedia defines a staycation as a period during which a family stays at home but do leisure activities. In general, a staycation does not include overnight accommodation, in other words, you do leisure activities using your home as a base. Some people may consider a staycation as a local vacation as opposed to travelling overseas, but we see a staycation as a not going anywhere requiring overnight accommodation.

Basically, a staycation is when you take time off work for a vacation but stay at home instead of going to a travel destination. Instead of travelling, you may undertake different leisure activities using your home as a base.

Staycation vs Vacation What When and How

Reasons for taking a staycation

There are several reasons why you may want to take a staycation vs vacation. Let’s consider these reasons:

Lack of money

A staycation is ideal when you need a break, but don’t have a lot of money to go away for a few days. Local and foreign vacations can be expensive compared to a staycation. If you are paying a mortgage, study loans or trying to save money, going away may be too expensive for you. Staying at home and doing fun things alone or with your friends or family can be just as refreshing as going away.

Health reasons

If you suffer from a medical condition that makes travelling long distances or taking long flights, difficult, a staycation may be better for you. With the current pandemic, a staycation is a much safer way to spend your time than going somewhere where you cannot control your environment.

You need time to yourself

A staycation is also perfect if you simply want a few days to spend doing things you never get the time for. Most of us never have enough time to try new hobbies, spend time with our family members or just relax. Taking a couple of days to focus on these items can be fulfilling and refreshing.

Exploring your local area

Exploring the city or region you live in is another activity that is perfect for a staycation. You avoid expensive and tiring travel by just taking day trips or quick visits to different museums and attractions in your area.   

Difficulty in travelling with small children

If you have small kids, you may not want to travel long distances to exotic destinations with your kids. Travelling with small children can be difficult and takes a lot of planning. Instead, make some memories from home doing fun things in and around the area.

Quality time with your partner

If you are in a new relationship, going away for a weekend or a few days may be too much of a commitment. Plan a few activities in your area – this is a good way to get to know your date without the pressure of having to be together full-time – at the end of the day, you both go to your own homes instead of spending the night together.

If you are already in a committed relationship, a staycation can be as beneficial as a trip away. Use your staycation to spend quality time with your partner, doing fun things that you both enjoy. You may even discover a new hobby that you both find interesting.

Supporting the local economy

By spending your time and money in your local area, you are supporting the local small businesses, attractions and restaurants. If they do well, the whole area benefits and that includes you!  

Protecting the environment

Flying to a specific destination involves a high level of carbon emissions, which is detrimental to the environment. A staycation reduces your impact on the environment since you will be using local transport or your car to get around.

Benefits of a staycation

There are many benefits to taking a staycation:

Cheaper than a vacation

By staying at home and going on fun outings or day trips, you will spend less money than flying to an expensive destination where you also have to book accommodation.

Less stress

Planning a trip somewhere can be stressful as there are so many details to consider, including transport, accommodation, safety, etc. By staying at home, you will avoid all of these stresses and unwind at home.

Staycation risks

Although you will save money and have less stress with a staycation, there are also risks to watch out for:

You may be considered available for work

If your colleagues know that you will be taking a staycation, they may consider you as available for work since you are at home. They may trouble you with work-related issues, which will make your staycation more stressful than relaxing. You may also feel the need to check your work email to make sure you don’t miss any important work issues. To deal with this risk, don’t let your colleagues know that you will be at home. Also, learn to switch off and guard against doing work while you are on paid leave, otherwise, you will go back to work exhausted instead of rested.

Running into people you want to avoid

By doing a staycation, you may run into people you know and want to avoid. When you go on a vacation, the chances of this happening are slim.

You may do housework

If you don’t go away during your vacation time, you may be tempted to do housework instead of relaxing. If you do, you will make yourself tired and will return to work exhausted.

Not experiencing a different culture

When you do go on a foreign trip, you can experience a different culture and have many exciting experiences. When you stay at home, you may not be able to experience different cultures, but there may be other exciting experiences you can have.

How to Plan a Staycation

There are similarities between planing a staycation vs vacation. If you are taking a staycation, it is important to plan your schedule to make sure you do what you wanted to do while on vacation. Here are steps you can follow to create an itinerary for your staycation:

Staycation vs vacation planning staycation
Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

1. Do your research

Make some plans for your staycation by doing a Google Search, looking at activities and ratings on TripAdvisor, finding out what local tours are available and following travel bloggers to get ideas for experiences to include in your itinerary. Also, visit the local tourism office to see what information they can provide you. They may have details of walking tours, good restaurants and local attractions that you may not have been aware of. Consider setting a budget which will guide you in terms of the types and number of activities you can consider for your staycation.

View deals on Tripadvisor

There are so many things you can do while on a staycation. Consider these items:

  • Learn a new skill or try a new hobby
  • Explore your own town or region
  • Have a micro-adventure, such as camping in your own garden
  • Do volunteer work to give back to your community
  • Have a spa day with your friends
  • Have a movie night at your house with friends or family
  • Host a “foods of the world” night where each person brings a dish from their favourite country
  • Try a new exercise class
  • Spend time in nature by doing a day hike
  • Swap houses with a friend or family member

2. Create your itinerary

Document the findings from your research to make sure you allocate time to all the activities you want to have and for the attractions you want to visit. Allocate a specific date for each activity and experience. By planning your itinerary in advance you can make sure that everything fits but also that you group items in the same area together to reduce travel time between items. Also include hobbies and other items you may want to do at home or with friends or family when you create your itinerary.

Read my articles on how I use Notion and Evernote for researching and planning my trips.

3. Make bookings

Book local tours and tickets for attractions to make sure you will go where you planned to go. By having the tickets booked, you are making a commitment that you most likely won’t cancel. Sometimes you may get a discounted price if you book early.

4. Stick to your itinerary

If you make the effort of creating an itinerary and making bookings, stick to your plan! Your plan included everything you wanted to do during your vacation, not sticking to your itinerary will make you feel disappointed at the end of your staycation!

5. Avoid work

Remember, you are on vacation. Pack away your work laptop and the vacuum to make sure you are not tempted to get some work done.

6. Have fun!

The most important thing is to make sure you enjoy your staycation by doing what you wanted to do while making sure you get enough rest!

Have you taken a staycation? How do you decide between a staycation vs vacation?

Staycation vs Vacation What When and How
Staycation vs Vacation What When and How
Staycation vs Vacation: What, When and How?

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