With all of our travel plans continuing to be on hold for the foreseeable future, I am sure I am not alone in dreaming about my next trip for what is becoming an increasing amount of time with every day that goes by. I have come to the conclusion that the likelihood is that domestic travel will be a more viable option before international travel, so whether you are accustomed to the joys a holiday in your own country can bring or not, here is a list of the benefits of a staycation to get you excited for when we are able to move around (a bit more) freely again.
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What is a Staycation?
I have always thought of a staycation as a holiday taken local to yourself and within the country that you live, however apparently it also can mean having a holiday at home! I have to be honest, much as I love my house, it will never have connotations of travel for me, so in this article I am talking about staycations in the context of not being at home.
Staycation travel can also be know as a holistay; a great word I learned only recently, rolls off the tongue really nicely!
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The Benefits of a Staycation
Some people look slightly dubious at the mention of a staycation, but honestly the only downsides I have found with staycationing in the UK in particular is the unreliability of the weather (I am a beach lover until the end of time) and I don’t get the whole airport/airplane experience, which for the most part I really do love.
The staycation advantages list though is much longer than disadvantages; see below whether you want to be persuaded or just needed a reminder!
1. Less Time Spent Travelling
Let’s face it, even short haul trips will take probably take you around the length of a waking day door-to-door, with long haul bringing it closer to a full 24 hours. That’s a lot of time and you’re in danger of spending as much time travelling as you do at your destination if you’re only going for a short trip. It’s also exhausting and recovering from long haul flights will generally take you at least a day, eating into your very precious holiday time.
2. Less Planning Required
Currency exchange, no. Visa application, nope. Flight booking, checking in, weighing bags, unlikely. Research, much less needed, you know what side of the road you drive on, what’s culturally acceptable, how much to tip, etc. Travel insurance, not as essential as your healthcare access should remain unchanged. This is always the biggie for me and the one kind of cover that is critical; you stand to lose a lot, both on the health and money front if you don’t have it in place. However, it’s still worth considering cover in case of reasons like trip cancellation (domestic travel insurance policies for this reason will often cost you a lot less as well).
3. No Jet Lag
I could really end this list right here. Worth its weight in gold and I personally am only a mild sufferer.
4. You Can Relax and Unwind More Quickly
Not struggling with jet lag, lack of sleep, culture shock or the adrenaline rush of travel (we all get that right?!) means you can unwind and chill out much more quickly than you would if travelling to a different country.
No matter how you feel about international travel, I wouldn’t call the process of itself relaxing and I am one of those people that loves it. I always find travelling domestically a lot more chilled and consequently, I relax a lot quicker.
5. Better for Short Breaks
Following on from the points above, if you only have limited travel time, a staycation is a great alternative to an international trip as you spend less time travelling thereby maximising your precious time. This in turn should lead to you being able to relax quicker, critical when you are only away for a short break.
I don’t know about you, but I return from international city breaks over a 2/3/4 day period utterly exhausted; I’ve had a great time yes, but relaxed, recharged and ready to get back to the daily grind with renewed energy, not so much.
6. Discovering Beautiful Places on Your Doorstep
I spent many years jetting off on international trips and never once considered what I was missing in my own back yard, so to speak. When I worked a corporate job, I used to default to taking two fortnight long breaks, one in January and one in June and used to have a mindset that I needed to physically be as far away as possible from work in order to properly relax.
Then (symptomatic of a different problem), when I moved jobs and I found being away from the office for that long resulted in such chaos on my return it would take me months to clear up, I started taking more long weekends away instead. Local travel was a much more attractive option for a short time period, so we discovered some gorgeous parts of the UK I never knew existed and I still did all the things I would do on an international break (except sunbathe by the pool!). I’m still not sure why I was so surprised…
By the way, I don’t work that job any more either!
7. Saves Money
Ooo, this is mosts definitely one of my favourites benefits of a staycation, but even keeping to your usual travel style, this should save you a decent chunk on the lack of flights/airport parking/airport pick up alone.
If bringing your car, while still taking account any fuel, you would still save on taxis/transport costs as well.
More money, more holidays!!
8. A More Sustainable Way to Travel
There are lots of different ways to practice responsible tourism and travel in a more sustainable way, a topic that I think affects travellers more with every passing day.
Holidaying domestically is one of the ways you can contribute towards this as a decent chunk of carbon emissions associated with travel come from planes.
Another benefit of the staycation is that you get to support the local economy, something I think is even more important after the losses sustained in recent months. When we are able to travel again, international tourism may well not flood back quickly due to international travel restrictions, less disposable income and people still feeling the risk factor, so it will be up to the domestic market to help support this where possible.
Related Post: The Future of Travel After Quarantine
9. Your Puppy can Come!
I am every walking cliché that people who don’t have pets (particularly dogs) look slightly disgusted by whenever they witness the extent to which I love my dog. I have had a beautiful golden cockapoo puppy for almost a year ago now and I love to be with him as much as possible. It hasn’t stopped me travelling internationally as he has a lovely holiday home with my mum and her cockapoo puppy in Somerset, but I get so excited at the thought of bundling Alfie into the car and bringing him along with us to explore a new place. I love travel and I love my dog, so I am very happy when I get to combine them!
I was gifted this book for Christmas that gives some great recommendations on the best boutique places to stay in the UK that are also dog friendly. The ones I have tried so far have been excellent!
Bringing the “Glamour” of International Travel to a Staycation
So one of my fears before making staycations a more regular feature in my travel plans is that I wouldn’t get the same kind of excitement and adrenaline rush that I get whenever I travel through an airport and board my flight to somewhere I have never been before (or somewhere I have been may times as well!).
It’s a feeling like no other and embodies the reasons behind why I love travel as much as I do. However, I have found some ways to replicate it when staycationing; it isn’t exactly the same, but has a different kind of excitement to it.
Related Post: Slow Tourism, An Immersive Travel Experience
Road Trip It Up
I have become more and more of an advocate of road trips over the last few years. I used to virtually hate travelling anywhere by car because of the amount of times I spent in bloody traffic jams on the absolutely buggered motorways in this country. They are smelly, boring and massive time wasters.
Then I discovered the scenic route and travelling by car could become a pleasure again (maybe not quite for work). Now whenever we are planning a staycation we actively choose the route rather than just allowing the GPS to find the most boring road in the vicinity and make us drive on it forever.
Even our monthly Friday night slogs to Somerset to spend the weekend with my family have become much more pleasant since we started driving through The Cotswolds rather than zooming down the M5. The hilarious part is that most of the time it is actually quicker as well as there is less traffic.
I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that the restriction on luggage weight/size/existence has caused you some stress at some point. Yep, now you don’t have that. Overpack to your hearts content and unless you are driving a Mini or a flashy two seater, it will all fit.
Pretend it’s the Airplane
So what do you do when you get on an airplane? If you’re anything like me, you get changed into your cashmere sweatsuit and get a glass of bubbly before you’ve taxied down the runway.
Guess what, I do exactly the same in the car as well. “Car wine” has been a feature of by previously mentioned Friday night car journeys for many years and is also a wonderful addition to your staycation travel. I even have a special car wine glass to avoid spillages. Who stays car travel can’t be five star luxury!
Obviously this doesn’t work if you are the designated driver (cashmere sweatpants do though).
I will assume you are all insanely jealous of my wine sippy cup, I have this double wall insulated one, it will leak if you let it fall on it’s side but it won’t go everywhere if you take a sip as your jealous driver goes through a particularly aggressive pothole.
Pack Your Carry On
Your luggage still has to go in the boot, so make sure you pack your carry on well. I actually pack very similarly for both longer car journeys and planes; portable power packs, eye mask, pillows, essential oil rollerballs and a massive bottle of water.
There is nothing more annoying that having to stop to rifle through the boot to find that essential item. Remember you’ve probably overpacked as well so it will actually be like rummaging through an actual airplane hold. A pro or a con depending on how much you’re missing that airport experience.
Take a Picnic
You know that feeling when you’ve been cooped up in your seat in a steel tube for the last few hours, the effects of that post take off glass of bubbly (or three) are wearing off, you’ve finished two movies and are starting to get a bit restless? Well, when you’re flying, you have to suck it up.
When you’re driving however, you most definitely do not. I was gifted the most lovely picnic basket by my aunt and uncle for our wedding a couple of years ago and since then have fallen in love with al fresco dining on-the-go.
Pack your favourite treats in your hamper (I decant M&S goodies into fancy tupperware and look like a regular domestic goddess) and choose somewhere scenic to stop on the route. Its a lovely way to refresh and relax instead of grabbing a burger at a service station, as well as letting you stretch your legs somewhere that doesn’t have air pollution levels similar to Beijing.
Final Thoughts: Staycation Benefits
While far-flung holidays will continue to hold their appeal and one day I most definitely will be hopping back on that jet plane to some exotic land, the benefits of staycations are aplenty and I would encourage those of you that are yet to find the joys in them to try it.
For those of you that are no stranger to a domestic holiday, I raise you a car wine cheers from somewhere in the English countryside and I hope you have found some suggestions here to level up your next trip!