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A staycation is a period in which an individual or family stays home and participates in leisure activities within driving distance, sleeping in their own beds at night. They might make day trips to local tourist sites, swimming venues, or engage in fun activities such as horseback riding, paintball, hiking or visiting museums. Most of the time it involves dining out more frequently than usual. Some people may include one or two overnight visits at relatives, friends or a longer trip. Staycations achieved popularity in the US during the financial crisis of 2007–2010. Staycations also became a popular phenomenon in the UK in 2009 as a weak pound made overseas holidays significantly more expensive.
Common activities of a staycation include use of the backyard pool, visits to local parks and museums, and attendance at local festivals. Some staycationers also like to follow a set of rules, such as setting a start and end date, planning ahead, and avoiding routine, with the goal of creating the feel of a traditional vacation.
The word staycation is a portmanteau of stay (meaning stay-at-home) and vacation. The term "daycation" is also sometimes used. The blog Wordspy.com attributes the earliest reference to this term as coming from a 2003 article in The Sun News. According to a Connecticut travel blog, the word "staycation" was originally coined by Canadian comedian Brent Butt in the television show Corner Gas, in the episode "Mail Fraud", which first aired October 24, 2005. The word became widely used in the United States during May 2008 as the summer travel season began with gas prices reaching record highs, leading many people to cut back on expenses including travel.
A closely related concept and term is nearcation, which is taking a vacation to a location relatively close to home. "Nearcation" and "staycation" may be used interchangeably since the travel destination may be in the same metropolitan region in which one resides and it is unclear how far away a destination needs to be until it becomes no longer a "staycation".
Lake Superior State University added the word to its 2009 List of Banished Words. The citation noted that vacation is not synonymous with travel, and thus a separate term isn't necessary to describe a vacation during which one stays at home.
Staycations are far less costly than a vacation involving traveling. There are no lodging costs and travel expenses are minimal. Costs may include transportation for local trips, dining, and local attractions. "The American Automobile Association said the average North American vacation will cost $244 per day for two people for lodging and meals.... Add some kids and airfare, and a 10-day vacation could top $8,000."
Indeed, a few people go as far as leaving their home only for their usual errands (such as food shopping). Those with backyard swimming pools have an advantage as they can spend more time swimming without leaving their property and sometimes have as much fun as they might have had going anywhere.
Staycations may be of economic benefit to some local businesses, who get customers from the area providing them with business. In 2008, the tourism bureaus of many U.S. cities also began promoting staycations for their residents to help replace the tourism dollars lost from a drop in out-of-town visitors.
As staycationers are close to their places of employment, they may be tempted to go to work at least part of the time, and their bosses may feel their employees are available to be called into work. Staycationers also have access to their email (whether personal or business) at home as they would regularly, allowing them to be contacted, and feeling the temptation to keep up with this contact (whether business or social). These risks can be balanced by strictly adhering rules that make the experience feel like a real get-away, such as "no checking email," or "no watching television."
Staycationers may spend money they had not planned as retailers and other advertisers offer "deals" to encourage staycationers to spend money. These may include hotels making package deals in hopes of luring planned staycationers to do some travel. Staycationers can also finish a stay-at-home vacation feeling unsatisfied if they allow themselves to fall into their daily monotony and include household projects, errands, and other menial tasks in their vacation at home or near home.
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