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Staycation: a sustainable way to take a break

Staycation: a sustainable way to take a break
Image source: Getty Images.


The meaning of staycation can vary depending on who you ask. In the US, it mostly means doing day trips but sleeping at home every night. In the UK, the word staycation is also used to mean vacationing within the country instead of going abroad.

With travel restrictions still in place and a big push from the tourism board, UK residents are taking advantage of staycations more than ever before. Not only is this a great form of sustainable tourism, but it helps local businesses.

Origin of the word

Staycation is a portmanteau word. A portmanteau is a word created by blending two (or more) separate words into one. The word brunch – created by combining breakfast and lunch – is perhaps one of the most famous examples of a portmanteau word.

Staycation is the combination of stay (home) and vacation, a perfect description of acting like you’re on holiday but without actually travelling far away to do so.

For years, the origin of the word was attributed to the Canadian comedian Brent Butt, who used it in 2005 in the TV sitcom Corner Gas. But while Butt might have been the one who made the term popular, he wasn’t the one who invented it.

According to Merriam-Webster, the earliest use of the word staycation was found in a 1944 full-page ad for Felsenbrau Supreme beer published in the Cincinnati Enquirer. The ad listed a series of “things to do this July” and included the sentence “Take a Stay-cation instead of a Va-cation, this year.”

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary officially included the word staycation in 2009.

Staycation meaning in practical terms

Staycations are all about staying home (or as close to home as possible), but there are no other specific rules.

For some people, staycations might mean visiting local amusement parks and museums in their own town. For others, it could mean pitching a tent in their own garden and having picnics under the stars.

Playing tourist in your own city is a great way to keep costs down while discovering new-to-you places.

If you have the urge to go somewhere new, look for nearby towns that can be reached within an hour or two. You then have a choice to return home to sleep at the end of the day, or stay overnight.

To make a staycation feel more like a vacation, you can set your own rules. Pick how long your staycation will be and plan your activities in advance, or at least create a list of options.

Little things like ordering food delivery or having a picnic at a local park instead of cooking will also break up the routine and make it feel more like a holiday.

Benefits of staycations

Perhaps the biggest advantage of choosing a staycation is that it allows you to travel on a budget. If you focus on day trips and then return home to sleep every night, you’ll save a lot of money. 

Plus, staying close to home means no worries about missing a flight or finding somebody to water your plants. For those looking to reduce their carbon footprint, staycations are certainly more environmentally friendly too. 

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