Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Benefits of Staycationing

This week, while Toni is busily embroiled in the phenomenon known as an American High School Graduation, Annabella Forbes--founder of Bed&Fed, a network of home from home guest rooms across the UK and Ireland--and I take a look at the phenomenon known as the "Staycation."


Staycation:  a derisive term applied to holidays spent in your own country.  I doubt this term is used in America (and if it were, I don’t think it would be derisive) because staying in the US on your vacation is practically a given.  That is, if you actually go on vacation at all.  (But this is best left for another post.)

In the UK, however, going abroad is what you do on holiday—France, Italy, Spain, Croatia and beyond—and staying at home is looked upon as the last refuge of people who can’t afford a proper holiday.  I, however, love staycations; my wife and I usually plan at least two in-country getaways every year.  And every year we make wonderful discoveries.

Britain is a beautiful place, with astounding variations of culture and landscape in a comparatively compact country; it would be a shame to spend all our holidays in southern Spain soaking up the sun and miss the atmosphere and grandeur of the Yorkshire moors on a grey and drizzling morning.

No, I honestly mean that.  Really.

Annabella Forbes:

Staycationing? The beautiful art of holidaying at home – or at least in the same country.
We have a wealth of destinations here in the UK that are fascinating, terrific, exciting, breathtaking and beautiful – sometimes you miss the things that are right in front of you. Staycationing is the new black and here’s why:

Benefit #1 – Save Money, Cut Carbon and Avoid airport taxes and other excruciating fees.

Airlines, while great at getting you from A to B, can really put pressure on your purse strings with their extra charges when it comes to holidaying abroad, not to mention the fact that you will probably have to buy food in the airport which in itself is financially crippling! Holidaying in the UK means you just need a car or train (or even just a bike!).

Additionally you can feel extra smug because, unlike your jet-setting friends, your carbon footprint will be as minuscule as that of an ant wearing stilettos. Holidaying in the UK can also save you a fortune on visas and time – it can all be done last minute and on a whim! Staycationing allows you to be spontaneous: plan your break away on a Friday afternoon and leave that evening!

Benefit #2 – Find Unique and Interesting Places to Stay

Where can you stay on your staycation? Well, there’s always hotels and B&B’s (which admittedly can be quite pricey), but staying in a real homes, like those on the Bed&Fed website, is another great option. This is a lot less restrictive than staying in a hotel and far nicer and more fun – plus you don’t have to check in, queue for a seat in the restaurant or wait at the bar to be served. You are met with a warm welcome instead of a reception desk and the smell of a delicious supper wafting in from the kitchen – it’s just like staying with friends.

Really affordable accommodation CAN be found in the UK – from cottages to castles, farms to city pads, some of the friendliest, loveliest, cheapest, prettiest, nicest, coziest, lovely-jubly home from home guest rooms can be discovered on our very own lovely little island. Plus many of these properties are just perfect if you are a freelance contract worker, going on a course or just traveling for work!

Benefit #3 – Meet and Eat with new people who could actually become your friends

Let’s face it, you’re not going to stay in touch with that lovely waiter from that bar or the lady in the shop who sold you those overpriced sunglasses. Visiting somewhere in the UK however means you have the chance to make friends all over the country – as the saying goes, ‘a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet’.

A home from home experience can make a huge difference to your stay away. It can be really enjoyable and you get to meet great people who want to Host you in their home – it’s something that should be seen as exciting – there is no-one better to stay with than people from the area you are visiting, as this will enrich your experience (and if you’re lazy like me you won’t have to read a guide book as they will tell you all you need to know!). Think about it: you ALWAYS have a better time on your travels if you meet people from the area.

Bed&Fed is here to help you get so much more from your trip - affordable, welcoming homes with home-cooked food and priceless local knowledge.

From me to you, enjoy your stay(cation)!

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  1. Actually "staycation" is used in the US but, at least here in Northern California, means taking a vacation somewhere close to home. I've seen it used only in positive terms.

  2. Joanie: I guess I'm a poor one to comment on whether "Staycation" is used in the US since the word wasn't even invented when I lived there ;) Interesting, and apt, that they should use it that way; living in Seattle and spending a week in Florida would hardly qualify as a "Staycation"

  3. Yeah, I always thought it was an American word too. It has that cutesy Pollyanna, orphan Annie, "the sun will come out tomorrow," "turn that frown upside down," vibe, which Americans do SO much better than we do. We tend to take a cutesy sounding name and tie it to something vulgar: e.g. the very different definitions of "cottaging" in Britain as opposed to in Canada. A quick look online and it seems to be that "Staycation," if not originating in the US, is perhaps the fault of the Canadians.

  4. What does 'cottaging' mean in Canada then? Presumably something innocuous! Holidaying in a cottage, perhaps?

    I'll have to have a look at the Bed&Fed website. We can't afford a holiday this year, and staying in Britain in a cottage or whatever is so RIDICULOUSLY expensive - and last time we did it (Devon, 2 years ago I think) it rained almost the whole week. No wonder we Brits all want to head abroad for some sun.

    I'd like to visit Ireland again though - it's years since I went there, and I really liked it when I did.

    The other cheap option is house swaps - but that isn't an option for us as I'd have to spend so long cleaning and tidying before we went that it would take away all the pleasure of the holiday.

    But Mike - Yorkshire? Dull, dreary and drizzly. I mean, it's beautiful on the 3 days a year when they get some sun, but there's no way of guaranteeing that you'll get one of them if you go there. And if that's your only holiday... well, it's such a disappointment to have a crap-weather week. Nope, gotta head abroad imo. Sorry to any Yorkshire people - believe me, that's my opinion of the whole of Britain, not just Yorkshire.

  5. When I came across this term for the first time, it was a very original idea. An idea being something like you either can't afford to go to Italy or don't want to increase your carbon footprint so instead you take a week out and stay at home. Put a Do not Disturb sign on the door, Learn Italian, Eat Italian food, drink Italian wine, Expresso etc. Get Pizzas delivered. Watch Italian Films and basically immerse yourself in all things Italian from the comfort of your own home.
    Then it all got lost in translation: "Send three and four pence we are going to a dance". ;)

  6. Okay Im sold--the Staycation we're planning this sumer will be fab, I am sure of it! So long as we don't spend the whole of two weeks doing all the jobs that get left around the house...

  7. Staycation is used in these parts (the MidWest) to mean not going anywhere at all but just kicking around at home. Sounds quite appealing to me!

  8. I haven't heard staycationing used around here, but in fact most people do not venture further than the East end of Long Island for their summer holiday (usually referred to as 'out east'). No-one (American) I know is going abroad and trips further afield such as Florida usually take place in the winter.

  9. @Mrs Baum: Yes, they use it for when people head out to the lakes and stay at a cottage or cabin for the weekend.

  10. I've just remembered why this was all sounding a bit familiar...

    No less an authority than Lynneguist of "Separated by a Common Language" proclaimed Staycation the "Best American English to British Import" for 2009:

    I've always thought of it as a "bogus trends" word, created by the media as an excuse to write about perfectly ordinary activities (spending free time at home) as if they are New! and Exciting! I've only encountered it in articles- never in conversation.

  11. Macha: Come to think about it, I rarely hear anyone actually say the word, either.

  12. Ok I'm late into this conversation, but I just had to join in....

    Yorkshire, dull, dreary and drizzly??? I will have you know that is most certainly NOT what Yorkshire is like. No more than the other popular American misconceptions (All my in-laws are American so I can say this with some confidence) that it always rains in Britain and that we all have bad teeth.

    Today in Yorkshire the temperatures in my part of it were well into the 70's and it was beautifully sunny. Though I do concede that Mike has a point that on a grey, drizzly and moody day Yorkshire finds it possible to be at it's most magnificent, especially in places such as the top of Malham cove (where Harry and Hermione are see camping on the top of in the penultimate Potter film.

    Mrs Baum - you really really should get out more....

  13. I think Britain is lovely and if it wasn't for the unpredictability of the weather (rain that goes on & on when you least expect it) then I think holidays here would be perfect.
    Not always cheaper than going abroad though. British holidays can be expensive unless you are camping in a remote spot.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  14. Mike, you are so right about the Yorkshire Moors on a wet day. I used to live in Ilkley and loved the atmosphere on rainy days.

    Re: staycations: I had never heard that term here in the US but last year a friend was visiting from the UK and we went to Philadelphia for the day. He told us about the word and that it meant staying at home instead of having a holiday. I, who haven't had a break in years, said "oh we do staycations too ... only without the cation" and a passing man burst out laughing.

  15. Thanks CD for the definition!

    So it's just me that doesn't like Britain then. We spent a year in the Scottish borders in the Lammermuir hills and everyone else thought they were beautiful. I thought they were uniform and depressing, and I kept having to go off to Edinburgh (40 miles away) shopping on Saturdays just to remind myself that real life still existed - and I'm not even much of a city person really.

    Steveg - you mean where Harry and Hermione are on those rocks? It is sort of stunning but also bleak. The very word 'moor' sounds depressing to me; not sure why.

    I think I'm a forests and beaches sort of girl. And sun, definitely. And nowhere too remote. Just fussy I guess.


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