Perfecting the art of the staycation

It’s May and people have started asking this question: “So what are your plans for summer?”

What they really mean is this: “Ask me about my fabulous summer vacation plans.”

I loathed this question at one time. Mostly because my answer was something like this: “Oh, you know. Staying here. Hanging out. Can’t really afford to get away this year.”

To which people usually responded by launching into a long and detailed itinerary of the incredible plans in their very near future that would see them jetting off to Portugal or Paraguay or Portland.

A formerly dear friend of mine was even once honest (rude?) enough to tell me that she simply could not understand why? why? WHY? someone would stay home for their vacation. That just sounds so boring to me, said she of the life with no mortgage, no kids, and a lucrative hourly wage job with tons of overtime.

Since the 2008 recession, the staycation has gained popularity. It helps when slick magazines tout its virtues. But I consider myself a foremother of the staycation (I was doing it way before it was cool or even ironically cool), and so I can offer these three Don’ts to make the best of your at-home adventure:

1) Don’t do chores. Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you should treat it as such. Sure, the recycling is piling up and the table is collecting dust. So what. Those are chores for next week, when you are back at real life. Right now, you are on a much needed break from the humdrum of washing windows and doing laundry.

If you must, choose one day to get it all done (may I suggest the very first day, not the very last). Otherwise, treat your staycation like a vacation. Because that’s what it is.

2) Don’t stick to your routine. Have you ever had visitors come to your home town or city, and the minute they arrive they start prattling on about all the fun things they’re going to do and see while they’re there? Meanwhile, you’re looking at them like, since when does [City Name] have an [Awesome Museum About Something Super Random] and a [Really Amazing Natural Phenomenon Within Cycling Distance]? Chances are – because you’re so busy dreaming about vacations to other parts of the world – you have no idea what your home has to offer.

Case in Point > I’ve lived on a provincial park within the city limits for the past five years. For the first two years I lived here, I always turned left at this one fork in the park path. Then one day, I turned right. Turns out, the right side of the park is infinitely more beautiful (see below).

Photo: Heather Setka

During your staycation, eat at restaurants you normally scuttle past. Get on the bus, and get off at a place you’ve never been before. Turn right where you habitually turn left.

3) Don’t share your plans. Trust me, someone will try to dash them, and it will hurt. Your sweet, whimsical Facebook update that reads, “One week at home to relax starts tomorrow. Can’t wait.” will likely draw the mocking disdain of every psuedo-friend you have. “Sounds like fun! {Smiley face} I’m off to Nepal in two weeks. Also can’t wait. {Smug Wink Face with a Stuck-Out Tongue}.”

Also, you don’t want your staycation hijacked by people whom you wouldn’t include in an away vacation. Here’s a rule: if you’d rather poke your eyes out with a fork than take a cruise with your second best friend from art school, then don’t have a three-hour coffee with her during the week you’re supposed to be reading sci-fi novels on your patio.

It’s your staycation. Don’t let anyone else ruin it.


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2 thoughts on “Perfecting the art of the staycation

  1. Thriftyisnifty says:

    Your observations about the very human inclination to compare and contrast monetary wealth is truly bang on. I really enjoy each of your posts and always feel better knowing that there are contrarion thinkers such as yourself out there ready and willing to call attention to the folly of dream vacations that people finance with debt. I had not heard of travel loans until a few years ago after finding out that was how our friends were able to afford trips to Italy, Spain, ect. The “Aha!” moment came when we overheard a conversation between man and wife about carefully shifting funds from lines of credit, credit cards, ect to buy groceries. Did we feel superior in that moment? You bet we did. Did we flaunt our lack of debt in their faces the same way they flaunt their comfort with crazy amounts of debt? No, but it sure would be fun to compare balance sheets!!

    Keep up the great work, I love the weekly dose of reality!

    • I love this comment! It didn’t occur to me either until recently that people were taking out loans or compounding credit card debt to travel. I just assumed that everyone around me had piles and piles of cash to spend on their vacations. WRONG! It’s interesting to me how much world travel has become a status symbol. It always makes me smirk when people say they “did Spain” or they plan to “do France”. It’s as if they’re ticking off some imaginary list of places they must see or their lives won’t be complete. There is more than one way to have an adventurous life.
      Thanks so much for commenting. I also like to know that there are contrarian thinkers out there. 🙂

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