Want to Get Away? Stay Home with a Staycation.


| January-February 2009

This article is one of several on reclaiming rest in all aspects of our lives. For more, read  Get Radical. Get Some Rest. ,  Give Us a Break ,  Breaking It to Your Boss ,  Sleep Tips: Age Matters , and  The No Wake Zone .

In the last couple of years, amid high gas prices and economic gyrations, the term staycation entered the media lexicon to describe the concept of vacationing at, or close to, home. Lifestyle feature editors love it, grammarians are irked by it, and the travel industry is positively terrified of it. Arthur Frommer of Frommer’s guide fame even delivered a blustery broadside against the term—“the shameful second-rate substitute for travel”—in a commentary published in newspapers and on his website.

Get past the oxymoronic semantics of the buzzword, though, and there’s a real phenomenon here. Many people are looking for ways to enjoy R&R without breaking their budget or committing egregious eco-sins, and often that means vacationing closer to where you live. The real trick is to use your break wisely, to end up feeling as if you’ve gotten away instead of simply frittering away your precious vacation time around the house.

“I experienced my first and only staycation a short while ago,” writes Maureen Dixon in California’s Pacific Sun newspaper (July 11, 2008). “If not taking a shower until three in the afternoon, staring blankly at your computer for hours, and gazing longingly in the kitchen at a bottle of Grey Goose vodka is your idea of fun, then you’re in for the time of your life.”



To help you avoid Dixon’s fate, we scoured Utne Reader’s alt-press library for suggestions on ways to make the most of your whatever-you-want-to-call-it. Here’s what we gleaned.