Updated: May 7
by Reagan Williams
After being homebound for a year due the pandemic, is it safe to travel again or even go on vacation? The pandemic has significantly impacted the travel economy in every state and territory. In 2020, travel spending experienced a record annual decline of 42%, nearly $500 billion from 2019, according to an analysis by Tourism Economics. Frankly, it's not hard to imagine why a Staycation could be an optimal choice for you to get away this spring or summer. It’s a great way to take a break, stay close to home and be budget friendly. A staycation can be a holiday spent in a person’s home country versus going abroad or spending it at home involving trips to local attractions. No matter where you are, a staycation can offer you various benefits by being local, taking less time off from work, customization of trips, and less stress.
If you do not have a lot of time or money, a staycation allows options to stay on a budget. An incentive is you don’t have to fret about booking expensive flights nor deal with the pressure of planning every aspect of your trip in advance. You can design your staycation midweek versus the weekend because hotels occupancy are less during the week. Another cost-saving tip is to look for last minute deals. If you aren’t sure where you want to go and it's tourist season, you can take advantage of a vacancy or last- minute cancellation. A great place to find deals, coupons, and discounts is offered by CityPASS. You can contact your local tourism office to take advantage of savings and multi-attraction passes. CityPass is featured in major cities (e.g., Atlanta, Boston, Houston, New York City) with affordable pricing for adults and children. There are other cost effective alternatives for free outdoor activities, hop-on, hop-off bus tours, or creating a weekend getaway in a house swap in a service like Home Exchange.
Meanwhile, staycations allow a person to discover or rediscover their city or region, while helping to promote the local economy. A person can leave their activity wheelhouse by taking a tour of the local market, participating in seasonal competitions or spending the night in a hotel nearby. Perhaps, if you're a visual learner, you can create a staycation that introduces travel to you through video. A person can experience a new place and culture with associated health benefits of decreasing stress to improving creativity. For example, if you like to cook, you can travel to Italy via Instagram to learn how to cook from many cooking series hosted daily by chef’s in Italy. In the same vein, if you want to create a destination cocktail night, there are books out there to help inspire you to make your own concoctions from around the world e.g., How To Be Your Own Bartender.
Nature can offer a favorable alternative to have a first time experience you normally wouldn’t get. A study conducted by Stanford University in 2015, showed that a nature experience produced benefits for affect and cognition. You can socially distance and still enjoy a walking trail or visit a national park trail that you’ve never been on before. There are 62 national parks to choose from in the United States. If you need to find something locally, you can find local trails with apps e.g. Hiking Project and AllTrails. While you are off, you can experience travel through learning another language and engage in lifelong learning. Languages are shown to improve brain function, memory and increase mental flexibility according to a study published in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience in 2018.
When you are ready to travel again, Babbel or Rosetta Stone are great sites to assist you for your next destination spot. Finally, as the world is still mitigating the pandemic and people are getting vaccinated, it does not mean you can’t take time off for a vacation and create the ultimate staycation. There are always ways to experience travel and relaxation by bringing it to you locally from the inside and outside of your home.