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August 03, 2009

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Caitlin

Staycation... stagnation ... LOL!

I think it's different in the US because Americans only get an average of two weeks a year. If you get four to six weeks per year and are legally required to take the time off, then it's quite normal to spend a week of that at home.

It's definitely not as relaxing though. They call it 'getting away from it all' for a reason.

Caitlin

I had to smile when I read the one about checking for snail mail. When I was eleven my Mum took me to Fiji for a month. We gave everyone we knew the Poste Restante address in Suva and wrote letters and postcards back and forth with all our friends and family. Checking mail was a highlight! How times have changed.

Ellen

I think you're right - if you get four to six weeks off, staying home doesn't feel as "wrong." How nice it must be to be "legally required" to take time off. Sigh.

Ah yes, snail mail. I spent a year of study at Exeter University in England and letters delivered by a human being were the best!

Ted

I have taken full weeks off to stay home. The main benefit I get from it is a renewed appreciation of the one and only advantage of solo travel: it's almost always better to go somewhere interesting alone than to stay home alone.

Ellen

I hope that others who stay home because they're hesitant to travel solo read your comment!

Ted

Yes, but (to bring this whole thing full circle) a very good beginning for someone hesitant to travel solo is to start with-- you guessed it-- a staycation! If doing unfamiliar things in an unfamiliar environment is too daunting, start with doing unfamiliar things in a familiar environment. Get a guidebook, do some research, and plan to spend a weekend playing tourist and eating in restaurants in your home town, alone. Then come home to your own unmade bed.

Once you've found you can survive that (and, I hope, even enjoy it), get the guidebook back out and find a local hotel for another "practice run" in your hometown. Once you can do that, you're ready for a "real" solo trip! But if your initial experiment leads you to conclude you're constitutionally incapable of enjoying solo travel (as a few people apparently are), at least it didn't cost much. And maybe you got to visit a few interesting places you never had the opportunity to visit.

Despite all the silliness (and the ditzy portmanteau that deserves to slither back into the tar pit from which it emerged) the "staycation" has its place in the universe of travel choices.

Ellen

I have to say, Ted, I see what you're saying but I disagree on this point. I wouldn't enjoy dining alone in a restaurant at home. On vacation, I push myself. I don't have many choices. That is, I don't have a kitchen or a refrigerator that allows me to stay in.

And as much as I would like staying in a hotel in my home town - what a treat - I don't think it mimics the experience of going on vacation solo.

What's hard for a lot of people is setting out on a trip away from home with days and days to fill. All day long. All three meals. In a strange place. Getting on that plane or train and going. Making that long-term commitment, even if long-term is a weekend or a week.

I don't believe it's the same thing to do that at home. I imagine most people could easily go to a local museum and then get a bite to eat on their own in their home town. And not be afraid.

Yet, they might have trouble getting on a plane to do the same thing.

I liken it to diving into a swimming pool. You either dive or you don't. You can't stop mid-dive and put a toe in the water. Some things require that leap of faith, as I wrote in a very early blog.

As for taking days off and staying home, a lot of people enjoy that. I'm not here to talk them out of that.

My job is to give a push to those who don't go on vacation alone because it's too daunting or they're afraid. But they'd really, really like to get away...I want to tell them great joy is in store. Not guaranteed. But very possible.

Miami Hotels

LOL @ "You kicked yourself for not packing enough camera memory cards". This actually happened to me! I booked a vacation to Miami on the ECT site last summer and figures "What do I need my laptop for on this vacation?" - and so... I couldn't empty my cards! AHHH! The vacation however was AWESOME! :)

Ellen

I do believe nearly ALL of these things on the list happened to me!
Next time, however, you can bring your memory cards to a photo shop and download them onto a CD and empty your cards...or buy new ones.
But of course, this means you have access to a photo store when you need it. And there were plenty of times that didn't work for me either!

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