Staycations – The Travel Trend Continues
The phrase staycation gained prominence during the Covid pandemic when travel was discouraged. It’s been around for at least a decade however, and today people still type “staycation near me” into Google to find something interesting nearby.
What is a Staycation Exactly?
There is no certain definition. It is described as a vacation in one’s own home or one’s own city/town which would be the pandemic version. Others describe it as a vacation in one’s own country, while others believe it to be one where you can drive to. The distance and change of scenery might matter. Some spammy travel marketers treat the phrase simply as some place where you “stay” and it’s the usual list of vacation destinations.
How far must you travel to qualify it as a staycation? Because some governments are offering tax rebates for staycations. The distance is anyone’s guess but we might broaden to one day’s drive to be very liberal. A one day’s drive is not too expensive and it’s to a place that’s fairly familiar to travelers. If it’s too far, it’s not really a staycation.
However, if the in-country description is preferred, it would include some coast-to-coast travelers, and therefore of interest to tourism boards and travel management service providers. Once planes and hotels are used for multiweek trips, it will be managed via a travel management software.
High Costs are Reducing Travel Plans
Given inflation, terrorism, higher crime, and the growing economic recession, more people are cutting back on travel, making shorter visits, and making the best of regional travel destinations. And for many, there are resorts, parks, and cities that can offer a great adventure. They’ve just never had the desire or reason to visit them before. In 2023, that may have changed and in 2024, we’ll see more of it.
Traveler surveys show Americans in particular plan to do more staycations. In the last 3 years, homeowners have chosen to renovate their homes to make it a personal oasis for themselves and their families. It’s driven Home Depot and Lowe’s stock prices up. New amenities such as patios, decks, swimming pools, barbecue and firepits, and hot tubs were the additions they built and those increase their home value. Getting a tax break for a home improvement and getting a staycation out of it isn’t such as bad choice.
Which all means home vacations might appeal to many people who need to travel for stress relief or may want to spend more time at home with their kids. They can combine with work-from-home routines, where the home needs to be perked up. My relative has a brand new pool and spa outside his home now, which he can view as he works from home.
Just a note though, that at-home staycations might be a short trend. Most will yearn for long-distance international travel, such as snowbirds who tire of cold winters and 4 walls. People are still suffering from the stagnation of the pandemic period, and desperately need a travel break.
However, in 2024, affordability is an issue which means staycations will be chosen. Let’s delve into it and get some great staycation ideas.
Pros and Cons of Staycations
It can certainly help with relaxation and restoring people’s sense of self-possession. Experiencing a home spa whenever you want definitely offers health benefits. Travelers crave novelty, new experiences and awesome vistas.
Staycations don’t offer a different, unique cultural and geographic experience which is the rejuvenating transformative benefit of travel. A visit to Australia, Switzerland, Hawaii, or Thailand can’t be duplicated in your state or province.
The next most popular staycation would be state parks and nearby resorts. Quite a few people haven’t taken the time to visit nearby cities and parks to enjoy what is likely available. However, the farther you travel, the more likely your staycation will cost the same as an International trip.
As wonderful as staycations might sound for some, it doesn’t really provide the kind of mental, emotional and physical break that the mind needs to rejuvenate.
Most Popular Staycation Ideas
- local resort with large swimming pools, hot tubes, tennis courts, or play areas for kids
- local theme parks with rides and attractions
- nearby big city with entertainment, museums, aquariums, restaurants
- state and National parks for adventure outdoors
- local in-state boat cruises and tours
- nearby city with Zoos, theatres, boat tours, and sports venues
- renting a cottage or chalet
End of 2024 Travel Season Leans More Toward International
Those who have done staycations may be bored with those few destinations.
However in 2024, a slightly deepening recession will likely encourage more Americans, Canadians, Brits and Australians to travel nearby. Staycations in a nearby city might include a sports event, visit to a museum or aquarium, or a boat cruise. Some cities have all that and more. Some travelers are using popular travel portals such as hotels.com, expedia.com, and booking.com to create and manage their trip, which has improved their bottom-line profits.
Creating a trip to visit a winery region, or mountain biking/skiing resort, or a lake region where boat tours and beaches abound.
Camping and RVing are extremely popular too, so much so that it is nearly impossible to book a campsite or RV slip. When crowded, they might not provide the type of experience that many expect with too much noise, theft, refuse, noisy dogs, and raucous behavior. The disappointment and stress can actually work against those who do that kind of staycation.
Then again, any vacation can be a big disaster if it’s not organized and managed well.
Best Cities for Staycations?
Wallethub conducted its survey of travelers and found that Honolulu, Orlando, Las Vegas, Tampa, Salt Lake City, and Charleston SC were rated best. That’s wonderful for those who live within driving distance.
The lowest-rated cities were Chula Vista, Pearl City, Fremont, Oxnard, Santa Ana, and Irving. Some cities in the US are plainly dangerous and adventures there a perhaps risky and not quite a vacation for anyone.
The Thrillist published a list of favorite staycation cities in the US:
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- Orlando, Florida
- Key West, Florida
- Page, Arizona
- Moab, Utah
- Tampa, Florida
- Miami, Florida
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Stanley, Idaho
- Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Those would be in the in-country definition of staycations.
However, hundreds of US cities, and many states and regions are ones residents need a break from. And that’s a driver of business for travel agencies, tour operators, hotels, car rental agencies, theme parks, wineries, restaurants, and tourist spots.
Let’s face it, it is tough to replace Venice Italy, Lauterbrunnen Switzerland, Maui Hawaii, Phi Phi Thailand, Tiananmen China, Puerto Vallarta Mexico, Sydney Australia, Costa Rica, Rio De Janeiro, or Kyoto Japan. Canada and the US don’t have ancient pyramids and ruins, nor old European history and culture, nor Kangaroos and Wallabies.
And the California experience is hard for any travel destination to beat. It has the largest blend of captivating experiences, sights, and venues. San Diego Country and San Francisco Bay Area are inspiring vacations where you can visit beaches and wineries, play golf and tennis, go mountain biking and visit quaint towns (Napa).
2024 Will Bring a Return to International Travel
Staycations were a wonderful fallback for the 2021 to 2024 period and millions took them.
As we push toward the end of the FED rate hike, and the economy picks, more people with pent-up travel wishes will take longer trips, mostly by jet, to visit the world’s most compelling destinations.
Travel agents, tour operators, and venue owners will see rising bookings and likely travel prices will rise. Bleisure trips will increase too as workers working from home face stress from being cooped up 24×7 in one apartment. Desperately, they will seek working vacations to rejuvenate their souls.
To provide frustrated travelers in the next few years and find affordable bookings, and managing complex itineraries, travel businesses will be utilizing powerful SaaS travel management software platforms.
These comprehensive solutions make travel less expensive, safer, more comfortable and less stressful and ensure travelers have a memorable experience. If you’re a travel business owner, investigate some of the travel management software available today and value-added service providers who produce travel packages that bring everything together.
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