This year sees us doing a lot of home renovation and decoration. We have already turned our smallest bedroom into a home office (and it looks amazing even if I do say so myself) and starting next week we are having our bathrooms ripped out and remodelled. Therefore, this year we are staying closer to home when it comes to travel, one because of time as we meet and have to be on hand for decorators, plumbers, tilers etc. and two because of cash. Unfortunately, we do not have a money tree in the bottom of the garden (if only, eh?) therefore far-flung foreign shores are just off our radar this year. We have been and will continue to travel at the same frequency that we always have however Europe and our own backyard is our playground this year.
Mixed in between our European jaunts we will also be making the most of staycations. After a run of long-haul flights over the past few years coupled with my actual fear of flying, I must admit I will not miss being cooped up on a flying tin can for 12 or so. Instead, we will be packing up the car and heading to beautiful apartments, hotels and log cabins across the UK in order to explore and enjoy our local surroundings. We’ve always taken one or two staycations per year, especially when utilising weekends and bank holidays. As we both work full time, we know the great benefits they can offer and we have put together the following list of reasons they work for us and could work for you too.
Reduced Travel Time
When flying somewhere, not only do you have to take into account the actual flight time but you also have to factor in the two hours (minimum) you have to spend at the airport before takeoff plus however long it will take you to get from the airport to your final destination. With a staycation, unless you are driving to the other side of the country, the likelihood is it will take less time and you can travel from point to point with no hanging around. Depending on where you live, it is likely that you only have to travel an hour or so maximum to find somewhere great to base yourself for your staycation. Maybe I’m being biased but the UK is full of amazing places just waiting to be discovered and we are setting ourselves the challenge of visiting as many as possible.
May Save Money
Living in England we have the benefit of budget airlines, meaning can sometimes bag ourselves £20 return flights to somewhere on the continent. However, it’s important to remember that it’s £20 each plus petrol to get to the airport, which for us is at least two hours away, plus airport parking, plus bus, train, taxi or car hire at the other end to get to your accommodation. All in all, transport alone can cost in excess of £100 plus if you choose to reserve your seat, check a bag, get on the plane first that all soon adds up too, making a ‘cheap’ trip actually quite costly. However, staycation travel only involves a tank of petrol if you can drive and have access to a car of course, or a train or bus ticket, which yes can be expensive in England, but if you book in advance and/or off-peak, there are deals to be had.
Be A Tourist In Your Hometown
What about a staycation in your own city? We are spending the night in a hotel in our very own home city in a week or so. Even though I have lived here for 34 years, there are a number of museums, churches, restaurants, bars that I have never visited and certainly streets that I have never walked down. Another thing I have never done is visit my local Tourist Information Centre, I bet there is loads of stuff in my city that I am completely unaware of. Therefore, we are going to pay a visit to the Tourist Information Centre, pick up some leaflets and ask for some recommendations. Depending on where you live and its size, will, of course, determine how much there is to do there and in the local area, but even the smallest of villages I’m sure will have something for you to discover.
No Time Difference
At the end of last year, we took an 8.00am flight from Manchester airport to Abu Dhabi. The flight time was 7 1/2 hours, however, because of the 3 hour time difference plus the collection of bags and transfer from the airport to the hotel, we lost the entire day. Yep, we took off from England in the dark and we arrived in Abu Dhabi in the dark. This is ok if you are on a two week or so holiday and losing a day is not a major problem but when you are visiting for a long weekend or a short stay, every day, in fact, minute, counts. Also, keeping in touch with home is a lot easier when on a staycation as there isn’t a time difference. I have lost count of the number of times I have called family or friends whilst travelling only for me to remember it is the middle of the time for them as soon as they answer.
Can Take Your Pet(s)
Obviously, if you have an animal that cannot be transported easily or need a particular environment then this is still not possible. However, if you want to take your pooch with you, then a staycation is a great option, just remember to book pet-friendly accommodation. So many airbnbs, hotels, lodges etc nowadays are geared up for furry friends to join you on your adventures. We have two cats who certainly would not be happy if we bundled them into their carry cases and took them with us but we do have a friend whose parents take their deaf cat on all of their staycations. This will also save you money as it means not kennels fees.
It Can Be A Quick Trip
If you are only nipping to the next town or city along, it is quite feasible to only go for a night. Some people do make flying visits abroad for a night or two but whenever I have done that it seems that I have always spent more of my time travelling than actually being at my destination. Therefore we have a rule that when we fly somewhere we stay one night for every hour it took us to fly there which means the minimum is usually two nights, however more likely three. Slipping a night away into diaries is often a lot easier than longer trips. Also, they can often be taken at the last minute with less planning and less stress. A great option if you work full time and have no leave left as you can take one on your usual day(s) off or you have a family and can’t spend too long away from them (even though I’m sure at times you would like to).
Home Is Never Far Away
If you do have commitments at home such as children, elderly parents or even animals and you are needed urgently then home if never far away, especially if you take your staycation in your own home city. If you are abroad you have flight times and availability to contend with, together with the added cost of the early return tickets. Whereas if you are on a staycation, the likelihood is all you will have to do is pack up the car and head straight home. Even if you are reliant on buses or trains, it is more than likely that you will be able to take grab one in a reasonably short time. Failing that, if you aren’t too far away you could always take an Uber or a taxi if the reason you had to get home was super urgent.
Still Get The Opportunity to Plan
If you’re a planner like me, then you can still get your kicks when planning a staycation. From booking your accommodation to researching restaurants and pubs in the local area and not forgetting checking out activities and attractions and booking tickets for them if necessary. Yep, you still get the joy of scouring booking.com, checking out Tripadvisor and reading blogs galore just the same way you would if you were planning a full-on getaway. Or if you prefer, use your staycation to not plan anything. Maybe you just want a night or two on your own. We love nothing more than kicking back with a home cooked meal, a box set and a couple of board games, basically, you can do as much or as little as you like, what’s not to like about that?
Hitting the beaches, swimming in waterfalls and hiking the rainforests of far-flung destinations is a dream come true, however, the jetlag it can leave you with when you return home can be horrendous. It always hits me hard and it can take me weeks to get over it, which is tough when you are trying to get back into your normal routine. As I work full time more often than not, in a bid not to waste annual leave, I go straight back to work after any trip, which seriously can be a killer. Although going to bed at 6 pm has its benefits, as it always allows me to get my jobs done around the house before going to work! Therefore, another big thumbs up for staycations – no jetlag, meaning normal life can resume as soon as you get home from your trip without feeling like a sleep-deprived zombie.
Support The Local Economy
This is a biggy for me and I try in my daily life to support my local economy by shopping from local producers when possible. I also try and do this whenever I travel to support the economy of the place I am visiting by again shopping from local producers and by also by opting for independently owned boutique hotels. Therefore, if by staying close to home it allows me to support my hometown economy or one close to home then I am all for that. It also holds a number of benefits for you too including getting to know the producer/owner, together with a more personalised experience and better customer service – win/win.