7 Reasons the 'Staycation' is the best kind of holiday there is
I hope that most of you are like me, in that you really like the way your life is going at the moment. Sure, you might be a little low on money and you've had a couple of bad hangovers, dates or trips to the "reduced" section at the grocery store, but on the whole, you feel as if your hard work is paying off.
That being said, when you're driving down the long and winding road that is life, no matter how well it's going, sometimes, you've got to take your foot off the gas, pull into a rest stop and eat motel food for a while. I am, of course, talking about the holiday; taking a bit of time out of your busy work schedule for some good ol' R & R.
What, however, is the best kind of holiday? Some people will swear by the beach vacation, others prefer a trip to somewhere charming and cultural, while there are people out there who will willingly live in the woods for days on end, and most of them aren't called Christopher Robin.
All these trips have their merits (even camping, or living in the Winnie the Pooh universe), but I'm here to talk to you about why staying at home for your vacation (aka the "staycation") is definitely the way to go.
And the fact that I've just come back from a staycation is merely a coincidence.
1. It's cheaper
Let's get the most obvious point out of the way. When you're booking flights, checking into hotels or paying £1.50 for a chocolate bar at a crowded train station, there's no way you're spending less money than if you just decided not to get out of bed that day.
Every third Facebook post on my news feed tells me that I'm worthless garbage if I'm not constantly trying to see the world, but you might be surprised to learn that travelling around the globe can be a pretty pricey venture. And unless you're willing to pay the hundreds of pounds it will take for me to take a 17-hour trip to the depths of Indonesia to look at some orangutans or whatever, then I suggest you shut your cultured mouth.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to fire up the Netflix, which costs me around £10 for a month's worth of movies and television shows. Much better.
2. It's inherently less stressful
Okay, let's play Devil's Advocate. Let's say you can afford to go to any destination in the world. Australia, Azerbaijan, the Antarctic: whatever your heart desires. Maybe you've got a great job, rich parents, or you won a competition. Great.
Now, all you have to do is wake up at the crack of dawn, take a long trip to your nearest airport and wait for hours on end in a sweaty airport, not before a heavyset border customs agent pulls on a latex glove and sternly instructs you to "squat and cough".
Then, once you get there, you have to navigate hotel systems, plan your day's trip, contend with jet lag and closely follow your foreign language phrasebook to ensure you don't accidentally refer to somebody's mother in less than complimentary terms while trying to ask for directions to the pool. Call me crazy, but I'd rather stay at home and save myself the aggro.
3. It's all the fun of being unemployed, but with all the money to go with it
If you're of a certain age, it might be pretty easy for you to recall the summer before your final year of university. If it was anything like mine, those four months before you went back to lectures, nights out and plenty of late nights at the library were kind of torture.
At the time, I didn't realise it, but the week before you go back to uni: there's a very good chance you won't feel that rested again until you retire. If in adulthood, you're spending so much time at home doing absolutely nothing, you're either unemployed, sick, or recovering from another kind of personal tragedy.
That is, unless you're on a staycation. Taking a paid week off to stay at home and do nothing is literally the most liberating thing you can do with your precious spare time, and I recommend you take full advantage.
4. It allows you to actually switch off
Let's play Devil's Advocate again. I talked before about how planning and going on holiday can be super stressful, but that's not always the case. Sometimes, you get on a plane with no problems whatsoever, and when you get there, you can stay with friends or family, so you don't have to deal with all of the bother that comes with going to faraway foreign lands. That's great, right? The only thing is that once you get there, you're obligated by the money you spend to do things.
Taking a journey somewhere isn't necessarily synonymous with taking a rest. Even if you're just booking yourself into a hotel and chilling by a pool or beach all day, you've still got to flirt with the bar staff as you order your ninth piña colada in two hours, argue with hotel security about the exact definition of "drunk and disorderly", and look the hotel manager in the eyes the morning after as you begrudgingly apologise through a horrific hangover.
A staycation, on the other hand, can be treated similar to an extended lazy Sunday, allowing you to stay in the same state of tranquility without introducing you to new surroundings.
5. It's safe, intimate and familiar
A flatmate of mine is going to Nepal next month. In order to ensure he doesn't die in agony somewhere in the Himalayas, he needs several jabs, including one for Hepatitis A and tetanus. If you learn anything from this article, I will concede that "don't get tetanus" is a pretty good lesson, but this is also a good reminder that new surroundings mean new customs to adopt, new challenges to overcome and depending on where you go, new animals that will seemingly stop at nothing to ensure your eternal oblivion.
A staycation, on the other hand, allows you to remain in the comfort of your own home. Every challenge you'll meet is one you've come across before, and one you'll barely remember in the grand scheme of things when you return to your job well rested and rejuvenated.
6. Nobody expects anything from you
When visiting the pyramids of Egypt or the Louvre in Paris, there's a very good chance you'll come across a gift shop, and when you do, you'll find yourself contending with an inner conflict. You know that when you get home, your loved ones, best friends and young relatives will be asking you the same question: "what did you get for me from [insert exotic holiday destination here]?" Even if the closest people around you aren't asking you for souvenirs, unless you post classy Instagrams or Snapchats of your lovely journey, people will assume you didn't go on holiday on all, and simply lied about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for the attention.
With a staycation, nobody wants to hear about your perilous journey to the exotic and faraway land of Stepney Green, and that means you don't have to worry one bit about impressing people. Any souvenirs from your (hopefully) clean laundry basket will be met with confusion, while any selfies of staycation events like "wearing a bathrobe all day" or "pooping with the door open" will be met with distinct dismay.
7. You can catch up on life
In all seriousness, I think this is the best reason to take a staycation once in a while. For the vast majority of us, our daily life involves waking up to an alarm, hurriedly taking a shower, holding a bagel between our teeth and rushing off to work, where we spend the majority of our day before returning home at night, falling asleep in varying degrees of inebriation. Rinse and repeat, ad infinitum.
I returned from my staycation earlier this week, and although I was only gone for about a week, I feel like I've connected a lot more with myself, in a way that simply isn't possible if you're jetsetting around the globe. I caught up on laundry, television shows and video games. I saw a few friends I hadn't seen in a while. I stole a bookcase from my parents' place. I bought a cactus.
While I do agree that your job and social takes up a lot of your time, I think it's important to make sure that your life around that job is as relaxed and functional as possible. Otherwise, you're just moving from work to home and from stress to stress, and that can't be good for anyone.
Well there you have it, folks. I am but a novice in the art of the staycation; but I would like to humbly suggest that instead of going somewhere foreign, expensive and exhausting with your time off, you go to the most important place of all: the happy place that exists deep in your subconscious. The place that's probably not getting the attention it needs.
For all of you guys out there with kids, I suggest you do what you'd do if you were going somewhere foreign without your offspring: arrange a couple of sleepovers, leave them with your parents, or lock them in a cage with plenty of food and water. People do that with their children, right? Right?
...Happy staycation-ing, everyone.