The Ultimate Staycation Guide

Staycation: a holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

If recent statistics are to be believed, staycations in the UK are on the increase.

With an estimated 59 million staycations last year, up 6% from the previous year.

But what exactly is meant by the term staycation, who are they for, and how can you get to most out of them?

We’re here with our ultimate staycation guide to fill you in on the details:

Staycation definition: learn the true meaning of staycation

Staycation ideas: need some inspiration?

Family staycations: our mini-guide to a achieving a successful family staycation

Couples staycations: activity or romance?

Staycation Defined

Some parts of the world consider a staycation to mean staying at home for their holiday and doing activities during the day, either at home or close enough to travel to within the day.

While in the UK a staycation is more commonly understood as holidaying within the UK, rather than abroad. 

Much like a regular holiday or vacation a staycation can be just as organised with start and end dates, and planned activities.

The ultimate goal of a staycation should be to replicate that feeling of travelling to somewhere new and taking a break from one’s normal routine.

 


"A holiday spent in one's home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions." - Oxford Dictionary

"A holiday that someone spends in their own country or at home, rather than travelling somewhere else" - Cambridge Dictionary

"At times of recession people prefer to spend time in the beaches of their own country instead of flying to overseas environment creating carbon footprint and spending money" - Urban Dictionary

Why Staycation?

You might be wondering why people would decide to staycation (or holistay as it’s sometimes called) rather than heading overseas.

A bit of background about the term might help to shed some light on exactly why.

The term staycation is thought to have it’s first mention in 2003 by a travel blogger.

After a couple more mentions the term became more widely used in 2008 when the world economy took a downturn and people had to reduce their spending, impacting how much they could afford to spend on holidays.

The cut back on holiday spending meant that many choose to holiday closer to home, saving money on travel and expenses.

Thus the term staycation become popularised.

Staycations are not only money-saving for those taking them, but they can also help to boost the economy by keeping more travel spending within the country.

 

Staycation Risks

So far you might not associate staycations with risk, but there are a couple of staycation pitfalls to be aware of.

Firstly because a staycation is not viewed quite as seriously as a ‘proper holiday’ it can be more difficult to get buy-in and excitement from those who will be part of the staycation.

Nothing says holiday time like boarding a jumbo-jet.

The key to overcoming this lack-of-excitement risk is to ensure you have some firm plans before you go.

If you were travelling overseas there might be some excitement building around visiting the beach or going to a water park.

There is no reason why you can’t build the same kind of excitement if you research the local attractions, pick your favourites and plan them in as you might if you were heading overseas.

The second staycation risk is much more subtle and might creep up on you.

It may be the case that you will be remaining relatively close to where you work, even if you venture further afield you’ll still be in the same country.

This doesn’t always create the same work-holiday barrier that might exist when you’re abroad.

The danger is that you might end up working, either through your own choosing as it’s easy to do or your employer realises that you are easy to contact and tempts you in.

Either way, to ensure your staycation is a proper break you need to put your work barrier fully up.

Finally as staycation is still a bit of a buzzword so many companies in the tourism industry take advantage of this and package up deals as a staycation.

There isn’t anything necessarily bad, you can often find a great deal, but make sure you aren’t paying a premium for a ‘staycation package’ that is actually just a regular stay that has been repackaged. 


Staycation Risk Checklist

Build Excitement
Ensure Work Barrier
Beware Staycation Packages

So far you might not associate staycations with risk, but there are a couple of staycation pitfalls to be aware of.

Firstly because a staycation is not viewed quite as seriously as a ‘proper holiday’ it can be more difficult to get buy-in and excitement from those who will be part of the staycation.

Nothing says holiday time like boarding a jumbo-jet.

The key to overcoming this lack-of-excitement risk is to ensure you have some firm plans before you go.

If you were travelling overseas there might be some excitement building around visiting the beach or going to a water park.

There is no reason why you can’t build the same kind of excitement if you research the local attractions, pick your favourites and plan them in as you might if you were heading overseas.

The second staycation risk is much more subtle and might creep up on you.

It may be the case that you will be remaining relatively close to where you work, even if you venture further afield you’ll still be in the same country.

This doesn’t always create the same work-holiday barrier that might exist when you’re abroad.

The danger is that you might end up working, either through your own choosing as it’s easy to do or your employer realises that you are easy to contact and tempts you in.

Either way, to ensure your staycation is a proper break you need to put your work barrier fully up.

Finally as staycation is still a bit of a buzzword so many companies in the tourism industry take advantage of this and package up deals as a staycation.

There isn’t anything necessarily bad, you can often find a great deal, but make sure you aren’t paying a premium for a ‘staycation package’ that is actually just a regular stay that has been repackaged. 

Staycation Inspiration

Staycations might not appear to have quite the same glamour as jumping on a plane and heading to a foreign land, but they can be equally as enjoyable.

It might just take a little extra planning, but before you start planning you might need a little staycation inspiration.

Even if you’ve lived in the UK all of your life, it’s likely there are still some areas that you’ve yet to discover, so let’s start with the basics and look at the most popular staycation locations according to Travelodge in 2018:

  1. Cornwall
  2. Devon
  3. Edinburgh
  4. London
  5. Cotswolds
  6. Lake District
  7. Scottish Highlands
  8. North Wales
  9. Bath
  10. Bournemouth

Cornwall and Devon will come as no surprise to most. But interestingly the rest of the top 10 has changed a bit since 2017:

  1. Cornwall
  2. Devon
  3. Lake District
  4. London
  5. North Wales
  6. Scottish Highlands
  7. Edinburgh
  8. Blackpool
  9. Norfolk Broads
  10. Isle of Wight

Most of these locations for both 2017 and 2018 have been tourist favourites over the years. 

But where are the other places that might be worth a visit?


"Dorset is a lovely part of the UK and I think it's seriously under-rated. This is the Jurassic Coast, with miles of stunning coastline. You can find fossil rich beaches, gorgeous cliff walks, and some incredible geographical sites like Durdle Door. Plus the area has some of the best seafood in the country, and loads of beautiful beaches like the one in Weymouth Bay. For a great mix of idyllic countryside and glorious coastal adventures, without the crowds that Cornwall and Devon have, Dorset is the perfect choice!"

 

Citybaseapartments.com pulled together a ranking of the best staycation cities based on factors such as average tempreture, rainfall, price of a pint, number of restaurants, crime rate and how family friendly the cities are.

Based on that criteria here’s the top 10 cities they uncovered:

  1. Exeter
  2. Bristol
  3. Chelmsford
  4. Brighton & Hove
  5. Oxford
  6. Cambridge
  7. Southampton
  8. Bath
  9. Coventry
  10. Sheffield

As you can see from the above map highlighting the most popular locations from the previous two years as well as those

Family Staycations

Planning a family staycation can be a bit of a minefield.

Trying to accommodate a range of wants and needs can be tricky, but with a bit of planning and input from everyone, a happy medium can normally be found.

Firstly to narrow things down a good starting point is working out the type of staycation that your family might like to take.

You could narrow this down from options such as:


Forest - an 'adventure' or outdoorsy staycation with lots of walking and bike rides

Seaside - sightseeing and relaxing on the beach and visiting seaside attractions

City - sightseeing, attractions and meals out

Camping - adventure holiday with the potential to make it 'screen free'

Luxury - hotel stay with on-site attractions

Affordable - a resort or caravan stay with on-site entertainment

These categories all have some overlap so it’s possible to make some compromises without leaving anyone’s wishes out of the decision.

It’s important to sell the benefits of the type of holiday you’re trying to decide on, for example affordable doesn’t mean boring, and luxury doesn’t automatically make it the best option. 

Each type of staycation has it’s own appeal and might fit your family better or worse depending on individuals likes and age ranges so it’s important to carefully consider each option.

Once the type of staycation has been decided then you can narrow things down further by choosing a few locations and researching each of those to pick your favourite.


"We always plan several staycations into our year of travels. They might be weekends or weeks away and could be as close to home as an hour down the road. Just getting away from the normal daily routines for 48 hours and see some of the amazing beaches, historic sights and picturesque towns of the UK is enough to make us reenergised. Our kids also benefit from time away from screens and we all reap the rewards of a bit more fresh air and exercise while we explore."

Couples Staycations

Similarly to a family staycation a great starting point for a couples staycation is to decide what type of couples staycation you want.

A broad starting point is to decide between a relaxing or active staycation.

If you can settle on the type of staycation it makes it much easier to drill down on the details.

Once you’ve decided on relaxing or active another quick way to shortcut your decision process is to choose between city or country.

Either city or country can be relaxing or active depending on exactly what you plan to do with your time whilst away, so it just comes down to your preference.

A city staycation could be more about visitor attractions and meals out whilst a country stay could revolve more around more active outdoor activities.

 

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