If you’re stressed to the max and dreaming of your next vacation, you might want to consider a staycation instead. Short for “stay-at-home vacation,” the term was coined by the Washington Post back in 2005 as a time “to dig in those heels and enjoy the comforts of home: 300-thread-count sheets, stainless outdoor fire pit, well-stocked fridge.” Every year, staycations become more and more popular. Not only does spending your holiday in your own city save money, but you also often end up less stressed than if you actually went somewhere.
You Can Truly Relax
That’s the whole point of a vacation, isn’t it? Despite this, many vacations are the opposite. Some people even feel like they need a vacation from their vacation. Staycations remove the stress from the vacation equation that comes with the planning, packing, adjusting to inevitable hiccups, and hours of driving. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of stress can negatively impact your body, behavior, thoughts, and feelings. When left unchecked, it can lead to health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Everyday life is stressful enough. Why pile on even more during your precious time off?
Skip the Germ-Filled Plane
Many travelers swear they get sick every time they go on vacation. While they could attribute that to unfamiliar foods or overindulgences, the plane could be to blame. According to the Journal of Environmental Health Research, cold germs are 113 times more likely to be transmitted on an airplane than on the ground. The Wall Street Journal reported that the risk of catching a cold goes up 20% after flying. The culprits? Shared air, close quarters, and low cabin humidity dry out nasal passages.
Vacations are all about temptation. It’s all too easy to eat extra rich food, day drink fruity cocktails the size of bathtubs, stay out too late, and get a sunburn — because, hey, you’re on vacation, right? Vacations away from home are made for indulgence, but you aren’t doing your body (or your wallet) any favors. Staycations offer the best of both worlds. You can still pamper yourself, but it’s much easier to stick with—or even start—healthy habits. The result? You’ll probably look and feel better on reentry.
Quality Time with Family and Friends
If you’re the type to put in extra time at the office in lieu of girls’ or guys’ nights or dates with your partner, you’re not doing your mental health any favors. While work is undoubtedly important for your bank account, connection with others is imperative to emotional wellbeing. According to Harvard Women’s Health Watch, strong relationships can improve health and increase longevity. Dozens of studies find people with satisfying connections to others have fewer health problems, are happier, and live longer. A staycation will give you plenty of time to focus on your relationships and spend quality time with the people you care about most.
No Recuperation Necessary
You probably won’t need much time to recuperate after a staycation. There won’t be any travel fatigue from adjusting to a new culture or climate, and you’ll avoid the dreaded jet lag. According to the Mayo Clinic, some studies show high altitudes and changes in cabin pressure contribute to jet lag symptoms, regardless of how many time zones you cross. Furthermore, people who are jet-lagged are more likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents caused by drowsy driving.
You Can Bring Your Pets
If you work full-time, you probably don’t see Fido or Mittens as much as you would like. If you take a staycation, you’ll finally get a chance to spend time with your furballs. According to WALTHAM, an authority of scientific research on pet health, owning a pet has overall positive effects on both physical and mental wellbeing. Plus, not having to make arrangements with a pet sitter or an expensive kennel can save you some stress and money.
You Save Money
It goes without saying that a staycation is a lot cheaper than a vacation. You’re not buying plane tickets or extra fuel for your car, booking hotels, buying meals, paying inflated tourist prices, or spending money you wouldn’t otherwise be spending if you stayed home. All these savings may mean you might be able to take more than one vacation each year, which is great for wellbeing and productivity. Research consistently shows the health benefits of taking vacation time, which include improved efficiency and concentration, lower stress levels, and better psychological health.
You Can Catch up on Sleep
A good night’s sleep is critical to health. According to the CDC, one in three American adults isn’t getting enough sleep regularly. Unfortunately, vacations away from home can be the opposite of restful. A staycation, on the other hand, gives you plenty of time to catch up on those Z’s — without the adjustment to a strange bed — and hopefully get your sleep schedule back on track.
You Can Nourish Yourself
When we’re busy, eating well can get in the way of productivity. Grabbing a bite on the run becomes a habit, and we start relying on fast food or frozen dinners for sustenance. And after a stressful day, it’s all too tempting to unwind with Netflix and junk food. A staycation can give you the chance to slow down and nourish your body properly. It’s easy to commit to cooking healthy, tasty meals for yourself when you have the time, and you’ll be amazed by how good you feel. Celebrate your new foray into the home and healthy meals with a dinner party or cooking class!
Learn to Love Where You Are
Many people brush off the idea of a staycation because it sounds boring to stay in a familiar place. But ask yourself: how familiar is it, really? Maybe you have been too busy or burnt out to check out all the local boutiques, cozy cafes, parks, or other attractions in your neighborhood. Staycations give you the chance to slow down and look around. Be a tourist in your own town, and you’ll be surprised by what you discover.