Thanks to historic gas prices and a tanking economy, this summer’s buzzword is “staycation.” Taking a vacation right in your own backyard. Everyone from the "Today Show" to CNN to Home Depot are pushing it as the hottest travel trend. A Google search yields more than 216,000 references. In true American fashion, we’ve taken a negative, “you can’t afford a vacation,” and turned it into a positive. Turn that frown upside down, America. You’re going on a fabulous “staycation.” That’s right, a whole week camped out in your living room with a bucket of KFC (extra crispy), a liter of diet Dr. Pepper and a stack of DVDs.
It's not the economic meltdown that's making it tough to get away this year. It's just that there are plenty of ways to spend that stimulus check right in your own neighborhood, right? If they really want to sell the American public on a stay-at-home vacation, give it some appeal. Where’s the sizzle? The word “staycation” sounds more like a kennel for obedience-challenged dogs. Why do I want a “staycation”? A moratorium on chores, or “choreatorium” as it's been dubbed, hardly stacks up against maid service, breakfast in bed and poolside umbrella drinks arriving at my bidding. Choreatorium is just a really weird way of saying I’m staying at home in a dirty house with dishes piling up. Sweet. Bring me another “Cheaparita.” Oh yeah, I have to get it myself.
Since we stayed at home over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, I guess one could say we indulged in a staycation. As staycations go, it was pretty freaking awesome. We attended an outdoor San Francisco symphony concert and fireworks extravaganza, lounged by the pool, ate at some nice restaurants, went kayaking, took a bayside stroll, saw “Get Smart” and “Wall-E,” breakfasted on the patio. I cheated and did a little laundry, but still a pretty good non-get-away. Next weekend, I’m thinking about dragging a mattress out onto the deck and sleeping under the stars for a staycation camp-out. We can make hibachi s’mores.
Will all this staycationing be good for the economy? You bet. With all the money you're saving on airfare and hotels, you can go ahead and get movie candy for the whole family, buy that tricked out backyard grill, and pick up a whole slew of travel DVDs so you can plan your next paycation.
You might not see great works of art, or broaden your awareness of other cultures while on staycation, but you will discover the intricacies of your own neighborhood and, if you're lucky, find out who's been letting their dog crap on your lawn.