Why we will never take a Staycation

Staycation

Before I start my old age rant about the now over-used term ‘staycation‘ it may be worth confirming what it actually means. Just check the online definition surely? It’s not quite that simple though as depending where you look the word seems to have wide range of meanings.

  • Oxford language definition – a holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad,
  • Wikipedia – a period in which an individual or family stays home and participates in leisure activities within driving distance not requiring an overnight stay.
  • Cambridge dictionary – a holiday that you take at home or near your home rather than travelling to another place.
  • Forbes – a fancy term for spending your time-off at home.
  • World Wide Words – a stay-at-home vacation.

I could add hundreds of other slightly different meanings to this list. Although I really like the response that my writer-friend Janice gave:

“I think right now a staycation is an Anglo-American word for a safecation….”


When was Staycation first used?

The word was first used in the Washington Post on 4th August 2005 as follows;

“The city empties out. The commute becomes bearable. It’s the perfect time for a ‘staycation,’ to dig in those heels and enjoy the comforts of home: 300-thread-count sheets, stainless outdoor fire pit, well-stocked fridge.”

The word was added to dictionaries in the USA in 2009 and became very popular during the downturn in the economy over the subsequent years.


What did it originally mean?

In the United States staycation has always referred to a stay-at-home vacation where you take days trips or undertake activities without overnight stays.

Strangely it was picked up in the UK mainly from US TV shows  and films but really took off when the worldwide pandemic hit in March 2020. The meaning seems to have morphed from staying-at-home in the USA to just staying in the country in the UK.


Language evolves doesn’t it?

A standard response to any variation in grammar, punctuation, pronunciation etc and often perfectly acceptable. Meanings of words and phrases have always changed throughout time as society and civilisation develops with immigration key to that evolution. Our society now is a combination of ancestry from across the globe and the influence of hundreds of other languages can be heard every day. This has always happened and will continues to happen.

Recently however, and by recently I mean in the past 20 years, the social media explosion has created a new type of language evolution. Where in the past words changed meaning and spelling over generations and sayings gained popularity by word-of-mouth this is now happening much much faster. Often as the result of celebrity use or TV.

I think the main difference now is that the USA dominates most media channels so any changes in meaning for words and phrases is driven by their society so countries like the UK are now more heavily influenced. I do think it’s a shame that the word is so heavily used now as it does seem to belittle trips within your own country implying that they are somehow ‘less’ than an overseas trip.


Generational Staycations

It could well be that the whole ‘staycation‘ debate is really just a generational thing. People of a certain age, and I include myself in that bracket, probably consider staycations to be home-holidays with days-out whereas those that are younger see them as UK-only holidays. It doesn’t matter that we have different slants on the same word except for minor misunderstandings so it isn’t a big deal at all.

Same for holidays and vacations these days. Nobody outside North America ever had vacations previously but the word has crept in to our everyday-use here now.


No Staycations for us

Although so many people now use the word for home-country holidays we won’t be doing that. Because of our upbringing where holidays were just holidays regardless of where you went and staycations didn’t even exist then we will just use the word to describe time spent at home with occasional day trips.

Maybe it’s our age. Maybe it’s our Britishness. Maybe it’s just that we don’t really like the word.

To be honest though it really doesn’t matter what you call it as long as you enjoy the experience. Holidays, vacations, trips? They are all the same thing really aren’t they? Just interesting how words suddenly appear as if from nowhere and start to pop-up everywhere dominating a lot of the media.

Enjoy your time-off/trip/vacation/holiday/staycation/journey/travels wherever you are going. If it’s to the other side of the world or just to the end of the garden it is all a big adventure.

30/07 – 04/08/2020


38 comments

  1. I use the word in the same way you do, exploring your own home on a some odd days you have off. Whenever I have some extra time, my staycations look like going out to dinner in town or a spa or a local attraction but packing it into a day to give it that vacation feel!

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s exactly what a staycation is Rosie, it’s those local trips and adventures around your home area whilst you stay at home. Not going away for 2 weeks to the other end of the country like people are calling it now.

      Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a horrible media-created word I think. Vacation for you guys and holidays for us has always been the best description. You don’t always have to go very far either.

      Liked by 2 people

    • We have always called them holidays and never ever use the word vacation, just seen that on US tv shows. Safecation sounds much better currently doesn’t it? Great way of describing the 2020 situation.

      Like

  2. I’m also not keen on ‘Staycation’. In NZ we have a phrase ‘to go on a tiki tour’, and Liz and I have been lucky to have enjoyed several recent tiki tours around our country! Even have a jaunt to the South Island planned in a couple of weeks. Still hope to get to the UK next June for a wedding and a bit of a tiki tour, fingers crossed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Like the expression tiki tour a whole lot more than staycation. Sounds like a lot more fun. Hope you get the UK trip next year for the wedding, hopefully the world will be a little less messed up by then.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree, and prefer to use the term holiday rather than vacation and never use the word staycation at all. It shouldn’t mean a holiday in one’s own country as it’s referring to staying at home. What’s wrong with the good old day trip!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. There are so many beautiful places in this country that are overlooked in favour of ‘foreign holidays’. The UK has a wealth of countryside and beautiful scenery I personally love it. I do detest the word ‘staycation’ though, like so many other ‘trendy’ words that are created for the sake of modernism, it is unnecessary snd too ‘american’ for my liking. What’s wrong with ‘being on holiday?’

    Liked by 2 people

    • Not fashionable is it? I’m with you all the way, it’s always been a holiday in the UK and never a vacation. Completely American social-media-driven term that only works with those that think they are ‘cool’. Not a fan.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Totally agree. If you have to use the word at all, it means staying at home for your time off and going out on day trips. Colleges and universities have vacations when it’s not term time. And if you leave home, you’re on holiday whether you’re in the uk or abroad. However, I understand that the tourist industry is desperately trying to hype us all up to travel, hence the hysterical overuse of words like staycation.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. A holiday abroad was something beyond their means, and likely beyond their aspirations, when my parents took me on holiday. A cottage, or even caravan, on the North York Moors was excitement enough. 🙂 🙂 Nostalgic for Filey and Scarborough.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. With you 100% Ringo. Never use the bloody word. What’s wrong with holiday? It’s done pretty well so far and is rather useful for any occasion.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Totally agree! Staycations are definitely just staying home and doing day trips. If you’ve travelled far enough to spend the night somewhere, that’s a holiday, or at least a short break, even if you’re still within the UK. And this is coming from an American, though I have gone almost completely British at this point, as I realised yesterday when I found myself enjoying a cup of tea in the middle of this heatwave!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It is interesting how some words seem to infiltrate other countries. We rarely use the word vacation here in Aus so a staycation doesn’t make much sense, despite it being used a lot here too. We mainly use the word holiday. Maybe I should make up a new word, stayday, or better still stick to the word that explains it perfectly, ‘a holiday’ regardless of where you go or not as they case may be!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! No-one has vacations in England either so the whole staycation thing makes no sense whatsoever. Really irritating. As far as we’re concerned if you go away somewhere it’s a holiday, no matter how long it’s for.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. A word I never use. We do a lot of holidaying in our wonderful country and if I used the word Staycation, I feel I would be belittling our holiday or sounding as though we’d rather be abroad, when that certainly isn’t the case. We love going abroad and we adore our breaks in the UK. All are holidays. I’m my opinion anyway 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • With you 100% Sam, it’s not a word we use or like at all. Just so American and we’ve always had holidays in the UK haven’t we? Staycations were always days out from home when you actually spent a holiday sleeping in your own house.

      Like

  11. You’re so right – as long as you enjoy the experience it really doesn’t matter what you call it…the staycation trend has become a ‘fashionable’ term to (in my opinion) justify the fact that you haven’t been abroad and make it a trendy thing to do – almost as if it doesn’t really count. The good thing about the word is it helps to highlight and encourage people to explore the country they actually live in – its surprising//a bit of.a shame how little some people venture unless boarding a plane – I think they might be missing out 😊🔆

    Liked by 1 person

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