6 Tips for Taking a Summer 'Daycation'
If you don't have the time or the money for vacation this summer, maybe you can spare a few hours for a daycation.
Somewhere between the staycations of 2008 and the naycations of last year there's the daycation trend of 2010.
Sure, it's another silly neologism. But the slowly improving economy means many travelers will take their first real vacation in more than a year this summer -- minus the long flight or drive and the hotel overnight. More Americans will opt for short day trips, instead.
After two consecutive years of decline, the number of domestic leisure trips is expected to edge up just over 1 percent in 2010, according to a study by Euromonitor, a market research company. "People are expected to get back on the road, although they will remain extremely cost-conscious," says
The travel industry is seeing more people like Watson. At the discount travel site Hotwire, they refer to her kind of vacation as a "straycation," or "travel that's within a close proximity to the customer's origin," according to its president,
How do you have a successful "daycation" this summer? Here are a few tips:
1. NOT TOO FAR
Christine Louise Hohlbaum, author of "The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World," says a vacation isn't her top priority this summer. "We prefer to pay off some of our mortgage, invest in a new porch and enjoy the summer program that our town offers the kids," she adds. "We might venture off to the mountains or some such, but we are staying put."
I hear that a lot -- if you feel trapped in the city or suburbs, then get out of town, but not so far that you have to spend the night.
2. THINK LIKE A TOURIST
You have to think like a visitor, instead. Clayton plans to attend wine tastings, take a salsa dancing class, go jet skiing, visit a museum and go to a spa. "The list is nearly endless," she says.
3. CHECK OUT YOUR CVB
4. VISIT A PARK
Big-name national parks tend to get all the attention from the vacationing masses, but thanks to the daycation trend, state parks have found themselves in the spotlight this summer. State parks across the country are pushing the concept of daycations with a new advocacy group called America's State Parks. The organization is promoting state parks as the "smart vacation" because close-to-home getaways cut down vehicle emissions and save you money.
5. CRANK UP THE CULTURE
6. DON'T BLOW YOUR BUDGET
Just because you're staying home doesn't mean you have to forsake the fun.
One final thought as you plan your daycation: Pack your phone and share what you find. I've been using a service called Foursquare -- you can friend me here -- that lets you trade location-based tips with people around you. Think of it as a personalized guidebook for your own neighborhood.
I'd like to think the economy is to blame for the daycation trend, but as a consumer advocate, I'm not convinced it's the only reason. The travel industry has dished out substandard service to us for so many years it's little wonder we are reluctant to get out there again. Maybe the service needs to improve before we hit the road.
Looks like we'll have to wait until 2011 for a real vacation. But you might as well have a little fun in the meantime.
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(c) 2010 U.S. Christopher Elliott, The Travel Troubleshooter
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