Contemplating whether to staycate or vacate? Remaining at home for recreation may not be as easy as it seems. Even if you are able to ignore the usual demands and responsibilities, just feeling their pull and mustering the energy to resist them can be draining in and of itself. Even worse is the temptation to stick with what’s familiar, rather than challenge and stimulate yourself and your family with new experiences. Don’t let the following myths keep you at home:
1) Staycations are easier than “real” vacations.
When most of us dream about getting away from it all, we actually mean we want to get away from it – all of it – even for just a few days. We can’t completely relax or recharge with all the distractions and responsibilities embedded into our usual surroundings. That’s why many people who could work at home choose not to: They know they don’t have enough discipline to stay on task. When the task becomes something that’s supposed to be fun – like vacationing at home – most of us find it very difficult to say “no” to things like checking email, paying bills, answering the phone, doing errands, etc. and what should be a week or even just a weekend off, turns into a few hours, at best. We may even revert to our usual paths of least resistance, ie our familiar and not really optimal ways of unwinding – like vegging in front of the TV. Thus, taking ourselves out of our usual routines when we remain in our usual surroundings is actually more difficult. And, if you tend to be super-disciplined, it can become even harder to “staycate” – and the temptation to just “check in” at work gets to be too great.
2) Staycations provide the same benefits as “real” vacations.
Part of the joy of traveling is meeting other people who are also away from their usual lives and being able to share experiences with them. That won’t happen if most of us start taking staycations. Going elsewhere on vacation is a wonderful way to keep ourselves stimulated by new challenges and exposure to new surroundings and ideas. Getting away from home and from what’s familiar, removing ourselves from our comfort zones is a necessary part of growth. Sharing new, foreign experiences and adventures also binds us as families and as a national culture. We can read about diversity, and try to teach our kids about it, but unless we go out and experience it, we’ll never truly understand different peoples and cultures. And, what a shame if we don’t get a chance to come back to our homes and share what we’ve seen and experienced with friends, neighbors and co-workers who have themselves, traveled other places.
3) It’s environmentally irresponsible to drive somewhere just for a vacation.
It’s interesting that this issue is only coming up because the price of gas has increased – it’s not like the effect on the environment of burning fuel suddenly became a bad thing. But now that we are all suffering along with our planet, people are taking a righteous stand whenever someone “wastes” energy. It’s important to remember that on vacation, each spouse is not commuting to work daily in separate cars – let alone even more mileage used if the kids drive vehicles of their own. If gas prices worry you, consider going somewhere that has good public transportation. Or, if traveling by car, rent an energy efficient one, or bicycles for the entire family to use once you get to your destination. What about taking the train? The solution to the energy crisis shouldn’t be to do away with our mobility, it should be to develop the technology and the means to stay mobile, and use whatever best alternatives are available to us now. The more demands we make on our current modes of energy efficient transportation, the better and more widely available they will become.