If someone is taking time away from work or school, you might have heard them say they’re planning a vacation or a staycation.

Staycation is a relatively new term, and what exactly it defines can be confusing. Learning about the difference between a staycation and a vacation can help you decide which is right for you.

vacation calander planning

Staycation vs. Vacation

A vacation refers to a trip where you leave your hometown, state, or even your country and travel to a new area for a specific amount of time.

During a vacation, most people stay in a hotel or at a resort, but some people make plans to stay with friends or family. Vacations are an excellent way to step away from daily life, explore a new location, and let go of stress.

staycation luggage and hat

A staycation mimics a vacation in that it’s a time to relax and enjoy many typical vacation activities.

However, instead of traveling to a different location, people enjoying a staycation simply stay at home and make day trips in their area.

Some people who are on a staycation will choose a hotel in their hometown or a few towns over to make the experience feel more like a vacation instead of staying at their own home.

Pros and Cons

Cost

One of the biggest benefits of a staycation versus a vacation is the cost. Because you’re not flying or driving anywhere too far, you won’t be spending as much money on travel.

Staying at home also ensures that you’re not spending money on a hotel, and you can prepare meals at home to save even more.

If you plan to embark on a few day trips or eat out, you might spend a bit more than you normally would in your day-to-day life, but it still won’t be nearly as much as the overall expense of a vacation.

Packing

Packing a suitcase and carry-on can be incredibly challenging, especially as more and more airlines implement restrictions or fees for baggage.

It’s always a challenge to decide what to bring, especially if you’re traveling to any area that experiences sudden weather changes.

You’ll also need to pack for every occasion, including casual lunches or walks, hanging out by the pool, or going out for a fancy dinner.

If you plan a staycation, however, you won’t need to pack at all. Everything you need will be right in your home, ready for you, and you can dress as you normally would.

Even if you plan to stay at a hotel in town, your home will probably only be a short drive away, so you can stop in to pick up anything you forgot or realized you might need.

open suitcase fully packed

Travel Time

Traveling to a new place is exciting, but the time it takes to get there can be long. Even when you’re flying, you can often lose one or even two days at each end of your trip simply getting to your destination and back.

With a staycation, there’s little to no travel time to get to your destination, so you can spend more of your time off relaxing and enjoying the sights.

Rest and Relaxation Time

For many people, a hotel, with its thick blankets and puffy pillows, is incredibly relaxing. However, it can often be difficult to sleep in a new place.

There might be unfamiliar sounds, or you might be adapting to a time change. Staying at home eliminates these issues. You’ll be comfortable in your own bed, so you’ll be able to get plenty of rest and wake up feeling refreshed.

The downside to this is that your own home might feel a bit too relaxing. Many people plan day trips or nearby adventures for their staycation, but in such a familiar setting, it’s often easy to simply sit at home in your pajamas instead.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it can offer some much-needed relaxation time, but it might not be ideal if you have kids or if there are specific events or sights you want to check out.

person relaxing at home

Scheduling

Scheduling a vacation can be difficult. You’ll need to schedule your travel time, how many days you’ll spend at the hotel, and time away from work.

July calender travel schedule

You might also want to schedule any day trips or sightseeing once you arrive at your destination.

Many people even schedule where they’ll have lunch or dinner, especially if there are particular restaurants they want to visit or a location requires a reservation.

With a staycation, scheduling isn’t as important. You might want to schedule some time off of work, but with the flexibility of a staycation, even this is often simpler.

You won’t need to schedule travel time unless you’re planning a day trip, and there will be much more flexibility in your schedule since you won’t have to pack all of your sightseeing into a short amount of time.

Presence of Daily Stressors

Many people choose to go on vacation as a way to take a break and get away from the stressors of work, school, taking care of a home, or even interacting with extended family.

Traveling to a new location often means that tangible reminders of these stressors—such as a computer, laundry, or homework—aren’t hanging over your head.

With a staycation, these stressors are often in sight, and it’s easy to check your email or mow the lawn, making you feel like you’re not really on vacation at all.

New Locations

Going away on vacation lets people explore new locations. This might be a new city, a new geographic region, or even a new country.

Exploring a totally new location is much less likely if you’re on a staycation. However, staycations are a great way to check out nearby places you might be interested in but haven’t had a chance to visit.

woman overlooking a river with boats

Change in Climate

During the winter, people living in cold climates often enjoy traveling somewhere warm or vice versa, and this is really only possible with a vacation. On a staycation, you’ll be experiencing the same climate and weather as usual.

Luxury

If you go on vacation and stay at a hotel, most basic needs are taken care of for you. Your room will be cleaned, your sheets changed, and you can order room service or go out to eat.

On a staycation, you might lose a little bit of this feeling of luxury. You can boost your sense of luxury on a staycation by cleaning your home before your time off, creating a cozy atmosphere, or visiting a nice restaurant.

hotel room with double beds

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