During economically trying times, financial experts will often tout the benefits of staying home versus boarding a plane. Staycation has became a cheeky buzzword for travelers who forego traveling during the holiday season; but opting out of a trip might not be the best decision.
According to Dr. Amanda Mulfinger, a clinical psychologist and Harvard University graduate, told Culture Trip: “Vacation is beneficial in terms of increasing happiness. When people go on vacation, they get ‘the triple happiness benefit’ of planning and anticipating the vacation, enjoying and savoring the vacation while they’re on it, and looking back and remembering the happy times of the vacation.” In short, travel is like the gift that keeps on giving as you savor every stage – from planning to arriving – and indulge in the simple thrill of flying somewhere new.
Depending on where you live, travel can prove easier on your wallet than staying home. The savvy reader may take this moment to object as flights and hotels can weigh heavy on a bank account, but when you take into consideration the cost of pampering while on staycation, sometimes money can go longer when in a more affordable place. “It could cost you considerably less to spend your vacation in the countryside or in a destination where $5 can buy you an entire lunch and $50 can get you a nice hotel room for a night,” reports MoneySmartGuides.com.
Having a trip on the horizon creates a positive ripple effect that ultimately improves your productivity. “When somebody goes to work every day with no event that they’re looking forward to, they tend to work slower, less effectively, and less creatively,” explains Dr. Mulfinger. “When they anticipate a break from the daily humdrum, their work improves and becomes more efficient.” Having a trip planned offers a much-needed respite from routine and schedules, ultimately benefitting our mental health and work performance.
Aside from finances, one of the main reasons people will opt for a staycation is to avoid the hassle of planning a trip. From finding affordable airfare to choosing hotels, visiting a new place can prove stressful at times; this is why there is a clear benefit to choosing to revisit favorite destinations. “I’ve often found that the first visit [to a destination] allows us to get all of the ‘tourist’ things out of the way, and the follow-up is where we really get to dive into the culture,” explains Kari Cruz, a communication and travel expert at Bespoke Travel. “Couldn’t fit everything you wanted to do into the first trip? The second time around opens you up to even more options.”
The nature of a staycation is to stay home, cozy within one’s comfort zone. For most, this translates to pajamas, Netflix and Seamless delivery enjoyed on the couch. Staycations prove relaxed, calm and (admittedly) lazy; in contrast, traveling is active and as result, a healthier alternative. By virtue of simply being someplace else, travelers tend to wake up earlier, eat well and be active as they explore.
There is something to be said about stepping out of your life and submerging yourself into a new culture. What vacations do is mentally recharge travelers, offer perspective for any tribulations taking place back home and allow a clear-headed approach to life goals. “The most important benefit of taking a vacation includes giving yourself a chance to recenter, and realign your life goals,” suggests Anthony Berklich, founder of luxury travel platform Inspired Citizen. “By traveling someplace new, resting and indulging in the local culture – you get reenergized mentally and physically to tackle your set goals when you come home.”
*This post is written in collaboration with Flights.com as a part of its “Don’t Skip the Trip” campaign and social integration feature that shows you personalized flights based on places you’ve been in the past.