(This is a guest post by Pamela Sanchez)
Not all of us dream of far-flung exotic breaks in the Caribbean or Maldives; staying right on our own glorious soils for a holiday is becoming the trend. However, you can’t ignore the positive benefits of adventure travel, and the great memories you’ll create from taking a vacation away from home. So we’re here to say that even in the age of staycations, adventure travel is definitely not dead.
The Rise of the ‘Staycation’
The whole idea of what it means to travel is evolving. The changing visa regulations, political instability, and volatile exchange rates, have contributed to our reluctance to actually go out and travel.
But this has not diminished our wanderlust, and has led to the rise of “staycations”—or vacationing indoors, nearer to home.
Poolside holidays and back-porch vacations are specifically on the rise especially for middle-class Americans. There’s increase in searches for “staycation” as well; according to Google Trends data, searches for the keyword have been up 10% year after year from 2011 to 2014.
So why is there a switch from adventure travel to staycation?
Luxury Comes at a Cost
From the plane tickets and gas money to entrance fees, travelling surely comes at a cost. A staycation, on the other hand, is a real money saver.
Forbes once shared an article on how to save for airfares; the article pointed out how the high cost of travel puts a dent in a family’s budget. In a separate study by American Express, the average vacation cost is $1,180 per person, inclusive of the transportation, airfare, and meals.
American Psychological Association’s 2015 report says money is the biggest stressor for most Americans. By staying in, you can enjoy low-cost activities—the kind you rarely have any time for, such as exploring the local museums and parks or reading a novel and actually sleeping in.
Other than the obvious penny savings, a staycation brings in less stress. Not traveling to long distances means you don’t have to worry about the location of your passport, finding those hard-to-find foreign adaptors, exchanging your currency, or decanting all your toiletries into tiny bottles. There are no wasted hours at the airport for delayed flights as well, or the fear of losing your luggage. You could do without the hassle of airport security.
Your living room sofa is definitely more spacious than your airline seat, and you don’t have to pass by the immigration or have your bags checked using a metal detector.
Even the simplest vacation requires some form of planning, booking, packing, and research, as well. Managing the endless details and familiarizing yourself with a completely different place is the most stressful part of travel, according to a study by happiness researchers Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan.
A staycation, on the other hand, is really just about the room service, hotel pillows, and a gleaming bathroom. Plus, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore a local museum, linger at a coffee shop, or sign up for an exercise class.
A Huge ‘But’: Adventure Travel is Not Dead
Despite the rise of the staycation trend, as well as the cost issues and any possible inconveniences, there are some specific reasons why adventure travel is not dead, and why it remains a better option.
Experience Your Own Senses
If someone told you about the taste of a new type of food using a few words, which one would you choose: the description, or your own experience?
It’s the latter, of course.
Going on an adventure travel involves experiencing your own senses: hearing, seeing, touching, and smelling the new places you visit. And that’s definitely more priceless than just “experiencing” things on paper or through someone else’s eyes.
The Grass is Greener; The Weather, Better
The main reason we all love a vacation, especially in another country, is the weather. If you live somewhere cold, all you want is a bit more sunshine here and there. You dream of a warmer climate, walking through lush vineyards or sunbathing and splashing about at the beach. An adventure vacation can give you that. Plus, a change of scenery is good for the soul.
Whether you’re travelling with friends, family, your significant other, or your own, an adventure travel lets you explore the unknown and indulge in something you won’t experience at home. It opens up doors to a host of new and exciting activities; you can go skiing in the ski resorts in Switzerland or sailing the bays of Croatia.
On a staycation, your options for adventure are, unfortunately, a bit limited.
Valuable Learning Opportunities
And with new places comes new culture and dishes just waiting for you to discover. Travelling gives you insights that you wouldn’t experience if you stay at home. Unlike simply watching National Geographic or Discovery Channel, or reading about exotic places, visiting the place itself is ten times more valuable.
You meet new people from all walks of life as well, whereas with staycations, your vacation only revolves around the same group of people you usually interact with. With a travel vacation, you learn to adjust to new traditions and other people’s lifestyles.
Beneficial for Health and Well-Being
Travelling is beneficial for your overall health and well-being, too. According to a survey by Expedia.ca, individuals feel better after a travel vacation. Approximately 36% of those who prefer adventure travel over a staycation say their travel vacations make them feel revived, relaxed, and satisfied with their new experiences. The study shows that women (40%) feel the benefits more compared to men (33%).
Less Routine and More Spontaneity
J.A. Redmerski said in his book titled The Edge of Always, “I guess sometimes the greatest memories are made in the most unlikely of places, further proof that spontaneity is more rewarding than a meticulously planned life.”
Indeed, spontaneity is rewarding, and travelling gives you the opportunity to be spontaneous. Unlike with a staycation, adventure travel pushes you out of your comfort zone, and even with an itinerary in place, you don’t know what to expect when you get there.
Effortless Travel is Now Possible
Travelling isn’t as stressful as before, too. There was a lot of planning involved in organizing an adventure vacation, but today, many resources are at your fingertips to help you book accommodation and cheap flights. Smartphones and apps provide you instant access to everything you need while before and while travelling.
Adventure travel really isn’t dead. But the choice is yours; just weigh in what’s more important to you: learning new things and exploring new places, or saving every penny you have.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pamela Sanchez writes for a health and lifestyle publication called the theurbanpear.com.