28 Dec, 2020 10:02:44 AM | Prof. Shree Patki

"Epiphany of Wanderlust"

Sitting under the tree for a breather on my morning walk after ages with a face mask on filled up my mind with these lyrics: 

"पुरे लॉकडाउन हम घर के अंदर जी लिये एक पल तो अब हमे जाने दो जिने दो,
Show me some sunrise;
Show me sunset; 
Book me some nice place where I can TRAVEL once again”

This was followed by a brief glance at Hotel right across the street and a few moments later a grand smile unfolded on my face. It was an EPIPHANY for me that instantly pacified and soothed the WANDERLUST in me, CONVINCING me that now it’s time to pack my bags and yes, GO ON A VACATION!!!!
Overpowered by this thought and under the gush of overflowing serotonin I rushed back home only to find myself checking in the same Hotel just a stone’s throw away from my residence…. Yes I was on a VACATION and the destination was merely a few blocks away from my apartment. 

Dear Readers, this might sound very funny and lame for some of you; but is now a TREND that is very much in vogue whether you are someone who’s travel hungry locked up soul, weary Work From Home Employee, (Read - Overworked “Pun Intended” 😉) , housewife tired of marathon cooking sessions in the kitchen longing for a break, potential tourist with a budget constraint, you have one thing in common, and that is “YOU NEED A BREAK” and want to let your hair down like I did.  And there’s a name for this TREND it’s called as THE STAYCATION. Split the word into two and you have prefix STAY and suffix CATION. Lately we all have been bombarded by the prefix of this term with advice erupting from everywhere and everyone like STAY HOME, STAY SAFE, STAY SANITIZED et all.. 

But what is this STAYCATION in the first place?? It often means, extended holiday in or around your home by creating the feel of a vacation that may last for more than one day. Not to be confused with the term, Excursion which means journey to any place within one day’s (24 hours) return travel time. Capitalizing on this Staycation trend is our badly bruised occupancy hungry Hotel Industry which is attempting to entice the staycationer market by juxtaposing its offering with the core need of wanderlust in human beings that has been suddenly and forcefully halted by pandemic. This coercive full stop is however creating another escape arena for the clientele resulting into modified market segmentation strategy of hotels very different from its original segmentation strategy. The STAYCATION market is inversely proportional with the Economy which means when the economy falls the STAYCATION industry booms. This was experienced in the year 2008 when the world was hit by a global recession and now Covid pandemic has hit the economy hard (Hospitality & Tourism Industry being hardest hit)  resulting into massive downfall of discretionary income and all non-essential spending. With Travel restrictions on, borders sealed, holiday and vacation plans cancelled, business trips suspended staycations are now an in thing … Another reason for this is people now wish to vacation at some place which is NOT FARAWAY YET SAFE TO TRAVEL TO. Staycation isn’t any short term rage but something that shall stay till pandemic recedes. 

Let’s explore few more reasons on why STAYCATIONS are here to stay

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) phenomenon can also be connected when packing for a foreign vacation, as in hurry if you miss packing in that one thing without which you can’t live; then this may manifest as a regret. Since staycations are taken in close proximity to your residence; you can still rush home and grab that pair of sunglasses, deodorant, earphone, headset or whatever that is a MUST HAVE for you. As for a staycation you’ll pack light only essential stuff and don’t have to fret over what to and what not to pack as there are absolutely NO RESTRICTIONS applicable. When embarking on a flight even the thought of having to shed off and get rid of your favorite stuff at the airports is so distressing all thanks to the luggage weight restrictions of Airlines. 

“It means staycationing alone” Solo staycations are most preferred by artists, writers, and people in the creative profession as the outcome of isolation is nothing but a masterpiece. Are you any of these? Then STAYCATION is something that you must certainly look forward to…

Taking a staycation means that you don’t feel guilty for having contributed to carbon emissions, pollution due to long drives, neither are you a cause of over tourism – a contemporary bane for renowned destinations across the world. The primary reason for this is your vacation arena is close to your place of residence so no need to take a flight or embark on a fuel emanating long road voyage.

On holiday with family / friends have you been frowned upon or have been a victim of sarcastic remarks from family member / friend as right in midst of the fun filled moments on a vacation, you retorted to any one of this: 

- briefly answering your work related calls
- replying to the endless mail trails or messages or even better; 
- attending a Virtual Meet? 
Why do it on a vacation in the first place? However, extended staycation is that type of vacation which will allow you to perfectly align your vacation moments with work moments allowing you to stay in sync simultaneously with happenings at your work place. You may work for half a day and rejuvenate in the other half or do whatever suits you. And since the Staycation Destinations are in close proximity of your residence, you may very well unwind by taking them on a weekend completely eliminating the need for that leave application. 

PRIDE Factor 
Staycations allow you the luxury of voluntary discretion without having to adhere to the structured rules of a group tour… For some getting up at the crack of the dawn for that pre sunrise activity is too difficult, running around while transitioning from activity to activity can be hectic, being under the constant supervision of the Tour Manager, that mad rush to report in the hotel lobby at a specific time for check-out as you need to rush to the airport to embark on that Internal flight to next destination which is a part of your package can sound taxing. Staycations progress your way and as you take care of all the PRIDE which means you decide your way the following things:

The core concept of the staycation revolves around vacation in your own home or within your own city. So, here’s the general list of potential venues / destinations for the staycations: 
- Your Own Home filled and decked up with all the essential holiday based amenities
- Local Hotel 
- Local B&B establishment 
- Trip at a theme park 
- Resorts & Villas
- Spa Retreat
- Wellness Retreat
- Residence of your acquaintances
- Lodge
Reserving for a staycation is short, easy and doable in comparison to booking and reserving holiday components. Additionally these days to ensure reasonable occupancy, several Hotels & resorts are rolling out the staycation packages with promises like “workstation with a scenic view” / “let the salubrious climate and chirps engulf you while you work amidst the nature’s lap” 

Threat of pandemic still dangles dangerously above us so even a thought of illness on a holiday is something that’s fear inducing. However, staycation keeps you in proximity of your family physician just in case. Did you know that the most expensive cost component on a traditional vacation is flight ticket and the activities that you indulge in when on a holiday? On a Staycation you end up saving on these two most expensive components as you can directly check-in at the hotel of your choice in the vicinity of your residence and that too based on your budget. 

Since the Staycations are an ‘in thing’ and will stay till normalcy resumes in a full-fledged way… Travel Agents must capitalize on this by bargaining best contracted rates with the staycation venue owners in the vicinity of their agency and client’s residence. They must promote it and encourage their clientele for a Staycation thus enabling them to kick start commission enabled inflows in their kitty from the occupancy hungry hotels. 

If you think Staycation involves just sitting glued to the bed in your room like a couch potato then you are surprisingly RIGHT 😊😉 … But, apart from this you can also indulge in several other activities too and here’s the list:
- Quick walking trip to the local area
- Hiking in nearby locales
- Attending local arts / literature / festival / special event
- Visiting a museum / fort / cinema / promenade 
- Read a book / paint 
- Learn a  new skill
- Have a relaxing spa session and many more…

To encapsulate, we understand the irreplaceable thrill of an actual vacation and the pleasure of experiencing new cultures at new destinations. However till the Travel opens up, restrictions loosen up do not let that wanderlust in you to give up, just call us up and get injected with a rejuvenating booster shot named Staycation.  

Dear Readers,
Do comment in the comments box below and tell me the "NAME OF THE SONG" which is ringing in your mind right now after having read this article 😊


About Prof. Shree Patki

Graduate in Hospitality Studies and a Master's Degree Holder with specialization in Tourism. Mr Shree is a full time Professor and an Travel Enthusiast himself he carries insatiable appetite for two things which are knowledge and travel.. His mission is to motivate people to travel more and produce skilled travel professionals for the Tourism Sector which keeps him on his toes all the time.