I was reflecting on how this trip contrasted with our 4 days off before and during Hurricane Florence last month, which turned into an unintended 'staycation' for a lot of us in this area. That time off was also relaxing and enjoyable in different ways. In today's blog, I'd like to talk about the benefits and pitfalls of a vacation versus a staycation.
A vacation has the obvious benefit of taking you to new places, and physically removing you from the day to day grind of life. There's no housekeeping, chores, errands, or 'to do' list to deal with. It's a complete escape from reality, which we all need from time to time. Our cruise was nice because the staff on the Disney Dream completely pampered and spoiled us! That level of service will obviously vary depending on whether you take a big or smaller trip, but overall the fact is that you're away from home and other people are taking care of your needs (unless you're camping, where you take the responsibility for all of that as a 'home away from home.') Another advantage is seeing different places, and freedom in your routine to do what you want, when you want. There were some timetables and schedules on the cruise, as activities were held at certain times, but some things like shows had multiple time slots, so if you miss one then you can attend another. You get to have new experiences that you don't have every day, and it's refreshing.
There are three major downfalls of a vacation. The first is that vacations take a lot of planning. We booked this cruise a year ago, and had things throughout the year that we had to do to keep the scheduling on track. We had to turn in our passport and travel information in February, and schedule our excursions and do online booking in August. There were multiple times in the past year when we had to take action for planning on a vacation that was still months away. Another downfall (and reason why we booked a year in advance) is that travel is expensive. We did pay off the initial costs of the trip before we set sail, but of course there were other charges along the way as the week progressed. And, of course, we wanted souvenirs and a few of the 'extras' that were offered at costs. Then there was paying for gas to drive from Columbia to Port Canaveral. So there were costs before, costs during, and now costs after that we're paying. The third downfall (and biggest in my opinion) is packing. Packing is a nightmare. You're limited in the amount of luggage you can take which means you have to pack minimally, but that isn't as easy as it sounds. I was packing and repacking for a week before the trip, and I'm still finding that I have things tucked away that I forgot to unpack even today. Packing is my single biggest frustration with travel. You have everything in your home set up for maximum comfort and ease of access. Not so when you live out of bags. You have to figure out what you need and when you need it before the need arises. Not easy when you're in habits formed around the home.
Staycations are basically inverted from vacations. You don't have to deal with the hassles of scheduling, finances, or packing because you're at home and can do what you want, when you want. But you're at home, and not really getting away. So it's hard to resist the urge to clean up or do this or that thing you've been meaning to deal with for a few months now but haven't gotten around to. You tend to do a bit more work around the house when you have time for it. And while it's nice to sleep in your own bed, you tend to fall in the same old habits when you're off work, you just do it on a slightly different schedule. For example, when we were off for Hurricane Florence, the big thing I did was work on my writing and read. I do that every day anyway, but I had more time to do it during the day, so I watched TV at night. All stuff that would happen in a normal week, but on a bigger time frame. Which was nice to have.
I suppose the one advantage to both is no alarm clocks are involved. Most of the time.
Vacations are obviously going to be more rare due to time and financial restraints, so staycations are a good option in between to keep you balanced. And, of course, there's the middle ground of small day trips too. Rick and I have taken many day trips to Savannah, Charleston, and the mountains for a small 'getaway' without having to pay for accommodations or to find care for the birds.
So which is better? I suppose it depends on what you can do. But each are a good option to keep you in balance. We probably won't take a big vacation like this again for a while, but there are plenty of smaller vacations and 'staycations' that can give us a break at need, at least until the next big trip is possible.
That's all today. Take care, and have a great week.