The beauty of Scotland was waiting right in my backyard! Image by Nisbah Hussain.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge advocate of global travel. The experiences and benefits it offers travellers, especially families, are both numerous and vast.
However, with the arrival of my children, there has been a marked change in my travel planning, and I have also become a strong advocate for the “staycation.” Here are just a few reasons why staycations should be an element of any family travel plans!
What is a staycation?
The travel industry is great at creating new buzzwords, and “staycation” is one of the “now” words that’s popping into everyday conversations. According to the Oxford Dictionaries, a staycation is “A vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions”.
1. Staycations teach important lessons about heritage and history.
It’s often easy to get caught up in showing our children all the majesty and cultures of far-off and exotic places and countries and overlook all the amazing places that are available to us at our very doorsteps!
I am as guilty of this as the next person, but even now it amazes me when I speak to people from around the world: They will have seen the national monuments of countries thousands of miles away but have forgone the experience of enjoying their own national treasures.
By opting for a staycation, we have the opportunity to discover and enjoy the sights and sounds in our home countries, ensuring that our children are well aware of their heritages and the histories that will help them appreciate and understand their belonging to the countries in which they reside.
My family is from the UK. Our home country has such a wealth of history that it has become imperative for me that my children have ample opportunity to enjoy this amazing history firsthand, so they can understand how Britain arrived to its current position.
2. Staycations offer your family hidden gems that they can enjoy again and again.
By choosing a staycation and travelling in your home country, you force yourself to look at all the things that are available just a short distance from your home.
I am always shocked at the multitude of opportunities and amazing days-out there are in every country. We recently visited Scotland and spent a week travelling around Argyll. I was amazed by the sweeping glens, the stunning lochs, and the fact that, despite having lived in the UK my entire life, I had never visited this region of the country. The scenery was stunning and the experience amazing. Our children learnt so much: what life was like as a Scottish criminal (thanks to a visit to the Inveraray Jail), hands-on history lessons (thanks to walking around and touching ruined castles), and how to explore (thanks to our search for the Loch Ness Monster and standing at the foot of the Nevis Range, which hosts the tallest mountain in the UK). Looking back, we would have missed out on all of this had we not stayed in the UK for that holiday period.
Staycations also allow new family favourites and traditions to be made. If you travel somewhere or do something that you really enjoy, being closer to home means it is something you can do again, which is often not the case with attractions abroad.
3. Staycations give your family a chance to relax, promoting slow travel.
Sometimes we get so caught up in travel preparation and going away that we return even more exhausted than when we first set off.
A staycation lets us generally enjoy having a break and taking a breather from our hectic lives.
I am not saying you will have less things to take with you (Often we have more.), but as you are still within your comfort zone, it eases lots of the pressures that travelling abroad can bring. Visiting foreign countries can often be tiring, with long days packed with several activities. In comparison, a staycation can be a lot more relaxed, with travellers choosing fewer activities but enjoying them wholeheartedly.
Many times a staycation also sees families enjoying the great outdoors more, as things such as walks in the woods, climbing trees, and having a hike or two are often part and parcel of being at home — but now your children get to see it from a different perspective!
4. Staycations support tourism in your home country.
This is something which is often overlooked, especially in Western countries where the economy is not as dependent on the tourist trade as it is in many developing countries. However, enjoying staycations usually leads to greater demand for them, which attracts more opportunities, innovation, and new projects to the chosen areas.
A staycation is a great way to newly discover your home nation and help your children enjoy and learn about their country. For me, understanding and appreciating their home nation is imperative in helping our children grow and become home advocates.