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‘Staycations’: A Good Value or Marketing Rip-Off?

SmarterTravel

Foregoing your traditional summer vacation for something closer to home? If so, you’ve probably heard the latest travel marketing buzzword: the “staycation.”

The staycation refers to time off without long-distance travel—a chance to explore one’s own home region. As Americans have shown travel wariness with rising fuel and travel costs, many providers have responded by pushing staycation packages. But are these promotions good deals? Consider the following before booking:

  • Do some legwork. If you’re tempted by a hotel’s “staycation” package, see if comparable accommodations have better deals. Additionally, you may pay less if you book using online-only rates, AAA discounts and the like, rather than staycation rates.
  • Compare apples to oranges. At first, you might think a series of day trips from your home base would be cheaper than a regular vacation. However, you’ll need to price each out to be sure. What would a week of visiting local museums, amusement parks, restaurants, and attractions really cost? Now, consider booking a vacation rental in a country town a two-hour drive away. Once there, you could use your car minimally, cook your own meals, and entertain yourself with free activities like hiking and swimming. The total may be less than the staycation.
  • Use all resources at your fingertips: Check online fuel cost calculators, compare prices with online comparison tools, and exercise your discount memberships.

This, like many trends, may be a flash in the pan. But with the economy showing no sign of improving, the staycation may be here to, um, stay. Be a savvy consumer, and make sure you’re getting the best value, whatever you decide.

Have a great travel tip you’d like to share? Send your insider travel strategies to editor@smartertravel.com.

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