The hot buzzword in travel is ‘staycation’ meaning a vacation that takes place by staying in the neighborhood or city where one lives.
The word and the concept seem to pepper every other article that I read and are also popping up in ads for travel destinations close to home. USA Today reports, “… a Rand McNally survey found two-thirds plan to shorten or cancel summer road trips.” The NY Times this week reported that the very wealthy are even leaving the private jets parked this summer. (Bill Gates is back to flying coach?)
The trend to cut back on travel is due to the high cost of gasoline for auto trips and the related fuel costs that have driven airline tickets off the charts. Yet search on “staycation” on Dreamstime and you’ll discover a keyword that no one has yet used.
The images that say ‘stay at home vacation’ aren’t so different from the typical holiday shots except that the photo or illustration could be in a home or obviously local environment. Pool parties will be held at a backyard pool instead of at a resort or on a cruise ship.
Nothing says home for a holiday like a backyard barbeque.
Families usually plan vacations around the kids…those easily bored people that always want to know when they will get somewhere and when can they go home. So the good news for parents is that the exhaustion caused by traveling with children is put aside so that family time starts as soon as the staycation begins. Show children camping in the backyard or fishing in a local lake.
Ideal is a walk in a park or feeding the ducks in a non-famous lake. Check the terms on the admission ticket to the local zoo, aquarium or museum to make certain that photography is allowed.
The cost of sending a family across the country in a plane dwarfs the cost of a single airfare but singles are staying home too. A night at the movies but at home via the DVD after a romantic dinner that took place by candle light in the dining room replaces the four star dining experience for single couples. There is nothing like an expensive spa experience at a resort but the experience can be somewhat replaced by setting up and shooting a home spa.
Many live where others can only dream of vacationing. Yet I find that when I ask a local about things to do when I visit their towns, they usually haven’t visited the best spots themselves. So turn yourself into a hometown tourist. Go to your local tourist bureau or to the web and find out what traveler’s are told is the best thing to do in your town and then photograph the places and events. If I had two weeks in Seattle to be a tourist I would go to all the museums, travel to the top of the Space Needle (never done that), buy flowers at Pike Marketplace, visit a local vineyard, go to a baseball game, check out the exhibits at the Experience Music Project, set up an easel on my deck and paint for an afternoon and do a lot of cooking. What's going on around you this summer that you can photograph without leaving town behind?
I love an image that was in an ad sometime in the last couple of years of a nicely plump middle-aged woman sitting by a kiddie pool in a deck chair on the lawn sipping on a paper umbrella embellished cocktail. All the trappings of a cruise but without the ship. Here’s a concept shot: bring in a few bags of sand and unload them on a tarp in the backyard or on a lawn. Then set up a beach scene with chairs, towels and a couple of kids digging in the sand but ensure that the lawn stays in the image so that the set reads: fake beach. The essence of a staycation.
Perhaps you already have lots of staycation images in your portfolio and so while you are staying home this summer, you can have some fun adding the “staycation” keyword to your images.