The hot buzzword in travel is ‘staycation’ meaning a vacation that takes place by staying in the neighborhood or city where one lives.

Backyard Staycation

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.

Children on towels with dad in

Nothing says home for a holiday like a backyard barbeque.

Family barbecue in garden home

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.

Family fishing

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.

Enjoying home spa relaxation after hard day.Young woman takes bubble bath.True bliss.Total relaxation

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.

Sandbox and toys

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.

Family relax in pool

Photo credits: Alena Ozerova, Ruslan Huzau, Arne9001, Eldar Nurkovic, Karen Foley, Photoeuphoria, Starfotograf.

Your article must be written in English

June 27, 2008


I read an article on Yahoo, also using the term Staycation. So I added it as a keyword in a recent submission. Thanks Ellen. :)

June 26, 2008


I've written about medical vacations sometime in the past year and half but darned if I can locate in which blog just now...because yes, it is a good topic.

June 24, 2008


Yes the economy has affected people's leisure activities.

A hot topic, but I am not sure if Dreamstime has a need yet, is Medical Vacations.

People in western societies find they cannot afford to get the medical or dental help they need at home, and so they now go to the Philippines or Malaysia and get an operation, and have a holiday at the same time.

In Australia this has been the topic of many television programs.

June 21, 2008


People always tend to go far,and yet they miss their home.

June 12, 2008



June 09, 2008


Thanks for the tip - I think idea is quite clear, and, applying particular level of imagination can be used very productively. It's just so hard not to overuse or even abuse it by placing in every shot related to any holiday. I think I've got the idea right :o)

June 07, 2008


By all means: photograph your town and its attractions...but don't keyword "staycation" unless the photo looks like it is of someone having a great time at home on vacation. Sorry for the confusion!

June 06, 2008


OH! You didn't mean to show off our areas, just our homes? Okay, I'll take some pictures of my cats and me sleeping, I'll show myself downloading to DT and I'll buy a kiddie pool to sit in---

Just kidding!

Thanks for clearing this up.

June 06, 2008


Remember the keyword "staycation" should be applied only to images that indicate that the subjects are having a vacation at home. It's not a good idea to apply the keyword to any images that you take in your home town as the viewer won't know that you live there!

June 05, 2008


My portfolio is full of beautiful landscapes and wildlife, and none of them have been taken more than a 2 hour drive away from home. :) I love where I live. I live in Northern Virginia, with West VA and Maryland just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Tourists come to this area all year long. In the fall for the changing colors of the foliage, in the spring and summer for the festivals, and all year long for the wonderful nature. :) The winter is beautiful when the snow drapes the mountains. I also live right beside "horse country". =D It's an area east of my city (Winchester, Virginia) that is full of ancient traditions and horse lovers. The horses they breed and train are absolutely lovely. All of the horses in my portfolio come from my extended neighborhood. :) More will be coming now that I have business cards and a nice portfolio to get me into the gates of the training facilities. =D
Every area of the world is rich in culture and beauty if you just stop for a moment to let yourself see it.

June 05, 2008


I'm guilty of that. I have lived for 30 years on a small holiday island but there are still places that I haven't seen.

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.

June 04, 2008


Great article. A few years ago when I decided to try to do 'more' with my photography hobby, I started out by looking at my home and local area the way that I would if I were travelling... not only did this mindset help with my photography, but it also helped with my overall mindset and outlook on life - why spend so much money to travel when there was so much to learn and love and experience near home? Every day with my camera is a day where I'm "travelling", even if I don't leave the house... I just hadn't heard of the term "Staycation" before!

June 04, 2008


You are so right, Ellen! Where ever we live (I'm in Houston) there are places that others would travel to see. What comes to mind here are NASA, Reliant Stadium, Minute Maid Stadium, downtown, Kemah boardwalk, San Jacinto Monument, , Galveston beach, Brazos Bend park. None of these are places that I have been recently, although I know they exist and are destinations for tourists. Will have to work on that!

June 04, 2008


Great Idea, might start using that some as I run around taking pictures.......

June 04, 2008


Great Idea -Gonna have to hit the local library and check out a few local tourist books to get some ideas of what to shoot around here :)

June 04, 2008


Thanks! I'll use it--I'm so into enjoying where I live and inviting friends and family to join me, that I haven't traveled in 6 years!!! Why leave when you have heaven on earth? I'll get out again one day, I know I need diversity.

June 04, 2008


Great blog Ellen. I've never heard of the term 'staycation' - maybe it hasn't hit the UK yet! I will definitely be adding it to my keywords though as I often just take photos around town or of day trips around my local area. Cheers!

June 04, 2008


Great Idea!

June 04, 2008


Nice word, "staycation" :) It is not representing me. In all free days i am traveling in romanian Carpathian mountains.

But, because i am living in a touristic city (Brasov), i choose some parts of working days to make shoots with landmark of this town.

June 04, 2008


Great story and tip about filling a gap of future or existent demand. Even if the subject wouldn't be popular, having no competition should really motivate all contributors reading this.

I want to stress this part:
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.
I see very often that the best shots of a landmark are shot by foreigners or tourists and not by the locals. Although we have contributors in all areas of the world, most of them prefer to shoot elsewhere. It's a great idea to try to address our local landmarks. We can take advantage of all seasons, perfect light, plenty of time! Not even the best pro would have access to that.

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