Once, at a job interview, I was asked to answer an impossible question. I had no way of knowing the “right” answer, but I knew there was no choice but to take a moment of honest self-reflection and keep it as real as possible.
“Which Golden Girl would you be?” asked the executive producer of a New York City morning TV news show. I squinted my eyes, looked out the window, fiddled with my ring, and took a deep inhale.
“I’d really like to be Blanche, with maybe shades of Rose. But the sad truth is that for the most part, I’m a reluctant Dorothy.”
I got the job.
What this has to do with family travel I can tell you right now: you’re supposed to know your “travel personality.” In other words, do you prefer something familiar or an adventure? Would you rather take a few small, short trips, or one giant trip? Would you pay the price for time spent en route to get to a more far away, more exotic spot, or do you like knowing that even though you’re at a hotel living it up, you could throw a rock and hit your own house? Who are you?
I know. It’s so much pressure.
I relish seeing new things and showing them to my kids, but I’m also a serious staycation girl, if I’m being completely honest. And if new research is any indication, so are many of us these days.
In 2017, travelers are expected to take an average of three staycations (defined as traveling two or more days within 50 miles of home). If you look back at the trend, staycations almost doubled between 2012 and 2015.
Before kids, it was one thing to spend an entire vacation day on the road or in the air, but as a working parent, time seems so precious. The airport security line isn’t fun. Anything past four hours at a stretch in the car isn’t fun.
Side note: Life hasn’t gotten any better for my kids on long road trips in the family minivan since mom and dad discovered the Sirius Billy Joel channel, playing all Piano Man, all the time.
“MOM, ARE WE SERIOUSLY GOING TO LISTEN TO NOTHING BUT BILLY JOEL THE WHOLE WAY?” my first-grader will ask.
Honesty is such a lonely word.
“Staycation,” is not a lonely word. It might be a slightly annoying word. It’s actually a “portmanteau” — a word blending the sounds and meaning of two different words. Sorry if I just became “momtentious,” a combo of mom and pretentious. My point is this, if your travel personality favors enjoying a destination close to home, you will be right on trend.
I think when it comes to travel, most of us are hybrids, we’re portmanteaus, part Rose, part Sophia, glimmers of Dorothy and Blanche, sometime we prefer carefully planned trips, other times we’re spontaneous, sometimes we plunge into far away and unknown waters, other times we stick close to home.
I know for my little family, it’s the mix we’re going for in 2017.
That being said, if we can hit that average of three staycations this year, finding both new spots close to home and revisiting old ones, our travel year will be golden.