"Others the country take for choice/And hold the town in scorn/But she has listened to the voice/On city breezes borne" (Amy Levy)
Wednesday, 1 October 2014
a vacation spentathomeornearhome,doingenjoyableactivitiesorvisitinglocalattractions. Or what you do when you are skint. A little bit of
honesty sometimes will not go amiss. Of course there’s more to “staycation” than
finances and luckily, nowadays it’s a choice most of us can make. It’s even
been recognised as an official word by the Oxford English Dictionary. So, all those
holidays in the Wirral finally paid off.
But going back to choices for a second, I have
often been told by people born and raised here in Blighty that many years ago
low-income or working class families didn’t have many (choices, that is). Therefore,
it was always a few days away in Blackpool in the summer every year. Or a day
trip to Frinton- or Southend-on-Sea. Or whatever money allowed. Sometimes not
even that. Two or three years would go by before a trip in the old banger was
arranged hastily the night before for the morning after.
Blackpool, UK. But would you not rather be in Minorca?
But in recent years, low budget holidays abroad have
changed that. Cheap flights, all-inclusive accommodation and a more moneyed
(and money-minded) working class have contributed to the exploration of boundaries
beyond Dover. Even if this still means some stereotypical British tourists
trying to make themselves understood using the old method of SPEAKING IN A VERY
LOUD VOICE, PRONOUNCING EACH WORD VERY CAREFULLY. Mind you, at least you lot
are better than my lot. Cubans can’t even travel freely. And what to say of the
pioneers of staycation, the denizens of the old socialist bloc? Yes, some were
allowed to travel from the former Soviet Union to East Germany, for instance
(as long as they toed the party line and they were considered to be model
citizens), but the landscape in both Moscow and Berlin was coloured by the KGB
and the Stasi respectively. Bearing in mind that most eastern European socialist
countries were thought as extensions of the Kremlin’s back garden; staycation
is an appropriate term to use. So, my dear Brits, please, do carry on ASKING
WHERE THE EIFFEL TOWER IS. Clue: it’s right behind you!
This boom in short- and long-haul holidays left
the UK tourist industry depending more on tourists trying to catch a glimpse of
the Queen or castle-hopping. Suddenly Ayia Napa was far more interesting than Lyme
Regis. Until 2008.
With the financial crisis of 2008 many habits
changed. Holidays were amongst those activities that underwent a makeover. Because
when you think of it, no matter how cheap your flight to Rome is, you still
have to find accommodation. Maybe you want to incorporate car-hire, and how
about the insurance? Suddenly that hundred quid holiday turns into a thousand –pound
one. Compare that to £299 for a two-bedroom cottage in Devon that sleeps four. That’s
the annual family summer holiday sorted. Yes, of course, there’s still the
petrol to factor in and the catering, but does anyone really include petrol
costs in their vacation planning?