If you dont have the time or the money for vacation this summer, maybe you can spare a few hours for a daycation.
Somewhere between the staycations of 2008 and the naycations of last year theres the daycation trend of 2010.
The slowly improving economy means many travelers will take their first vacation in more than a year this summer minus the long flight or drive and the hotel overnight.
After two consecutive years of decline, the number of domestic leisure trips is expected to edge up just over 1 percent in 2010, according to a study by Euromonitor, a market research company.
People are expected to get back on the road, although they will remain extremely cost-conscious, says Michelle Grant, the companys travel and tourism research manager.
Kathryn Watson counts herself among them. A business analyst with a health systems company who lives in Jefferson, La., shes daycationing in nearby New Orleans this year instead of taking an overnight trip.
I plan to picnic in beautiful Audubon Park with my dog and a great book, treat myself to lunches, dinners and drinks at some of my favorite places throughout the city, stroll the French Quarter and shop Magazine Streets vintage and antique shops, she says.
No need for a hotel, since she lives only 10 minutes from the Crescent City.
The travel industry is seeing more people like Watson. At the discount travel site Hotwire, they refer to her kind of vacation as a straycation, or travel thats within a close proximity to the customers origin, according to its president, Clem Bason.
A lot of our customers took vacations within their nearest metropolitan area.
How do you have a successful daycation this summer? Here are a few tips:
Not too far
Christine Louise Hohlbaum, author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, says a vacation isnt her top priority this summer.
We prefer to pay off some of our mortgage, invest in a new porch and enjoy the summer program that our town offers the kids, she adds. We might venture off to the mountains or some such, but we are staying put.
If you feel trapped in the city or suburbs, then get out of town, but not so far that you have to spend the night.
Check the visitors bureau
Your local convention and visitors bureau has a wealth of information about daycationing in your area. In Florida, for example, theres a Florida Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus website that points you to other bureaus in the Sunshine State.
Visit a park
Big-name national parks tend to get all the attention from the vacationing masses, but thanks to the daycation trend, state parks have found themselves in the spotlight this summer.
State parks across the country are pushing the concept of daycations with a new advocacy group called Americas State Parks.
Crank up the culture
Scott McKain lives in Indianapolis and realized there is plenty to do in town.
We could visit the NCAA Hall of Champions, the largest childrens museum in the nation, a great zoo, a brand-new State Historical Museum and more, he says.
A final tip: Pack your phone. Ive been using a service called Foursquare that lets you trade location-based tips with people around you.
Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine.You can read more travel tips on his blog, elliott.org or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.