Staycation: new word, old concept

Merriam-Webster recently announced their new words for 2009. In addition to many tech-related words such as vlog and webisode, one of the new words added to this year's version of the dictionary is staycation.

stay·ca·tion Pronunciation: \ˈstā-ˈkā-shən\ Function: noun Etymology: blend of stay and vacation Date: 2005 : a vacation spent at home or nearby — stay·ca·tion·er \ˈstā-ˈkā-sh(ə-)nər\ noun

While the word may be new, the concept is an old one. Not to date myself, but when I was a kid, air travel seemed like a luxury–we even dressed up to fly! Most of our "vacations" consisted of driving to a relative's or friend's house for the day (which I guess is now being called a "daycation"; however, that word hasn't made the dictionary yet!) Staycation is a buzz word right now because people are stretched financially. But no matter what the economy is like, I think there are a lot of benefits to exploring your own backyard. Every state has things worth exploring and we tend to take them for granted. Would you believe that I lived in Arizona for eight years before ever visiting the Grand Canyon!?! If you haven't taken a good look around lately, visit the local Chamber of Commerce or Visitors Bureau to find out about free or low-cost entertainment and activities. You may be surprised to discover museums, community concerts, annual festivals, art exhibits, fairs and craft shows to enhance your summer without breaking your budget. Or consider some free "old-fashioned" fun like fishing, hiking, or biking.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.