Travel Travel

10/08/2020 - 08:57

Staycation - Why not?

My young friend, living with two children and a pretty handsome husband, has a nice house in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. Suddenly, she posted some photos on Zalo (a social media platform) showing the whole family staying in a room at New World hotel in District 1.

Touring does not necessarily mean to travel distantly. Photo: QUANG SANG

What on earth is staycation?

My young friend, living with two children and a pretty handsome husband, has a nice house in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. Suddenly, she posted some photos on Zalo (a social media platform) showing the whole family staying in a room at New World hotel in District 1. The photos bragged a terrific view they enjoyed sitting beside the window. In a picture, the family is playing relaxingly with the water in the pool. In another one, they are gathering at a cozy meal at a restaurant in the hotel. Then came the pictures illustrating their moments of pleasure and peace by the decent coffee, reading books, and listening to music. As this turned on my gossip mode, I grabbed the phone to jump into the talk:

- Hey, your house in District 3. Why do you rent a hotel room in District 1? Clearly, you’re flooded in bucks!

She answered, with a style:

- My family is just responding to the "staycation" trend! The children have to go to school, while my husband and I need to go to work. We are only free for two weekend days. If we do not travel in place, then we don’t know when the whole family can travel together. Maybe never. Also, as we have just got out of the COVID-19 social distancing phase, flying abroad is simply a bit frightening.

Hearing that, all of a sudden, I felt myself so dumb, saying just only one word: Copy!

“A holiday spent in one's home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions”. That what the online Oxford dictionary defines “staycation”. Accordingly, “staycation" is a combination of "stay" and "vacation", meaning “vacationing at where you’re staying”.

As outlined by the Oxford dictionary, there are three types of staycation: traveling within the country, making short trips in the local areas, and staying at home. But is staycation as interesting as non-staycation?

Let us discuss on those three types to find an unbiased answer.

Traveling within the country (domestically)

Staycation requires less moving and we do not have to waste our time floating endlessly at foreign airports or in transits. The weather at local places will be not much different, your luggage is light, and there is no gap in time zone. This means reduced costs, fewer health risks, and longer relaxing/touring time.

Beach resorts are a proper choice for visitors to Hue during the summers

Staycation-makers just do some clicks away from diverse information they want to learn about their desired destinations. They can, therefore, conveniently shape up an agenda with a suitable timeframe and budget.

Those with money clinking in their pocket may opt-in a luxurious limousine. Budget travelers, otherwise, may still be happy being a pedestrian in style. While the rich stay in a five-star hotel and happily pay a coffee cup with a hundred bucks, some may turn into packagers to stay in that “thousand-star hotel” and enjoy a fifty-cent cup of tea with no less pleasure.

Being a staycation-maker means you need no interpreter when visiting your province or city of destination. As you can talk directly to the people, the connection is much more significant. For those who cannot digest foods from Western, American, Korean, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Mongolian, or Tibetan cultures, etc., your staycation will be a source of joy every day because every dish is now of your familiar taste and at your disposal. With such an offer, you can forget about having to carry instant noodles like when you travel abroad.

One thing to remember is, before hitting the road, arrange your work in advance so that you are not summoned while in the middle of your excitement. Try to "say no" to the computer. The phones, if possible, should be also disconnected from the internet.

For what? For feeding your eyes with magnificent landscapes. For filling your ears with birds’ sweet songs. For treating your nose with flowers’ fragrance. For bathing your tongue in delicious local foods. For connecting your body well with the earth and sky. And for refreshing your thoughts with new sources of energy.

If your head is cuffed to the work back home, your eyes are glued to the phone screen, your mouth is continuously on the line, your fingers keep crawling on the keyboard, then such staycation is considered nothing but a loss of capital, in terms of time, emotion, and money at the same time.

Short trips in the local areas

Every day, you ride your bike back and forth along the roads by the clear and blue-green Perfume river. But how about walking close to the water's edge, touching the water, breathing its steam, sitting in a sightseeing boat, rowing on the river, or listening to Hue folk songs in the middle of the water? Maybe not yet? Perhaps, many times on the way to your workspace, gliding through La Residence hotel, you have been touched by its elegant architecture and craved to rest here for a few nights, but as you have been constantly stuck in your hustle and bustle, you have to swallow that desire down to your stomach.

You might also have heard many people praising the green beauty of Sơn Chà, the only stronghold on the sea where the rare, precious serows live and the place of extraordinary beauty endowed by nature, which is rated as one of the most beautiful islands in Vietnam. Tam Giang Lagoon, the largest brackish lagoon area in Southeast Asia, where visitors are lured in the fascinating sight of the rising sun, is also one of the most gorgeous and attractive tourist destinations in Hue.

Rú Chá is known for its precious and rare primary mangrove. While questioning about what Rú Chá is, you might have got explained: “” is forest, and “Chá” is an indigenous plant that grows in harmony with the Tam Giang Lagoon’s ecosystem. The explainer might have added: the Chá in the grow hauntingly. You always remember the word "haunting" but have not come to see them with your own eyes or touch them with your own hands, just because your workloads keep piling up.

You have learned that Lăng Cô is one of the most charming bays in the world, its water is as smooth as a lake, and its landscape is as beautiful as a water-color painting. The late Emperor Khải Định praised Lăng Cô as a fairy scene.

Yet, knowing is still just knowing as you have never stopped by the place, let alone staying over a few nights. Then the next in the list is Bạch Mã, the place that is cool all year round and has many lakes, streams, flowers, delicious dishes to offer, to the point that backpackers call this a wonderland; but this place, again, you have never ventured to.

Then, when COVID-19 social distancing is off, and work pressure slows down, then it is the best time for you to fulfill that longing desire. Create an exploration program the whole family wants to join. Make a detailed plan so that the work will not drag you back unexpectedly. Spend quality time on short trips to cultivate affection with your family and your loved ones.

My wife, my husband, my kids, let’s pack the bags and hit the road!

“Traveling at home”

Staying at home and traveling at the same time? – Yes, why not?

What if you are too busy to step out of your work but the desire of travelling is burning you up? What if you can finally arrange a time for it but your wife has a long job list to finish? What if both husband and wife can travel but the children are still busy with their study and cannot join? Then "traveling at home" is certainly a win-win deal for all parties.

Here what it should be. Anyone busy, just go with their personal plan. But a small agenda with interesting options should be made so that everyone will have a few hours being together. Here are some ideas: “Tonight, we can buy a celebrity dinner at the restaurant, then come to enjoy the dishes, ask questions, talk, and laugh together? Or should we buy tickets to a music show of popular singers? And how about attending a concert at the city’s theatre where we can admire the skilled orchestra?...

At noon in the following day, our family will go for a walk, shop at the market, and eat street foods as if we were tourists. Then in the afternoon, we will settle down at a coffee shop by the road to enjoy drinks watching people passing by as if we were vagabonds…

We may also take a walk and bring books with us. If we’re tired of walking, we’ll go to the park to read the books. When our eyes are also tired, we’ll just put the book on our face and sleep that way. Organizing a barbeque in the garden and inviting a few close friends to join is also an interesting idea…”

If you think such activities are just like relaxing at home, not actually traveling from home?

- Do you like “phượt” (backpacking)? No big deal!

Get together, open the computer, connect to the internet, and embark on a virtual tour. If you want to explore famous tourist attractions around the world, go to the Google Maps Gallery page. If you wish to explore a zoo, then the San Diego zoo website is the place. If you want to visit museums, browse the Google Art Project website. Looking for a safari in the wild? Africam operates 24/24. And, if you like to have a ride, go on the Google's Street View cars that roll by many cities around the world, capturing images along the way.