OPINION COLUMNS

Staycation, all I’ve never wanted

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, August 12, 2017
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I’ll be the first to admit that the word “staycation” does not fill me with much excitement.

After all, when I have a week off from work, I like to get out of town and take a road trip. Last summer, for instance, the Knox family trekked across the south to Atlanta to visit family.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

But the vacation budget this year fit firmly in the “staycation” category.

And while I still prefer to get away and discover new places, I have to admit that I found a few advantages to staying close to home.

1. Starting with the most obvious, it’s more economical. With less money spent on gas and lodging, it’s a lot easier on the wallet.

As it turns out, there are still fun things to do within a short drive that aren’t too expensive while still keeping a family with a couple of kids entertained for a few hours.

Which brings me to advantage No. 2.

2. It gives you a chance to explore local places of interest you might not otherwise think about visiting. In our case, it was a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing facility where much of our country’s paper money is created. After years of passing by the place in North Fort Worth, we decided to check it out.

Tours are free, and visitors can view a short film explaining how money is designed and printed at the facility before taking a self-guided tour of the place from an enclosed, elevated walkway. They also have museum exhibits about the history of currency and a gift shop where you can apparently hand them perfectly legal tender notes (they prefer that term over bills) and they’ll give you shredded currency.

I figured if I wanted shredded currency, I could just run my own cash through a shredder, thank you very much.

3. While I’m perfectly fine spending hours in the car, other members of my family do not share that same wanderlust. (True story: my 9-year-old last year asked me how much longer it was until we got to Atlanta before we had even reached the Wise County line as we started last year’s trip. That was followed by too many “are we there yets?” to count.) Staycations allow you to still spend time making memories with your family while maintaining much more of your sanity.

Are we there yet? Why yes, yes we are. Thanks, staycation!

4. While I love planning an itinerary to visit many points of interest, that also requires keeping to a schedule. And that usually means leaving out at a certain time in order to make it to our next stop on the map.

One great thing I learned about a staycation is you can pretty much throw away your watch, and your map for that matter. Want to stay up four hours past bedtime? Sounds like a wonderful idea. Want to sleep until noon? Sure, why not?

5. And once you enjoy all those days sleeping in, by the time you reach the end of your staycation, you actually feel rested and more relaxed rather than exhausted, unlike the end of many cross-country road trips.

And while doing too many projects around the house can ruin a good staycation, catching up on just one or two household projects you’ve been meaning to get to can leave you with a nice sense of accomplishment by the time you return to work.

Staycations haven’t surpassed the road trip on my vacation rankings list, but I was wrong to think I had to get away to enjoy a week off.

Brian Knox is the Messenger’s special projects manager.

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