Two-thirds of Americans are planning a staycation close to home this year.
Dorothy Gale, the Kansas farm girl who went to Oz and back, perhaps saw the future of family vacations. “If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again,” she proclaimed, “I won't look any further than my own back yard.”
According to WalletHub, nearly two-thirds of Americans plan to take their cue from Dorothy and rather than travel somewhere over the rainbow, will instead vacation locally. The term is “staycation,” a marketing buzzword that became embedded in the popular culture in 2008, when the economic collapse forced many people to scale back vacation plans (“Holistay,” the Daily Show’s satirical take on the trend, did not catch on). A Vocabulary.com article that year about the origins of the term asked, “Is staycation here to stay?” The answer is yes.
But a WalletHub study finds that certain cities are more conducive to a staycation than others. The financial wellness website compared the 150 largest cities based on almost 30 key metrics, including number of outdoor recreational facilities, weather, and options and costs for food, entertainment and rest and relaxation.
The top 10 staycation cities, as ranked by WalletHub are:
2. Fort Lauderdale
4. Salt Lake City
5. Scottsdale, AZ
7. Las Vegas
9. St. Petersburg
Chula Vista, CA, called the Lemon Capital of the World, is a lemon when it comes to staycations. It was rated last among the 150 cities.
One doesn’t have to be a “homer” to question Chicago’s 99th place ranking. The pizza along puts it in the Top 10. According to the WalletHub study, other cities offer more staycationable amenities. Cleveland, for example, is tops for swimming pools per capita, while Norfolk, VA takes bragging rights for tennis courts. Portland, OR bests Oakland, Orlando and Scottsdale for beer gardens, and Las Vegas is a sure bet for the most zoos and aquariums. New Orleans can lay bragging rights for most museums per capita (somehow, New York City did not make the top five in this category).
The benefits of a staycation are discovering the treasures in one’s own hometown, or neighboring berg, not to mention saving money on traveling to more exotic locales. Spectrem Group wealth segment studies of Millionaire households with a net worth up to $5 million (not including primary residence) rank frugality behind hard work, education, and smart investing as the primary factors in their wealth creation. According to AAA, the average American vacation will cost at least $244 per day for just two people (these are 2010 figures). Add children, and with airfares and accommodations, the vacation tab could hit five figures.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.