Staycations & Fakeaways

by Michael Smith

In this current economic downturn, or maybe we should really truthfully call the baby by its proper name even though the eggheads try too still deny it, namely recession come depression, in Britain and in other developing nations, “stay at home vacations”, that are even beginning to be called “staycations” and also “fakeaways” - in the USA one would probably call them “fakeouts” - the make at home version of the “takeout”, the “takeaway”, as it is called in Britain, are becoming somewhat the norm now, it would appear.

It started this summer where the beginnings of the credit crunch were becoming obvious and people realized that they needed to keep an eye, a very close one, on their finances and there were also some that did it in order to aid the environment, to do the “green” thing. It was then when at first the new trend of “staycations” was beginning,, for one reason or the other. We then saw it continue into the holiday season in the USA with Thanksgiving being very quiet at airports and on the roads. People stayed home, to a great degree, for the holidays rather than to travel hundreds of miles. An additional factor in that case was the high cost at that time of gasoline as well.

Home appears to be now a great new holiday destination and in the UK also vacations in the country were up by over 60% for the summer 2008 compared with previous years. Good for the holiday resorts in Britain, I am sure. It is also no bad thing at all. A lower environmental footprint for starters and no huge amounts of air miles accumulated.

It certainly will do the environment and our planet a world of good – pardon the pun – if people indeed spend their vacations at destinations within the country, or in the USA State or neighboring State and not further afield, or even right at home in their own home and in their own town and area.

Why fly down to Spain to Costa del England – as the Costa del Sol is often jokingly referred to – when one has not even seen the sights in one's own country, often not even in one's own county?

How many British families have been in the Tower of London and seen the Crown Jewels and such? How many have seen Stonehenge properly? No, but they have been to the Louvre in Paris, or the Pyramids in Egypt even.

While the working class that tend to travel on package holidays to the places in Spain and such that are nothing but an extension of England with their nightclubs, cheap booze, etc., etc., and may not have all that nice homes staying at home still would benefit them more than anything. They often take out loans to be able to do those vacations. Doh? Or the save all year for it. Why?

Why not stay home, especially if one has a nice enough home and parks and open spaces and woods and seaside one can go and visit as and when the weather permits? That is a much better choice, and it does the environment good as well.

The towns and cities of this country and also the countryside are full of history but people seem to rather want to experience foreign places at rip off rates. Mind you, then again, a visit to the Tower of London certainly is not cheap at £17 per adult and £10 per child. I assume that families could get a slightly reduced rate on a family ticket but still it will make a visit to London and the Tower a rather expensive trip. Something must be done to make such visits more affordable, especially for those of the lower income bracket.


With the costs rising left, right and center, whether utility bills, or fuel costs, people's habits are a-changing and the take out meals are replaced by the DIY Indian, Chinese or whatever meals at home.

While this may not be all that good for the restaurant industry it must be good for people's wallets and maybe even health. Do you really know how clean those kitchens of those places are? Do you really know what ingredients go into that curry? When you do your fakeaway Indian at home, however, you know where the ingredients have come from, who touched them – at least at your place that is – and how they were prepared and how clean the kitchen is.

Also, when you make your own exotic dishes, your takeout equivalent, at home the ingredients will be fresh and guaranteed cooked – probably – just that once and therefore any leftovers can be kept and used again the next day in one way or the other. Something that I would advise against if it is a take out meal proper, so to speak, as that food, more than likely was cooked and then reheated. In the case of rise, for instance, this can cause fatal botulism to develop. DIY and be safe and also green, though not as in color from food poisoning, but green as in environmentally friendly.

BYO Lunches

Another thing that the credit crunch has brought about, but also some of the “green” concerns, are the BYO Lunches. For many in offices both reasons, that of costs and that of being “green”, have lead to the renaissance in the bring-you-own lunch habit. For many manual workers it has always been the case that you made and brought along your own sandwiches and whatever and it used to also be the case for many office workers and even managers. Then came the sandwich bars and such and people began to buy their lunches out.

However, it would appear that we are headed back to the bringing your own lunch to work and elsewhere. The packed lunch is also there again for visits to parks and elsewhere where still a while ago people would have flocked for sandwiches and cakes and coffees or teas to the cafés. The only thing that people now, when visiting parks seem to purchase from the cafés seem to just be ice creams for the children.

Again, while this, unfortunately, may be impacting adversely on the catering industry, I would think that the environment, people's wallets and people's health will benefit here.

Firstly because sandwiches and other lunches that can be bought from those small and large places are certainly not cheap – far from it. Who, in their right mind, is going to pay £2 for a cheese sandwich? Well, some people seem to do in London's financial districts. Therefore it makes more than financial sense – strange the financial gurus don't seem to see that – to bring one's own lunch to the office or the workplace in general.

Secondly, as to health the story is the same as regards the take out places. You do not know how clean or not the food preparation areas are in those places and even if the lunches are bought pre-packed – and then comes the thing about the packaging too – from food factories and are just retailed by the stores one does not know as to how safe they are as regards to food poisoning bacteria and such like.

Make your own and take your own lunches to work and you save money and you also may just protect your body and your health as well.

Staycations and fakeaways are certainly the way to go, and that for both the environment and the wallet. In some instances also health. Both staycation and fakeaways also are a great idea and way to simplifying life.

© M Smith (Veshengro), December 2008