Staycation Nation: Destination Tourism at Home

Remember Summer? Beaches, barbecues, and family vacations dot the quintessential version. This year, though, something changed and the term "staycation" entered mainstream vernacular. A staycation is loosely defined as a vacation spent at home or in one’s home state due to prohibitively high transportation costs.

To measure staycation demand in Summer ’08, Compete looked for U.S. consumers who were researching on destination and tourism websites for the same state in which they also lived. We chose to examine June, the month in which Summer travel research is most intense.

In 2008 there were 12.9 million Americans researching an in-state vacation online, up from 8.7 million in 2007. The year over year change is a significant jump and correlates with rising consumer transportation costs.

Specifically, New Jersey and New York experienced the largest volumes of 2008 staycation research, while Massachusetts and Pennsylvania represented the largest year-over-year percentage growth. Other states experiencing an increase in local travel interest are listed in the table below.

The staycation is just one example of a behavioral shift caused by a rapidly changing travel cost structure. Certain states have experienced stronger staycation interest than others, but with a 50% increase nationally and no foreseeable reprieve from high gas prices, it looks like the staycation isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

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