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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Staycation Summer

The summer of the staycation has finally arrived. At the time of writing, the sun is shining, the ash cloud is still proving troublesome and rumblings abroad (of the political and food poisoning variety) makes a foreign holiday a more stressful prospect than it usually is. It's a good idea, this year, to forgo the passport trauma and take your summer sojourn at home. Here are a few advantages to playing house, some of which you may not have thought of.

1. No World Cup awkwardness. Sorry World Cup Widows, I don't have a solution for you. However a staycation means that you will be relieved of the inter-country tensions that are usually a product of several nationalities packed into one place. I vividly remember the 2002 World Cup final of Germany v Brazil, which I watched in a packed campsite in Italy. Every single Dutch person turned up to the match in Brazil gear and gave the death stare to the Germans, who did a lot of awkward shuffling and floor staring. Unfortunately, the atmosphere was anything but carnivalesque and when the final whistle blew, the camp bar descended into a slanging match and halfhearted scuffles not normally seen out of an episode of Eastenders.

2. Green smugness. Calculate how many trees died because your sister decided to backpack in Korea and casually drop it into every conversation. While you're at it, decry her holiday photos as a waste of paper and a mode of releasing harmful chemicals into the air. That'll teach her for going on holidays.

3. No language barrier. No waving your arms around in exaggerated motions trying to mine 'a baguette, please'. No speaking English in a foreign accent or at a volume high enough to blow a speaker in an Ibiza nightclub in a futile effort to make yourself understood. No looking like a culturally insensitive idiot because you didn't absorb anything from your phrasebook. Think about that.

4. More efficient money spending. Every year without fail, Irish women (including myself) storm Penneys and drop a hundred euros on a summer wardrobe of shorts, bikinis and tees totally unsuitable for an Irish climate, wear them on holidays, then never wear them again. Not only does a staycation mean that you'll be saving money on clothes, but put the cost of flights on top of your accommodation budget and presto, you've magically upgraded from a Mallorcan high-rise to a nice five-star hotel in Killarney or Connemara with enough change left over for a nice pony ride and a 99 on the beach. Happy Staycationing!