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The Ultimate Staycation Guide

The Best Surf Trip of Your Life May Never Involve Leaving Home

| posted on December 16, 2010

A backpack full of camping gear and your favorite stick are all you truly need for an epic staycation. Photo: Van Swae

The recession brought us such witticisms as “funemployment,” “insourcing,” and “permatemping.” And in 2009, Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary effectively inked the demise of gratuitously indulgent traveling by adding the term “staycation” to its list of colloquialisms. A staycation, however, is not merely an option for the penny-pincher, nor does it simply entail taking a week off work and going nowhere. In its most idyllic form, a staycation is about changing your mindset, stepping out of your routine, and adventurizing a week (or day, or month) in your surf life. After all, the reason you loved your last overseas trip probably had less to do with the surf and more to do with the fact that work ceased, e-mails stopped, responsibilities were relinquished, and the beer, food, waves, and good times flowed. None of these require a $1,000 plane ticket, baggage fees, or an overpriced hotel. The following pages will prepare you for your best—and perhaps your first—real staycation.—Janna Irons

IN DEFENSE OF GOING NOWHERE

Brad Melekian gives an account of his personal adventures in staycationing, and how sometimes the thing you need is right in your backyard.
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HOW TO STAYCATE ON ZERO DOLLARS

Scrounging-extraordinaire Cyrus Sutton shares his secrets on how to staycation on a non-existent budget.
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LESSONS FROM A BACKYARD ADVENTURE

Kimball Taylor and JP Van Swae learn a little about themselves and a lot about the hobo lifestyle while beach camping in Southern California.
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STAYCATION LIMITATIONS

Kimball Taylor imparts a few words to the wise about the consequences settling into a permanent staycation.
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STAYCATION RULES
If you sit home, pay bills, and eat at the same restaurants, guess what…you aren’t on a staycation, you’re just skipping work. Here are the requirements for staycating properly:

1. Spend long stretches of the day at the beach. Like your last Indo boat trip or excursion to Mex where you spent the entire day in the water—taking breaks only to eat or reapply sunscreen—spend your staycation days soaking in every minute of surf time. Bring an umbrella and a cooler filled with food and water and make a day (or a week) of it.

2. Make an itinerary. If you don’t make a plan, it’ll be easy to slip back into your old routine, and before you know it, you’ll be painting the living room. Even if your itinerary entails scheduling in time for completely relaxing in a lounge chair on the porch, fill your agenda only with activities you truly enjoy.

3. Avoid your old haunts. If you go to Starbucks every morning, don’t during your staycation. Spend your nights out. Yelp is a great resource that will point you at all kinds of restaurants, parks, hotels, and bars in your area that you’ve never even heard of. Odds are, there’s a whole world in your beach community that you’ve never even seen before because it doesn’t fit into your rut.

4. Turn your phone off. And forget about TV for a week. Set your DVR, don’t check your e-mail or Facebook, and for all intents and purposes, be unavailable to anyone except those who are sharing your staycation with you.

5. Don’t tell your boss your not actually going out of town. The fact that you’re not in some far-off, Internet-disconnected land will naturally lead bosses and co-workers to assume you’re available to fill in for “just one shift,” or that they can send you over “just a few things to look over.” They can’t. You’re on staycation.