Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Staycations

GARETH SAYS...

The following article got sent round the office recently. It is about the rise in a thing called "staycations" . It's inspiring stuff. Perfect for Operation Night Brace.

Karen Ash is about to take a weeklong Japanese vacation. She'll buy postcards and souvenirs at a traditional Japanese market. She'll admire bonsai plants and view Japanese films. She'll eat ramen, ordering in Japanese.

And she'll never leave the Bronx.

Ms. Ash, a legal assistant who lives in that New York City borough, called off her plans to travel to Japan this summer. The ballooning cost of airfares, weak dollar-to-yen exchange rate and difficulty saving travel money while keeping pace with bills forced her to rethink her summer plans. So she's determined to have the ultimate "staycation," or vacation spent at home.

While more hard-pressed Americans are spending their vacation time at home lately, not everyone is happy about it. Barbecues and reruns don't match the thrill of travel. So some are going to great lengths to foster the illusion of a wayfaring vacation. They'll sample foreign tourism, wilderness camping, hotel living and beach-going without ever leaving their living rooms.

Some entrepreneurs have even developed new businesses to help faux-travelers with the ruse. Bob Porter, a literary editor from Pacific City, Ore., for one, has taken on the additional career of staycation planner.

Last spring, a friend of Mr. Porter complained that he was too broke to travel, so Mr. Porter, as a joke, furnished his apartment like a hotel. He plugged in a TV, hung "Do Not Disturb" signs and even placed fresh soaps and towels in the bathroom. Since the joke, word-of-mouth has spread. Mr. Porter has repeated the hotel stunt 11 times since April, sparking a small business. For two nights of the faux-hotel experience, he charges $50 to $60. (He buys the items from real hotels.)

He's expanded to include room service (delivery from a local restaurant), offering wake-up calls and maid service. "I really need to buy one of those maid carts like they really use at a hotel," he said. He'll plug in a stocked mini fridge and hang pastel-toned paintings of the ocean on the walls. The toilet seat bears the sealing strip of paper across the lid and seat, ensuring recent sanitization. A Gideon Bible rests in the nightstand drawer.

Most of Mr. Porter's clients are young couples "who see the humor in it" and are coping with the high cost of travel. Often, the hotel stunt is a surprise. One of his customers hired Mr. Porter to revamp their home while his wife was out. When she returned, he told her "this is as close to vacation as we're gonna get."

2 comments:

Steve said...

that's the saddest F'king thing I've read in ages. Guess I'll cut out a picture of a hot Hollywood starlet, stick it to my pillow and screw the hole in the lining ---> almost the same as the real thing.

That woman needs to get her ass to Japan and worry abt the money later. No amount of Ramen noodles in the Bronx is going to feel as good as the warm jets of a Japanese toilet

Gareth & Amy said...

I think you've revealed a little too much about your sex life Mr Steve xxxxx