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noun [countable]

a day trip or short holiday that does not involve staying away from home overnight


noun [countable]


verb [intransitive]

'Many of us, including myself (a college student) just can't afford to fly off somewhere for a week, even if I have all summer to do it. Instead of spending lots of dough on far-away travel, my friends and I have decided to try and fill our summer with daycations, vacations lasting only a day.'

tripcrazed (blog) 12th July 2009

'"Lodging revenue was twice what it is now," he said, explaining that the center was often able to turn daycationers into overnight guests.'

The Watch 14th July 2010

'We have a whole day off, we've scraped together gas money, and so we are daycationing in Plymouth, Mass., a historic town that sprang up when the Pilgrims set foot on that famous rock …'

Hartford Courant 5th June 2008

When the sun is finally shining (and, if you live in the UK, when it frequently isn't!) we all love the opportunity to 'get away from it all' – whether it's walking alone in remote countryside, or toasting our bodies on a crowded beach. Yes, being on holiday is great fun but … don't you just sometimes wish you could swap the lumpy mattress in your hotel room for the glorious comfort of your own, dear, bed? And wouldn't you prefer to cook in your own kitchen rather than on a camping stove, or have access to your own DVD collection rather than those randomly deposited films sitting in the cupboard at the holiday cottage? If you've ever been caught up in that tug-of-war between home comforts and the opportunity to explore somewhere different, then the solution might lie in the newly coined term daycation.

after years of revelling in the opportunities afforded by shrinking journey times and cheaper travel, we've come full circle and plugged back in to the advantages of having fun closer to home

The word daycation basically refers to a 'day out', a holiday day where you drive off somewhere to relax and enjoy yourself in whatever way you fancy, but you only travel a distance which comfortably allows you to return home to your own bed. Of course the concept is nothing new, dating as far back as the early days of railway travel, and very popular among our Victorian predecessors. It seems however that in the 21st century, after years of revelling in the opportunities afforded by shrinking journey times and cheaper travel, we've come full circle and plugged back in to the advantages of having fun closer to home.

The word daycation is therefore simply a contemporary reference to the 'day trip', and day trippers are correspondingly dubbed daycationers. The chief reason behind this sudden revitalized interest in taking days out is obvious, people simply haven't got the spare cash to do anything else. In the aftermath of the economic crisis in 2008, the trend has been to shelve the traditional holiday in foreign parts and find cheaper ways of taking a break.

Background – daycation from day vacation

The word daycation has been around for the last couple of years or so, popping up in the context of observations on the recent decline in taking conventional week or two-week-long holidays. The same trend also recently spawned the related term staycation (a holiday based from home), though the two words are not entirely synonymous: a daycation refers specifically to a day out, whereas a staycation may incorporate days at home, resting and sitting in the garden, etc. Both words are of course new blends based on the word vacation, and, following its usage in American English, may be used as both nouns and intransitive verbs. Other recent coinages on the same theme include greycation – a holiday which includes grandparents who conveniently share the costs involved, and the tongue-in-cheek naycation – time away from work which doesn't involve travelling or spending money on leisure activities (nay is an old-fashioned word meaning 'no' or 'not').

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

Last week …

Read last week's BuzzWord. Cyber Cyrano from Cyrano de Bergerac.

This article was first published on 3rd August 2010.

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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