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noun [countable] informal

a holiday staying with friends or family

'Cash-strapped Brits take a paliday … UK holidaymakers are saving cash by staying with friends, according to a survey …'

ttglive 22nd June 2009

Have you ever been fortunate enough to have a friend that lives in a particularly scenic or interesting part of the country? If so, have you ever cashed in on the opportunity to enjoy a 'free' holiday by spending a few days with them? If so, it seems you're not the only one, since the concept of using your chum's residence as a substitute hotel is now so commonplace, there's even a name for it – the paliday.

coastal resorts appear to be the most popular locations for palidays, so if you're lucky enough to live by the sea, brace yourself for a few phone calls this summer

A paliday is a holiday in which, instead of booking your own accommodation, you rely on the goodwill of your friends or family to feed and house you in their own home. And in the tough financial climate of 2011, the paliday appears to be increasingly popular, as people search for alternative ways to take a break at a time when their holiday budget is tightly squeezed. Research undertaken in 2009 by train ticket retailer thetrainline.com, suggested that families could save up to £2,000 by opting for a paliday in lieu of a conventional two-week holiday. Of the 6,000 families surveyed, over half had already taken a paliday in the previous year, and nearly two-thirds were intending to take a paliday in the future.

Coastal resorts appear to be the most popular locations for palidays, so if you're lucky enough to live by the sea, brace yourself for a few phone calls this summer! If you live in the heart of the city, then you too should tidy up the spare bedroom because you're still not off the hook – research revealed 'city breaks' to be the second most popular type of paliday. Coming in third are more remote rural locations, so if you live somewhere out in the sticks, then the indications are that you're the least likely to get invaded.

Background – paliday

A blend of pal (an informal word for friend) and holiday, paliday was coined in 2009 by online train ticket retailer thetrainline.com, in connection with the survey mentioned above. Paliday has also subsequently been used in the more general sense of 'a holiday spent with friends' (i.e. not necessarily implying that a friend provides accommodation at their home).

Paliday follows a couple of other recent neologisms stemming from the need to find more economical ways to take a holiday. 2008 saw the emergence of the staycation, a holiday in which people stay at home and visit places near to where they live, and rapidly in its wake came the daycation, a day trip or short holiday that does not involve staying away overnight.

In recent years there's been a proliferation of new expressions that play on the word vacation – other examples include greycation, a holiday which includes grandparents conveniently sharing the cost, mancation, a holiday based around classically 'male' activities like sport, fishing etc., haycation, a holiday in a rural location where families stay and help out on a farm, fake-ation, a holiday in which someone spends a significant amount of time checking e-mails and doing other work-related activities, and the the tongue-in-cheek naycation, time away from work which doesn't involve travelling or spending money on leisure activities.

However the concept of holidays generally, and not just the word vacation, seems to be a rich source of new expressions – there's now for example the babymoon (a special holiday for parents-to-be), the buddymoon (a honeymoon taken with friends, or two platonic friends holidaying in a romantic location), set-jetting (holidaying in the location of a popular film), glamping (camping in a luxurious style) and even frightseeing (tours or daytrips based on ghost stories, gravestones etc).

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

Last week …

Read last week's BuzzWord. Slacklining.

This article was first published on 18th July 2011.

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

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

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