9 reasons ’09 will be the year of the naycation

By | December 28th, 2008

If 2008 was the year of the staycation, then ’09 is bound to be the year of the naycation.

As in, nay — we’re not vacationing.

The conventional wisdom about travel is that it will slip by just a few percentage points next year. But the unconventional wisdom — supported by several troubling surveys — points to a much bigger drop.

A recent Allstate poll found nearly half of all Americans plan to cut back on travel in 2009. An International SOS survey says slightly fewer of us — about 4 out of 10 Americans — are reducing their international trips next year. And a Zagat survey says at least 20 percent of us will travel less in ’09.

But that’s just the half of it. I’ve been talking with people in the industry, who tell me — direct quote here — that travel is poised to “drop off a cliff” in January. In other words, people are telling pollsters one thing but making other plans.

Specifically, they’re making no plans.

Here are nine reasons why 2009 will probably be known as the year of the “naycation” — and what it means for you.

The economy sucks
Andrea Funk, the owner of an apparel company in Olivet, Mich., has canceled her travel plans for 2009. “I think we need to see the stock market stabilize and the economy get better before we go anywhere,” she says. At a time of great economic uncertainty, she and her family believe a vacation is a bad idea. “We’re hoping none of use lose our jobs,” she says. However, on the upside, a bad economy often translates into vacation bargains.

Related story:   4 rules travelers should know for 2009

Vacation budgets are history
Daniel Senie, a network consultant in Bolton, Mass., used to travel to the Caribbean a few times a year to go diving. “We stopped a few years ago to save funds for a kitchen remodel,” he says. He never looked back. “For me, avoiding air travel is my response to the lousy service by the airlines and TSA mock-security. The airlines have provided worse and worse service in an attempt to hold down prices, in a race to the bottom. Airplanes are dirty, amenities have been cut, and employees are upset all the time.” What does that mean for those of us who still want to vacation? That any vacation budget (even a small one) might take you far next year.

We’re tired of being lied to

People are forfeiting the great American vacation because they can’t stomach the travel industry’s lies anymore. Take the airlines, which earlier this year imposed a series of new surcharges in response, they said, to higher fuel costs. When fuel prices fell, what happened to the fees? They stuck around. “Jet fuel prices have gone from over $140 per barrel in August to under $50 in November, but airfares in October were actually up 10 percent,” says Chicke Fitzgerald, the chief executive of roadescapes.com, a site for road trips. “Americans are definitely voting on that trend with their wallets.” How so? By either vacationing close to home, or just staying home altogether.