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Rise of the staycation

Locals and visitors alike are escaping closer to home

During this pandemic, it’s so important for people to still travel — and to do so safely. Families still want to enjoy vacations together while taking precautions. Many destinations have made the extra effort to ensure their guests are safe during such an uncertain time. 

Last March and April, I was truly uncertain what the future held for the travel industry. Would people ever travel again? When would it be safe to welcome visitors back to the Coast? When the state lifted restrictions last May, the flood gates opened. People started to book again — and they have not stopped. 

During one of the many Zoom seminars I attended about COVID and how it would affect the vacation rental industry, the most consistent feedback people gave our market was that they would travel again and pick locations within driving distance. Many of the guests who have visited us over the past year are our surrounding neighbors. We see a large clientele from Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. Traveling closer to home ensures they will be able to return quickly in case of an emergency. 

The pandemic has curbed travel for may of us for over a year, but the need to travel remains. People desire to get away and break free from the worries of everyday life. That’s why during the pandemic, so many have opted for staycations. 

Not only are staycations fun, but they are more affordable. For our neighbors in the region, the Coast is a short drive from home, but just as much fun and often more affordable. 

Some locals also have taken advantage of the Coast during the COVID crisis. Tired of sheltering in their homes, they have opted for local vacation rentals or hotels. It’s still home, but it offers different scenery to enjoy and lets them forget about the pandemic for a time. 

One thing I’ve noticed about the vacationers this year is the amount of time the guests spent at our beautiful beaches. Every day while driving to work, families were posted in their spots the entire day, enjoying our warm Gulf waters and soaking up the sun. Advantages that we sometimes take for granted, visitors could not get enough of. Families who could work remotely and home school took full advantage of a home away from home. 

The Coast has a wide variety of things to do for all ages. Just drive along Highway 90 from Bay St. Louis to Pascagoula; there is no shortage of fun. 

Jacqueline Wilson is general manager of Biloxi Beach Resort Rentals. Reach her at (228) 276-2200 or 

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