I wasn’t surprised recently, when doing a search for ‘binge-watching,’ that I discovered there was an entry on Wikipedia. The term refers to on-demand viewing of television shows and movies, using online media services to watch seasons’ worth – or even years’ worth – of programming in a single sitting.
The recent Sabre Dev Studio hackathon could accurately be referred to as a binge-coding event. Binge-learning is also emerging as a ‘thing’ as well as many other binge-whatevers that none of us have even heard about yet. As I began thinking recently, though, about all of the television shows I might get around to binge-watching someday, I also started thinking about travel.
My wife and I sometimes talk about the places we’ve visited and enjoyed but, sadly, for only a few days. We have gone on a lot of cruises through the years and there is a long list of places that we’d love to visit again but for more than the one or two days that our ship was in port. That all led me to start looking into trends related to what I believe could be referred to as ‘binge-travel.’ I found out quickly that there are a growing number of people like us.
There are places that such people want to not simply visit for a brief time but, instead, would like to immerse themselves in, soaking up the local culture as part of an extended stay. This is increasingly true, as I learned, of what are often called the “Baby Boomers” (those born between 1946 and 1964). Collectively, ‘Boomers’ have not only traveled more (and to more places) in their lifetimes than previous generations but they’re physically capable of traveling well into their eighties and nineties. Most importantly, they have, as a group, amassed the personal financial assets required to travel.
There are indications that travel suppliers and travel agencies are already participating in what is also called the long-stay vacation movement. More and more Canadian ‘boomers,’ for example, are actually changing their residence for months at a time, moving into apartments or other accommodations in warm weather destinations from Southern Europe to the southwest United States and Latin America.
Startups like onefinestay, which bills itself as an ‘unhotel,’ are connecting guests with hosts who offer their homes, providing the opportunity for the guests to ‘live their life for a few days and nights.’ Such homes come with recommendations from the hosts, enabling guests to find the shopping and dining preferred by local residents and begin to gain a deeper understanding and ‘feel’ of the place.
(Note: One could make the case that when it comes to travel, a binge would more accurately be defined as going to many places in a short period of time. I can’t argue with that, but the trend described above is more about a ‘place’ binge rather than the actual act of traveling. You say təˈmātō, I say tə -ˈmätō. :)
There’s no way to know how many of the destinations on our list we’ll actually get to, let alone set up residence in. I’m fairly certain, however, that the trend discussed above will mean we’ll have plenty of company from others from around the world who are seeking the same immersive experience.