Hi, I’m Emily, a British travel writer and the founder of The Staycation Collection, currently based in Berlin. Lovely to meet you all virtually!
Question 1: Why do you support a travel community?
Travel is such a powerful thing for so many reasons: it helps people unwind, gives joy, supports many people’s livelihoods, is a tool to increase cultural understanding… the list goes on. I want to support any community that champions the power of travel, and especially those who help people look beyond traditional tourist hotspots to help distribute tourism more evenly.
Question 2: What does travel mean for you? Is there perhaps an exciting story about your company?
Travel means freedom. Travel means growth. Travel means adventure.
I have met so many passionate property owners in Germany who want to share their little piece of paradise with the world. The first trip I took on behalf of The Staycation Collection was to a former schoolhouse in northern Brandenburg where I could gaze at the stars and collect freshly laid eggs from the garden. I had dinner with the owner who shared her story and love of travel, as well as her tips for exploring the region. I get goosebumps every thinking of the stay, and even though it was just an hour’s drive from Berlin, it felt like another world and I came home completely refreshed.
Question 3: How often should we take staycations?
As much as possible! Take a mid-week mini-break, go away for the weekend, spend a full week on the road. Building moments of mindfulness into our day-to-day lives is an important and powerful thing. At the very least, go and explore a new part of your neighborhood and look at your home through tourist’s eyes so you can absorb as much of its charm and beauty as possible. Here’s to more staycations!
Question 4: How was your company founded? Can you remember any moments in particular?
The Staycation Collection began as a spreadsheet of cool places to stay in Germany, kind of like my staycation bucket list. I began sharing it with friends who asked if they could share it. From there, the business was built, and it was amazing to watch something that began as a passion project snowball into a company.
Question 5: What makes your company unique? Why should we keep you in mind?
I think the best way to describe what we do is Airbnb meets the Lonely Planet meets a travel agency. Rather than just being another digital platform for stylish places to stay, we offer a matchmaking service. You can write saying “Emily, I want to stay in a cabin with my partner for three nights in August and we want to take our cat.” I then sort through the already curated collection to find the places that match your needs so you can focus on just enjoying the holiday (scrolling through endless options of places to stay just isn’t fun, right!). To date, we’ve never had a request we couldn’t fulfill!
Question 6: What is slow travel and why should we try it?
Slow travel is a part of the wider ‘slow movement’, a shift that advocates for the slowing down of life’s pace. Many of you, I’m sure, will have been practicing this for years without having given it a name. It effectively means traveling to connect with a place, its culture, and its people, rather than rushing to collect stamps in your passport or tick off all the sights you must see.
Slow travel is beneficial for many reasons, including the fact you’ll likely feel more rested and fulfilled, but a huge plus of slow travel is that it tends to be more sustainable. This is because you’re not jumping on and off transportation and are spending more time supporting local economies.
Question 7: How did the idea for The Staycation Collection develop?
The Staycation Collection was created out of personal frustration. When I moved to Germany, I was full of fresh energy and determined to explore the country I’d decided to call home. I started planning my first weekend away, and got overwhelmed: Where is Bölkze? What do I do here? Where would I stay? Instead, I booked flights to Spain for the weekend.
But I had a sense of guilt in my stomach. Not only was I not exploring Germany’s spectacular landscape, but my travel habits weren’t good for the climate. In fact, most of our travel habits aren’t good for the climate. That needs to change.
I’m not saying travel has no place in a sustainable future, quite the opposite! Travel and tourism are key for a lot of local economies and for building cultural appreciation, not to mention how good it is for your mind and body!
So once COVID hit, international borders closed and 14-day quarantines came into existence, I began thinking more and more about the benefits to the climate that taking staycations and exploring the world around us more consciously could have.
Question 8: Why a membership model and why should I join?
Many large booking sites charge a huge commission. As we work with small, independently run properties, we decided we didn’t want to do this. Your membership fee covers our running costs and allows us to keep hunting out special places to stay to share with you.
By paying a membership fee, you get the contact details of the properties and can book your holiday directly. This means you always get the best nightly rate and you know that 100% of your booking money goes to the owners.
You also can ask our travel experts for recommendations of where to stay (simply send us your requirements). Plus, we also work with partners to provide you with exclusive perks, including discounted nights away and holiday-at-home goodies (check out the ‘For members’ page to view our current partners). We also send a member’s-only newsletter with lots of inspiration and tips on where to travel.
Question 9: What are your favorite places in Germany?
Tough question! The country is so diverse in its landscapes. For a quick break, I love the region around the Müritz, and when I want more of an adventure, I love the Moselle.
Question 10: What do you really want to tell the Traxplorio community?
Big trips are amazing, but so are mini-breaks and staycations. Make more time to build moments of travel and escapism into life.