Saturday, January 29, 2011


She's faking it. Burj Khalifa, Dubai.
So I stumbled on a release recently from TripAdvisor listing its 2011 travel trends forecast.

Lots of interesting stuff in there (Americans, for example, top the lists for both most annoying and friendliest travellers) but it was the reference to Fakations (fake-ations...geddit?) that caught my eye.

It seems the humble vacation has, in recent times, reared some bastard children. First came the idea of the Staycation which the Brits unfortunately sometimes call a stoliday. (For goodness sake, they invent the language and come up with swill like that).

But 2011 is set to be the year of the fakation.

This got me really excited instantly thinking of skiing in Dubai as classic fakation fare. A little less fancy but just as relevant, perhaps a tour of Australia's oversized fibreglass fruit and crustacea. Or a week of retail mayhem shopping for knock-off luxury goods in the lanes and high-rise neighbourhoods of Shenzhen, Shanghai or Hong Kong. Or even this nourishing little stop at a McDonalds in Ecuador...

"McDonalds" burger stand - Riobamba, Ecuador -
4 July, 1997
I have a suspicion that it wasn't 100% legit, but it was definitely tastier than the real thing with a lovely hint of fakation about it.

And then there's Las Vegas, the ultimate fakation destination. Take your pick between ancient Rome or Egypt, New York, Paris or Monte Carlo, or perhaps a spot of jousting at Excalibur or even a taste of the roustabout's life at Circus Circus. And that really is just the tip of the faux Vegas iceberg. (Am sure one of those isn't too far away).

While we're on Vegas, why is it not OK for a factory in China to knock-off some luxury handbags and watches, but it's alright to take an entire culture and replicate it in the Nevada desert? I've seen guests at Luxor Las Vegas literally in tears gazing at the priceless wonders of ancient Egypt around the lobby. How is that any different to the rush of snapping up a perfect Louis Vuitton knock-off in Hong Kong?

But I digress. As it turns out, I've got the fakation thing all wrong.

I've since learnt that fakations are those half-hearted breaks you take because you're still connected to the office in some way. Perhaps you're checking your emails, occasionally liberating the Blackberry from your Burberry or even answering the odd call because it's really important.

Sorry but that kind of fakation sounds totally crap.

Bring on 2012.

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