Recession tales: The world gets a little smaller

Survey after survey confirms what you and I already know: Staycations are stupid. You and I don't just hate the stupid word, which was dreamed up by opportunistic marketing departments to sell old things in a new way. We also hate the idea of them, and as soon as the money starts flowing again, we're outta here.

But there's also no doubt that more of us are staying closer to home right now. Due both to a downturn in personal spending and a cutback in business travel expenses, America's hotels and airlines are dramatically less full nowadays than they were three years ago.

The urge to explore, being an inherent and eternal quality of mankind, hasn't left us; only the means to explore have. Still, it's also true that the longer this mess persists, the more travel will be changed forever. Some shifts have already been cemented into place.