Where does home away from home come from?
The expression home away from home dates back to the 1860s, first taking the form home from home and used to characterize a comfortable hotel.
In the late 1800s, home away from home extended to boardinghouses and holiday homes as well as workhouses, orphanages, and boarding schools—promoted as just like home for the lodger. In the 20th century, home away from home further expanded to describe locations such as one's local bar, where one is a regular, known to staff by name, and can feel like they can be themselves.
The expression kept its more literal roots, however, with the rise of popular travel and leisure in the 20th-century. Home away from home became a common descriptor, both by occupants and marketers, for recreational vehicles, camping and outdoors equipment, and vacation rentals. The phrase even inspired the name of a Texas-based vacation rental company, HomeAway, now owned by Expedia and operating worldwide.
Who uses home away from home?
Home away from home is widely used in speech and writing. Speakers may speak or write the phrase to compliment the accommodations and amenities when staying somewhere as a guest (e.g., leaving an Airbnb review) or reserve the phrase for their favorite vacation spot (e.g., Our condo is Floria is our home away from home.).
Users may also humorously take to home away from home to characterize somewhere they spend a lot of time outside their actual home, such as a coffeeshop or, more ironically, one's place of employment.
On social media, as another popular illustration of the phrase, teachers may post a picture of their classroom with the hashtag "#homewayfromhome," sometimes nodding to their dedication to the vocation—and sometimes commenting on the great demands of the job.
Home away from home is also seen in advertising and marketing copy, especially for vacation/RV rentals and sales to suggest comfort and convenience.
Union Station canteen was 'home away from home' for fighting forces
Dawn Mitchell, IndyStar (headline), March, 2018
Y’all, Shrek is playing in the tequila bar we are at and if that doesn’t sum up the Orlando experience. #homeawayfromhome
@CuteBurrito, March, 2018
From Class A motorhomes to travel trailers, we have a wide range of RVs that give you a taste of home...You may get so comfortable in your home away from home that you won’t want to part with it.
Keith Perry, AdventureQuest RV Rentals, May, 2016