If your wallet is a little too light to take that holiday vacation, a new service is offering an inexpensive way to live your travel life vicariously... through your stuffed animals. Just don't blame them if your toys would rather visit the Cabbage Patch Kids headquarters instead of Las Vegas.
The Japan-based travel service is operated by 38-year-old Sonoe Azuma, who came up with the idea after running a blog based upon the imagined lives of her own stuffed animals. Her reasoning behind the strange travel service? Living vicariously through inanimate objects actually makes you feel like you're on a vacation yourself.
It sounds crazy, but there is some truth to Azuma's idea. Sure, sipping a Mai Tai by the beach might not do much for Mr. Wiggles, but it turns out that seeing an image of him doing so will fire up the reward centers in your brain. In fact, a 2009 Cambridge, UK medical study concluded that living vicariously through others can actually be as satisfying as completing a task yourself.
Unagi Travel offers the stuffed animal vacations for prices that range anywhere between $20 and $55 depending on the destination, and toy travelers have so far visited destinations as varied as Boston, Hollywood, and London.
If you want to see what other travelers' plush pals are up to before packing a tiny suitcase, check out the Unagi Travel Facebook page. But whatever you do, just don't send your friends to Detroit's Heidelberg Project, where stuffed animals go to die.