The Strange but Surprisingly Descriptive Travel Lingo of the 21st Century
Leah Walker May 20, 2019

Have you ever been on a “daycation”? How about a “staycation”? Are you an adept of “voluntourism” or did you consider going “honeyteering” right after your wedding? If these terms don’t sound familiar, don’t be surprised – they are brand new additions to the global travel lingo of the 21st century. They show up on the pages of catalogs and travel blogs and, considering how weird they sound, they step on the nerves of English-speakers all over the world. But no matter how weird and annoying they sound, many of them are pretty descriptive.

Meet the new travel lingo

“Portmanteaus” have been around for ages, adding valuable words to our everyday language. Did you know, for example, that “motel”, the term used for roadside lodging of usually questionable quality was born from a combination of “motor” and “hotel”? Or that “brunch” is a combination of “breakfast” and “lunch”? These words snuck into the common usage like the proverbial kids hiding under a large trench coat sneak into the movie theater to see an R-rated flick.

Unlike the more common terms that are born out of necessity, today’s weirdly descriptive travel lingo is artificial and, let’s face it, often rather forced. After all, the terms plaguing the travel blogs lately were invented with a special goal in mind: selling more travel experiences to everyone.

A few examples

Among the most widely used means through which these new terms are coined is to merge a word with half of the term “vacation”. This is how terms like the above-mentioned “daycation” were born. “Daycation,” by the way, is used in reference to a day-long vacation that may or may not be taken in a city (as opposed to “city break” that is a day-long trip to a city), and “staycation” is a vacation when you don’t leave your hometown at all. This term became common during the financial crisis of the 2000s and since then, it has gained somewhat negative connotations (it is often used for people who can’t afford to leave their home when on a vacation).
Another trendy “cation” term is “fitcation”, a vacation that involves sports, fitness, wellness, and similar activities.

There is an entirely new catalog of terms aimed at newlywed couples that want to spend the first few days or weeks of their life as an official couple with traveling. It can all start with a “destination wedding”, where the couple and those invited to the wedding travel to an exotic location to tie the knot. And when it comes to the first vacation they take as husband and wife, there are many options to choose from: a “familymoon” (a honeymoon with the family), a “friendmoon” (the same with friends), a “minimoon” (a short honeymoon, often a “daycation”), or “honeyteering” (a honeymoon spent volunteering for a cause).

What do you think of these brand new terms?

Leah Walker

Leah has a marketing management company specializing in strategy, content creation and implementation for luxury brands and destinations. She's also a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. Leah documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. She sometimes freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, USA Today 10 Best, Bonjour Paris, France Today, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel and wine ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's lived in Paris for four years, and was awarded additional time with a Passeport Talent visa renewal. Though, her talent for speaking French is abysmal.

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