The travel industry is the largest in the world and with more than 1 billion people crossing national borders every year, it’s inevitable that new travel related terms and phrases constantly appear and disappear. Some are great and others are just plain terrible. Here are my nominees for some of the worst offenders that need to be removed from our collective vocabulary without delay.
1. Anything ending with “-cation” – A popular travel editor inspired my initial dislike of the term Staycation, and that has stayed with me. What is even worse is how any type of trip must now come with its own “–cation” suffix. Smartcation, mancation, daycation, nearcation, divorcecation, E-cation, and Mousecation are just a few of the linguistic atrocities that have been committed, all in the name of coming up with a clever travel related epithet. Enough is enough people, just say you’re 1) going on vacation or 2) going on a trip. Is anything else really necessary?
2. Flashpacking – This term had a place at one point and time, but now I think it’s largely moot. When first coined, a flashbacker was a backpacker with a slightly larger budget than a traditional backpacker who also traveled with a significant amount of tech and electronics. The term was then usurped by anyone who packs a lot of tech, moving away from the traditional image of a high-end backpacker. Unless I’m mistaken, which has been known to happen, I think this is how most people travel now anyway. Don’t most people take cameras and phones, chargers and iPads when they go on a trip? If this supposition is correct, then there is no reason to keep this word around any longer.
3. WWoofing – This is the shorthand for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, another form of agri- and voluntourism. Simply put, WWoofing is when volunteers find unique opportunities around the world to spend their vacation time working on farms. While it’s not for me, I don’t have a issue with the practice per se, but the term must die. First, it looks idiotic when written out; more like a computer programming language than a travel style. Second, the term does nothing to portray what the concept is. At least with the “cations” you know travel is involved in some way. So why can’t you just say “I’m staying on a farm” or “farmstay”? There is absolutely no need for an extra term.
4. Traveler – This harkens to the age-old traveler versus tourist semantic argument and I’m tired of it. Pretentious, self-important tourists refuse to consider themselves tourists so they started saying traveler, simultaneously looking down their noses at those who deigned to be a simple tourist. Well that’s crap. Unless you have taken up permanent residence in a new place, you are a tourist in that destination. There’s nothing wrong with it, own up to it and move on with your life.
5. Babymoon – This is an instance when I really like the concept, but hate the name. Babymoon is when couples take a brief, last trip before the birth of their child. I think the idea is great; it’s a fantastic last hurrah before their little one comes, but the name is atrocious. Honeymoon is marginally ok, but when you start changing it things just get weird. I also recently heard the term Familymoon, so we need to act fast. We can’t let “–moon” become the new “–cation,” so please let’s all agree to stop creating new words along this theme.
6. Glamping – I think the intention here was a good one; to describe a luxury camping experience. Instead of pitching a tent and showering in a sink, permanent, high-end tent experiences are created for the discerning guest. However, there are actually very few of these glamping experiences around the world and the term has been hijacked by anyone who wants to add a touch of luxury to their camping experience. But the best reason to get rid of this word forever? Fellow blogger Sally from UnbraveGirl put it best when she said that it “sounds like an STD.” Enough said.
7. Bucket List – This was added thanks to some great Facebook comments but still I hesitated including it on this list. I’ve long lobbied against the term, I don’t think it makes sense. I mean, I personally want to visit every place I haven’t been so why create a bucket list? Without arguing the true merits of the term, I think we can all agree that it’s been over used. Everyone seems to be creating a bucket list for every niche imaginable and it needs to stop. Instead just plan your adventures to places you want to visit and enjoy yourself. Don’t let a silly list dominate your travel planning and your expectations.
8. SKIing – No, it’s not what you think and before I put the call out for ideas on Facebook a few days ago I had never heard of it either. SKI is an acronym for, wait for it – Spending Kids’ Inheritance. Can you think of anything more absurd, pretentious, obnoxious and just plain awful? This takes elitism to a new level and frankly if I were the kids referenced, I’d be pretty upset.
9. Fashpacking – This is a very new term for me, yet one I hated almost instantly. As it was described to me it stands for Fashionable (or Fashion) Packing. I guess the intent of the phrase is to connote packing nice clothes when you travel so that you’re fashionable. Here’s my problem with it: does anyone pack for a trip with the desire to look bad? Do they throw in their dog walking sweats to wear out to fancy dinners? No, that’s insane. No one wants to look bad when they travel and they usually pack some of the best, and most comfortable outfits that they have. Instead this term is just another way for people who travel to separate themselves from others, to be pretentious and elitist and to make travel a question of class and socioeconomic status. That’s not cool.
10. Airline fees – Ok, this is a bit of a cheeky addition, I’ll grant you that. Airline fees haven’t been around that long and yet they have completely changed the airline industry and how we as passengers travel. We’re thinking about weight limits in ways we never have before and considering all of the extras before booking a ticket. The fees have also been a financial boon for the airlines, taking them out of the red and into the black. But they’re annoying; very annoying. In my dream world these fees would be included in the price of a ticket and I wouldn’t be constantly bombarded with nickel and diming extras that just make my travel experience more complicated and less fun.
What are some terms and phrases that you think should be added to the list?