11 Newfangled Travel Terms Explained


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Few fields have a deeper love of jargon than the travel industry. Let’s define some of the new and fanciful words that have recently found their way into the travel vocabulary:


A vacation taken by a couple right before life as they know it is over forever their lives are transformed by a bundle of joy. It is a chance for parents-to-be to connect and rejuvenate themselves before facing  the challenges of caring for a newborn.

Brocation antics – Photo by Alex Light


Testosterone alert! We don’t know exactly what goes on during a brocation because participants have a code of absolute secrecy, but it’s fair to speculate that it can involve just about any activity that classified as “a guy thing”, and lots of beer. It’s a group of dudes taking a trip together. You probably don’t want to know much more than that.


A bracation is apparently the flipside of a brocation. A group of girlfriends go away together and do stuff that would bore most men silly. Think mani-pedis. Think shopping. Think girl talk, wine, and fruity cocktails. Nuff said.

bon voyage celebracation
Bon Voyage! – photo by Kevin V.


This is a holiday taken to celebrate an achievement, occasion, or milestone. How disappointing. I was hoping it was some sort of spell or enchantment. It would be awesome to shout “Celebracation!” with a flourish and POOF instantly you’re on a tropical beach vacation.


I didn’t know what to make of this term when I first heard it. I thought perhaps it had something to do with speed and I imagined frenzied backpackers leaping off bullet trains and sprinting to their next destination, or competing with fellow travellers over who can pack their possessions the fastest. It turns out it just refers to people who travel independently and on a budget, but have gadgetry such as laptops, tablets, fancy cameras, or smartphones with them, and are willing to splash out a bit extra money on things to enhance their experience, like a private room, tours, or eating out. No wonder I was confused. I refer to this as “travelling.”

Glamping – Photo by Andrew Hall


It was inevitable. Doesn’t everyone view the experience of camping and say, “What this situation needs is more glamour?” You got it. Glamping is glamourous camping. Standards vary, but generally it is for people who have no desire to sleep on the ground. Glamping can involve renting a cabin, camping out in a funky trailer, or tents with a few extra creature comforts such as beds or cots.


See Brocation. Also note that this term can have another, very different, usage. Some women refer to the act of taking a break from dating men as a “mancation.” Sounds like an excuse to take a Bracation if there ever was one!


An oblication is when you have to use precious vacation time and money to take a trip you otherwise wouldn’t have chosen for yourself, purely out of obligation. Unlike a celebracation, which is a reward to celebrate a special occasion, an oblication has a negative connotation. Weddings, funerals, and baby-related events are the most common culprits.

“Honey, I’m so glad we invested in this spa-cation” – Photo by Hotel Der Oeschberghof


It’s a vacation spent at a spa. Big surprise there, eh? A spa-cation involves pampering and relaxation, possibly even healing. Imagine healthy but delicious food, a full menu of therapeutic spa treatments, and a meditative, zen-like atmosphere where you can talk yourself into thinking that this luxury holiday isn’t an indulgence, but rather an investment in your health and well-being.


Staycation blues – Photo by lintmachine

It’s like a vacation, but you stay at home. Some people can pull this off and have a holiday without ever leaving home, but for most of us a staycation tends not to feel like having taken a proper vacation because when you’re at home you’re surrounded by all the things that need doing, familiar routines, and sources of worry that a vacation gives you a break from. But if it works for you, more power to ya!


According to Urban Dictionary, a travelangelist is, “A person who is always talking about all the places they’ve been, and how you have to go when you get the chance.” Hmm, in my world that’s “conversation.” Guilty as charged.


Maybe these aren’t the most essential, or even useful, additions to the lexicon of travel but now you will know them when you hear them. What other interesting or bewildering travel words have you come across? Have you ever been tempted to coin your own? It seems all you have to do is add “cation” to an existing word and voila! I’d love to hear your comments.

In the meantime I’ll keep on travelangelizing and maybe go plan a chocolatecation for myself.

About the Author: Steph Spencer

Formerly the Editor of Let's Roll, now you're more likely to find Steph prowling the halls of incredible museums, hunting for historic landmarks, discovering mind-blowing science and literary attractions, tracking down the world’s largest whatchamacallit or attending wacky festivals. She is a freelance travel writer who explores the geeky side of travel on her blog A Nerd At Large, and dispenses random quirkiness on Google+ and as @ANerdAtLarge on Twitter.

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