Travel brochures and websites are filled with travel-related terms and expressions. Some of them are obvious, but other commonly used phrases might raise some eyebrows. We have created a glossary to elucidate some of the most common words and travel jargon you might encounter when you’re planning a family holiday: the ultimate travel glossary.
A-la-carte: Food that can be ordered as separate items, instead of being part of a set meal. It can be applied to both restaurants and tours.
Accommodation: Place to spend the night during a trip, like a hostel, hotel, or apartment.
Activities: Forms of animation that can be undertaken on the travel destination.
Add-on: Supplementary to existing travel arrangements and products, such as luggage or tour activities. Add-ons generally come at additional costs.
Adjoining rooms: Rooms that are right next to each other. When family rooms aren’t available, adjoining rooms are usually available upon request.
Adventure travel: A type of traveling that usually involves cultural experiences or physically challenging activities, such as sports and hiking. The term ‘adventure travel’ can also be applied to traveling to less-visited, remote destinations.
All-inclusive resort: Resort where the use of all amenities, meals, drinks, and most alcoholic drinks are included in the package price. Sometimes, activities and specific tours are included in the price as well.
Amenities: Any desirable feature you can find in an accommodation.
Amenity kit: Small pouch with toiletries, typically provided on long-haul flights.
Airport code: International three-digit code to identify airports worldwide.
B&B: bed and breakfast; a type of accommodation where the guests get served breakfast.
Babymoon: Relaxing holiday for couples before the birth of their child.
Backpacker: Traveler who travels light and carries all the luggage in a rucksack. Backpackers generally travel budget-friendly and stay in hostels.
Bar: Counter in a cafe or hotel lobby where drinks are served. In some cases, snacks and meals are also on the menu.
Barbecue facilities: Establishment where you can do barbecuing around the accommodation. Generally, these include a grill and utensils.
Base fare: The price of a ticket or travel service before taxes are applied.
Beach holiday: Leisure trip that’s primarily focused on beaches and water activities.
Berth: A bed on public transportation, such as trains, buses, and boats.
Blackout dates: Certain travel dates when discounts or special promotions regarding tours, airfares, or accommodation prices can’t be claimed. Broadly, these dates include holidays or periods in the high season.
Booking.com: Online travel agency, which is one of the largest booking sites in the world. It can be used for accommodation, tours, and car rental.
Boutique hotel: A generally small-sized hotel focused on a stylish interior with decorations and artworks. A boutique hotel tends to be quite upscale and chic.
Breakfast buffet: Spread of food items displayed in the morning in hotels and other types of accommodation.
Bridal suite: Suite in a hotel dedicated to newly-wed couples.
Bucket list: A wishlist of enticing destinations travelers want to go to someday.
Bucket list destination: A specific place travelers aspire to travel to. This could be countries, a national park, a resort, et cetera.
Budget-friendly travel: Travel to inexpensive destinations or economically travel to expensive countries.
Buffet breakfast: Variety of food items and drinks served on a counter or table in an accommodation.
Bunkbed: A bed unit that consists of two beds, one being above the other.
Cancellation fee: An additional payment that comes into effect after the deadline for cancellation has passed, and a traveler wishes to cancel nonetheless.
Carry on: Baggage that doesn’t have to be declared at the check-in counters of an airport, but can be brought by the passenger to the cabin instead.
CDW: Collision Damage Waiver; extra rental vehicle insurance to cover damage or loss of the vehicle.
Charter: Motorized vehicle rented by a private person or group.
Checklist: List of things to pack or things to do before the travel date.
City guide: Travel book or brochure aimed to inform travelers on an individual city anywhere in the world. A city guide features places to eat, nightlife, activities, and cultural venues for travelers to visit.
City trip: A – generally – short holiday which is aimed to visit one or several cities.
Coffee bar: Cafe in the lobby of a hotel or attached to the hotel.
Compression bag: Small sack within a backpack or suitcase that can fit more luggage than regular bags, as it doesn’t contain air.
Concierge: Caretaker in holiday accommodation who takes care of the needs of the guests.
Connecting flight: Flight from a destination other than where the journey started. The passenger has to change airplane to reach the final destination.
Connecting room: Rooms that are next to each other, and connected by a private door. Connecting rooms can be requested by families if their company is too large for one room.
Continental breakfast: A light breakfast in a hotel or restaurant which usually has hot pastries, bread, spreads, and hot beverages. Sometimes optional eggs, cereals, meats, and cheeses are available.
Continental climate: Dry climate characterized by hot summers and cold winters.
Couchette: Train compartment wherein seats can be converted into berths.
Cruise: Holiday or tour on a ship that docks at a variety of destinations for sightseeing purposes.
Cuisine: A style or method of cooking typical for a particular country or region.
Customized tour: Travel itinerary that’s designed by and arranged for an individual traveler or traveling family.
Deal: Airfare, accommodation, or other travel service offered at a discounted price for a limited amount of time.
Deck plan: Map on a cruise ship that shows the layout of the vessel.
Demand-based pricing: Price that fluctuates based on the number of people interested in a specific service or product.
Deposit: A sum paid to a booking agent, hotel, or tour operator as an installment.
Destination: A place to venture for a holiday.
Destination wedding: Celebrating a wedding outside the own country or at least 100 miles away from home.
Diet menu: Food and drinks list in hotels that are adjusted to dietary needs and wishes of the guests.
Domestic airport: An airport that exclusively handles flights within the same country it’s located in.
Domestic travel: Seeking a leisure trip within the own country.
Dormitory: Bedroom with sleeping space for a number of people. Commonly, dorms have bunk beds, and they are most present in hostels.
Double occupancy rate: Price based on two people sharing the same room. In general, the double occupancy rate is lower than the rate for an individual traveler.
Double room: Room that sleeps two people. A double room houses two single beds or one double bed.
Eco-friendly travel: Traveling in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, but instead aims to preserve nature and educate travelers about its importance.
Economy class: The most cost-friendly class for traveling on a train or airplane.
Ecotour: Tour, which directly raises awareness for preserving the environment.
English breakfast: A type of breakfast commonly served in hotels and resorts, which consists of bacon, baked beans, sausage, egg, tomato, and mushrooms.
En-suite: The bathroom that directly adjoins the bedroom and forms one complete set with the other room(s).
Entertainment program: Schedule with activities for children, initiated by a team hired by the holiday accommodation.
Excursion: Commonly a short (day-)trip for leisure purposes, enjoyed from a holiday destination.
eTA: Electronic Travel Authority; entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals for certain countries.
ETA: Estimated time of arrival.
E-ticket: Ticket that’s generated online and can be shown upon check-in without the use of paper.
Exchange rate: The price of a currency in terms of another type of money.
Executive suite: Term often used in hotels for a completely furnished, apartment-style dwelling.
Exhibition: Display of any kind in museums.
Facilities: Desirable features in an accommodation.
Familymoon: Post-wedding holiday joined by the children of the newly-weds.
First-class: Most expensive and luxurious class within train and airplane travel.
Flashpacker: Backpacker with a larger budget that wants to travel with more comforts.
Fly-drive package: Package holiday that often includes flights, a rental vehicle, and accommodation at the holiday destination. Generally, these packages are cheaper than booking each product separately.
Full Pension / full board: Accommodation that – besides sleeping – offers three meals per day, and sometimes tea, coffee, and snacks.
Fun park: A park that features a bundle of attractions, usually specially designed for children.
Gift shop: Shop attached to a hotel where guests can buy souvenirs and other items. The term can also be used for general gift shops.
Glamping: Portmanteau of glamorous and camping. Glamping is camping with the level of luxury some holiday homes would offer.
Group rate: Price for a travel service based on the attendance of at least two persons. Group rates are usually relatively lower than individual rates.
Group tour: A tour that consists of an assembly of travelers with the same itinerary.
Half pension: Accommodation which offers breakfast plus one additional meal (usually dinner). This term is most commonly used at European destinations.
Heritage trail: A walking or cycling route that shows culturally significant features of a certain area.
Hideaway: Secluded place to go to for relaxation, meditation, or enjoying nature.
Honeymoon: Holiday spent by a newly-wed couple.
Hotspot: Country, region, or town that has a high concentration of tourists.
Hub: Central point of a country often used a nerve center of transportation.
Infinity pool: Swimming pool that mingles with the surrounding landscapes thanks to the scenic views enjoyed from the pool.
In-flight entertainment: Entertainment provided on screens on board of long-haul flights. Typical forms of in-flight entertainment are movies, music, digital games, and e-books.
Infrastructure: Network of roads, railways, and air connections.
International airport: Airport which handles flights to destinations in foreign countries.
Island hopping: Traveling from one island to another. Most of the time, this is part of a short excursion or holiday.
Island life: Temporary or long-term stay on an island. Typical expressions of island life are spending time at the beach and watching sunsets.
Itinerary: Travel route or list of activities that are planned beforehand.
Joint fare: One-way journey broken by a stopover in a transit country. Joint fare can apply to a journey undertaken with two different airlines.
Junior suite: A junior suite is a suite that’s usually smaller than a regular suite, and it lacks an apparent separation between the living area and bedroom(s).
Kid-friendly hotel: Hotel with facilities that make it pleasant for children to stay there. This includes hotels with a pool, board games, baby beds, et cetera.
Kinderhotels: Hotels aimed at families with children through their facilities, atmosphere, and surroundings. German term you’ll mainly encounter in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.
King size bed: Largest sized bed in accommodations. Sizes, however, depend on which part of the world you are in.
Layover: A break before the next part of the journey starts.
Leisure travel: Travels intended for relaxation. The primary motivation is to seek a routine different from all-day life.
Long-haul flight: Commercial flight that covers a distance of 4000 kilometers or more.
Low season: Time of the year when the number of tourists is small in a travel destination.
Loyalty program: A marketing strategy that rewards customers with discounts or other advantages when they are regular customers.
Luggage storage: Space in an accommodation where you can put baggage before check-in or after check-out.
Luxury travel: Indulging in a destination with few limitations, for example, by customizing a travel itinerary with a wide range of unique experiences.
Meet and greet: Service that hotels or tour agencies provide to pick up travelers from an airport or station.
Minibar: Small fridge in a hotel room filled with drinks. Usually, the beverages need to be paid for, but they can be free of charge on occasions.
Minimalism: Deliberately packing light for travels.
Multi-city flight: Flight with stops in several cities worldwide, which enables travelers to explore several destinations on one advanced ticket.
Multiple-entry visa: Visa that allows entrance to a foreign country for at least two times.
Museum: Building that displays exhibitions of any kind (usually art, historical subjects, or nature subjects).
Niche travel: Travel specializing in a specified destination or type of activities, For example, gastronomy travel, wildlife travel, and luxury travel.
Nightlife: Entertainment and social activities available in a place in the evening hours.
No-frills: Low-budget traveling by eliminating all non-essential services and goods.
No-show: Keeping nor canceling a reservation or booking.
Off-peak season: Season with the lowest tourist numbers in a specific destination.
Open-jaw: A traveler arrives at one destination and flies back home from another travel hub.
Overstay: Staying in a country longer than the visa allows.
Packing list: Pre-made list of what to bring on a holiday.
Patio: Paved outdoor area right next to a holiday house or hotel room, commonly used for relaxation.
Per pax: Per passenger.
Pet-friendly hotel: Hotel that allows pets to stay and has pet-friendly facilities, such as food trays and kennels.
Plunge pool: Modestly-sized but deep swimming pool, typically used for a cool down after a sauna visit.
Premium-economy class: Middleground travel class between economy class and business class in an airplane or train. Premium economy comes with perks such as more legroom and upgraded meals compared to economy class.
Private parking: Parking space adjoining accommodation, available exclusively for guests.
Private tour: Guided tour for one party exclusively:
Queen size bed: One bed size smaller than a king-size bed. Sizes, however, depend on which part of the world you are in.
Rafting: Traveling down a river on a raft by way of sports.
Relocation cruise: Cruise that terminates in a harbor different from the departure point. Relocation cruises take place mostly when the tourist seasons change in various locations around the world.
Rental agreement: Contract regarding the rental of a holiday house or vehicle between the property owner and the renter.
Resort: Holiday accommodation where people go for enjoyment.
Responsible tourism: Tourism that reduces the negative impact on the environment and improves local people’s well-being.
Road trip: Long-distance journey with a car or motorbike, primarily to do sightseeing.
Round-the-world ticket: Pre-arranged flight tickets with two or more destinations around the world.
Round trip: A trip to a place and returning from there to the original departure point.
Safari: Excursion intended to see wildlife in their natural habitat, often undertaken from a car or boat.
Safety box: Small safe in a hotel room where the guest can store valuables for safekeeping.
Segway: Two-wheeled transportation device regularly used on city tours.
Shopping arcade: Collection of shops under one and the same roof.
Shore excursion: A tour on land operated for cruise passengers and available when the ship docks.
Short-haul flight: Commercial flight that covers a distance of 4000 kilometers or less.
Shoulder season: The season between the touristic high season and the low touristic season.
Shuttle bus: Bus service between two places with a regular schedule.
Sightseeing tour: Expedition to bring tourists to points of interest in the concerning area.
Ski pass: A pass that allows skiers and snowboarders to use the ski facilities and ski fields in a specific area.
Ski piste: Slope used for skiing and snowboarding.
Smoking room: Room in a public building designated for smokers.
Star rating system: A ranking system developed by organizations to indicate what level of luxury and facilities guests can expect in a hotel. Hotel ratings range from one to five stars.
Staycation: Celebrating a holiday in your own country rather than going abroad.
Step-on guide: Guide that gives a tour on board of buses.
Suite: Connecting rooms that form a dwelling within a hotel.
Terrace: Outdoor area beside or on top of accommodation.
Ticket service: Accommodation provides help with booking tours and activities.
Tour desk: Designated counter within an accommodation where tickets, tours, and other activities can be booked.
Tour guide: Escort for a group of tourists during an excursion.
Tourist card: Type of visa that can be obtained prior to departure to the concerning country.
Tourist tax: Small fee tourists have to pay to a municipality through the accommodation. The amount is based on the number of nights the traveler spends in the city.
Train travel: Undertaking a journey to or at your holiday destination by train.
Transit visa: Visa which allows the holder to pass through a country rather than to stay for a longer time.
Travel agency: Firm that makes arrangements for travelers.
Travel dictionary: Pocketable dictionary with essential words and sentences in a foreign language.
Travel restrictions: Limitations to traveling due to certain circumstances, such as conflicts, natural disasters, political quarrels, et cetera.
Travel scam: People making money by performing a deceptive act.
Travel sickness: Sense of sickness one develops onboard a moving vehicle. Travel sickness is also called motion sickness.
Trekking: Journeying by foot over mountainous terrain.
Triple room: Room which sleeps three people.
Tropical destination: Destination near the equator, characterized by warm weather and a lack of extreme change in seasons.
Turndown service: Staff of the accommodation prepares the bed early in the evening for the guests to sleep in. Sometimes, the addition of sweets or chocolates on the pillows is complementary.
Twin room: Room which sleeps two people. A twin room has two single beds.
UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; an institution that’s been introduced to protect and preserve natural and cultural treasures around the world.
Unlimited mileage: The travelers can drive as many miles as they wish with a rental vehicle, without any additional fees.
Upgrade: Move to improved services or stepping up accommodation.
Voluntourism: A type of tourism in which the traveler is involved in voluntary work.
Voucher: Accounting document with a balance that can be exchanged for products or goods.
Wellness facilities: Health services that improve physical and mental conditions, from skin treatments to sessions aimed at weight-loss.
Workaway: Online community for volunteering work and cultural exchange.
World Heritage Area: Cultural or natural point of significance that’s listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Worldschooling: Education of children by exposing them to foreign cultures, nature, and history by traveling to these places.
WWOOF: Online community for organic farm work that brings together hosts and volunteers.
Zoo: Park with wild animals for displaying and/or researching purposes.