Norbert Figueroa a RoamRight Blog Author

Fifteen Travel Terms You May Not Know

Stump your friends with this list of some common and not so common travel terms.

Image source: Flickr - Caleb Roenigk

The world of travel has evolved throughout the years, and along with it, it's vocabulary. It seems like travelers come up with new words every few months to describe certain actions or feelings that are unique to the act of traveling.

Here are 15 travel terms you might not know, but that you might find useful or simply fun to use on your next trip. Some of them are relatively new, while others are more obscure words not commonly used or that were unofficially adapted from other languages.

bird of passage (noun): Someone who keeps moving from one place to another.

codeshare (noun): An agreement between two or more airlines to share the same flight, though with different flight numbers. A ticket may be purchased with one airline, but the plane may be from a different airline.

depaysement (noun): The feeling that comes from not being in one's home country, or after a change of scene. This is a French word with no comparable English counterpart.

derive (noun): An unplanned journey through a landscape, usually urban, on which the subtle aesthetic contours of the surrounding architecture and geography subconsciously direct the traveler, with the ultimate goal of encountering an entirely new and authentic experience. This word is often used in psychogeography. This is a French word, which could be directly translated as Drift.

dromomania (noun): An uncontrollable psychological impulse or desire to wander or travel. A traveling fugue.

fernweh (noun): An ache for distant places; the craving for travel.

flashpacker (noun): A traveler who shares some characteristics of backpackers, like long term travel and open-ended itineraries, but who travels with more disposable income to stay in nicer accommodations or get other basic comforts. Often tends to travel with several electronic gadgets and often works on the road.

mattress run (noun, adjective - verb): A trip taken or an accommodation booking with the sole purpose of earning points in a hotel chains frequent stay program (frequent lodger program). This is often done to take advantage of an accommodations promotion to earn something far more valuable in return; be it points, miles or other benefits.

mileage run (noun, adjective - verb): Unofficial term adopted by many veteran frequent fliers that distinguishes flights flown for the sole purpose of earning the most miles or points in ones frequent flier account.

pampadour (noun): A luxury traveler. He/she travels the world for the indulgence, pampering themselves in every way possible. Generally professionals, singles or couples, who steer clear of places catering to kids, families, adventure, etc. Differs from a vacationer in the sense that luxury probably awaits for the pampadour once they return home.

peripatetic (adjective): Being based in different places for short time periods, or traveling from place to place, especially for work.

resfeber (noun): The restless race of the travelers heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together, a travel fever that can manifest as an illness.

snowbird (noun): Someone who moves to a warmer area every winter.

travel hacking (noun): The use of airline mileage and hotel points, among other loyalty programs, in a manner that gives the traveler the best value per miles/points used. Also done to get the best value from flights and hotels by paying a fraction of the price.

yoko meshi (noun): The peculiar stress of speaking a foreign language. This is a Japanese word with no comparable English counterpart.

Do you know of any other unusual travel terms?

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.

About the Author

Norbert Figueroa

Norbert Figueroa, a RoamRight Blog Author Norbert Figueroa is an architect who hit the pause button on his career in 2011 to do a round the world trip. He's been blogging for over three years at, where he shares his travel experiences, budget travel tips, and a good dose of world architecture. From hiking Mount Kilimanjaro to diving with great white sharks, he is always on the search of adrenaline and adventure. Norbert is originally from Puerto Rico and he is currently based in Milan, Italy... when not roaming around the world, that is. He has traveled to more than 80 countries in 5 continents and his goal is to travel to all 193 U.N. recognized countries. Follow Norbert on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.

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