“No, I’m not a tourist, I’m a traveller.”
We’ve all covered this debate before. Many times. So much so that people could be moving on and looking for the next trump card…
How long before people start calling themselves ‘un-travellers’?
An unhotel, in One Fine Stay’s case, is a private apartment with hotel facilities. Nice idea. And an untour? The idea is to be more flexible than a normal tour and cater to small groups. But with a max of 12 people, it’s still a tour, really, isn’t it?
Anyway, no point splitting hairs. I actually like both ideas a lot and there’s clearly a market for them.
Although if I meet someone in a hostel who says “I am an untraveller”, I may not be responsible for my actions.
But what of the catchy, new travel words? At one point do we stop resisting and make them a part of our vocab?
The timelines goes a little something like this…
Phase 1: the early days
Sample words: untour, unhotel
The reaction to usage: furrowed brows and confusion
When is a tour not a tour? If you’re going to use these, you are going to need to provide an explanation or you’ll be met with blank stares. What exactly is the opposite of a hotel or a tour?
Phase 2: industry terms that are breaking through
Sample words: flashpacking, glamping
The reaction to usage: wry acknowledgment
These words have now been adopted fairly widely, especially among frequent travellers. Travel writers can use them with no need for explanation. They’ve reached a point where you can read them without cringing but you still feel obliged to adopt a sort of wry, don’t-shoot-the-messenger smile when using it.
Phase 3: when things go too far
Sample word: staycation
The reaction on usage: an eye-roll
Staycation first started appearing in the papers in 2008; by 2009 it was everywhere, propelled by the economic downturn. Everyone knows what it means now and it’s a press-release staple, yet most people never let it pass their lips unless accompanied by an ‘oh-the-media-is-so-annoying’ eye roll.
Phase 4: the success stories
Sample word: backpacker
The reaction on usage: zero
Complete accepti0n comes to few neologisms and it doesn’t come fast. It only took 100 years, but who now bats an eyelid at the word ‘backpacker’? It was said to have been coined in the US in 1910.
Travel language is constantly evolving to match trends and changes in needs. It’s a good thing. Especially at the industry becomes more complex, serving more different needs than ever.
Personally, I’d love to see some decent alternatives to the catch-all ’boutique hotel’, but at the same time I dread to think what these will be.
Any good spots you’d like to share? Babymoon? Gaycation? Do they bother you? And travel writers, come clean if you have you ever invented one.
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons GarryKnight