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Travel Writing Neologisms - WTF?

Photo + Video + Film
by Eileen Smith Sep 3, 2009
Travel ‘neologism’ is the tendency to take two perfectly good words, truncate one or both of them, then squeeze them together into one word where two would work perfectly. Here’s a list of ten of these neologisms we’d just as soon never see again.



A momcation is when the mamas leave the papas and the babies at home and go out into the world, unafraid and unfettered by their loved ones. The word peppers women’s magazines and online forums. It’s overused, and annoying.


This, we assume is the response to the momcation, when men pack up to engage in testosterone-laden activities like log hurling and volcano racing. It sounds a little like you’re making fun of yourself before you even leave.


Here we have a word based in the idea that you go nowhere, and yet somehow are still vacationing. We get it. You didn’t go anywhere except out to the back porch. But does it really need its own word?


You’re queer and you’re not here. Go on any kind of trip you like, whether it’s sailing the open ocean or delving into a new life philosophy. But gaycation?



Here’s the chance to make something that’s essentially not glamorous into something that’s… still not glamorous. Glamor and suitcases do not go together, no matter how well you roll your silk shirt.


This sounds you and the laundrette got into a fight and she kept your pants. If you go for the wheelie-suitcase and hotels over backpacks and hostels, you can be a traveler, but please do not give this mongrel word more leverage than it’s already gained.

Other ugly hybrids


If you combine your actual “I do”s with a trip, please call it a combination wedding/honeymoon. Once together, these words have no magnetic pull, no romantic suggestion. It sounds like a condition from which you suffer, like a very special sort of hangover.


A transumer travels to purchase, and lives to do both. Clunkier than a pair of wooden clogs bought from the source, and uglier than clothes tried on in the back of a van in Milan, this word sounds like if you’re not careful, you might change forms right before our eyes. Please delete.


This ‘not-me’ word tells you that the tourist you see is (psst!) actually a moron. It’s a way to point your finger at “the other guy” while you sound ‘cool’ for using the word. It’s rude, and reminds us of learning the declensions in Ancient Greek, so it gets extra demerits.


Jetiquette refers to Emily Post’s unwritten rules for being an airline passenger. Jetiquette is also the evil stepsister of netiquette and all the other –iquettes. We wish they would all get on a boat together and go on a new wordcation with little or no navigational equipment.

And a bonus: If you travel for work and tack on an extra day to jog past landmarks or tick off modern architectural marvels, you’re not just ‘sightjogging,’ nor a mere ‘architourist,’ you’re also engaging in what some people like to call ‘weisure.’ It’s a mix of work and leisure. But not on our watch.

Community Connection

Please check out more words and phrases we never want to hear again.

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