The Worst New Hybrid Words In The Travel Lexicon

This is the age of hybrids. We drive hybrid cars, we consume hybrid vegetables and our favorite love-to-hate celebrity couples have hybrid names.

The travel industry is rife with hybrid words. In every segment of travel, from backpacking to luxury travel, there lurks a new word ready to please with its practicality (voluntourism) or annoy with its clever mash-up of disparate terms (glamping).

We here at Gadling are always on the look out for new travel trends. But just because we report on trends like glamping and flashpacking doesn’t mean that we like the way these words sound when they roll off our tongues (not to mention the way they activate the red squiggly lines on our spell-checkers). Following is a list of the Gadling crew’s least favorite hybrid travel terms along with definitions:

[Photo: Flickr/Horia Varlan]babymoon, minimoon
Some travelers have adopted the “moon” suffix to describe vacations taken to celebrate a huge life event. A babymoon is the vacation that parents-to-be take before their first child is born. Meanwhile, a minimoon is a shortened honeymoon – sometimes only a weekend. A babymoon is sweet; a minimoon is just sad.

brocation, mancation
Men going on a trip together to do manly stuff like eat steak, drink whisky and smoke cigars? I thought that was called a bachelor party. Apparently these days it is called a mancation – or, brocation if you’re a total (pardon my French) douchebag.

fakecation, oblication
These two travel terms have amusing definitions but depressing concepts. A fakecation is when a real vacation is invaded by work, while an oblication is a trip planned around a chore one must do, such as helping a relative move or going to your aunt’s wedding.

Backpackers who travel with flashy digital gear, such as iPads and smartphones, and can afford a slightly higher budget than the $5-a-day travelers of yesteryear are said to be flashpacking. One reason you may not hear this term for much longer is that it describes the reality for a large swath of budget-minded travelers. Here’s hoping “flashpacking” is a flash in the pan and flashpackers can go back to being regular backpackers again.

Travelers who want a just a taste of the outdoors without losing too many comforts are going glamping these days, much to the chagrin of this writer, who strongly dislikes the term and is not sold on the concept of “glamorous camping” yet. Still, Gadling has covered the glamping beat with this Glamping 101 primer should you wish to try it for yourself.

Sending the kids on a trip with their grandparents is a splendid idea. But do we really need to call it gramping? Really?

No list of most hated hybrid travel terms is complete without the much deplorable staycation. Exploring one’s hometown is honorable, fun, educational and budget-friendly, but it is not a vacation. It may end up being a fakecation, though.

Is there a new hybrid travel term that you love to hate that we haven’t covered above? Tell us in the comments!

The ever-evolving language of travel

While it is clear that travel itself has evolved in many ways in the past decade or so, it appears that travel language has, too. It is something that seems to happen overnight, without anyone really noticing that new vocabulary words are being invented but using them anyway. Check out this list of some relatively new lingo that has stuck in the language of travel.

Couch Surfing

While at one time we would have just said that we were “staying with friends”, there is now a global resource for travelers that has really made an impact on the niche. Couch Surfing allows backpackers and budget travelers to stay with local people in the regions they are visiting, as well as host travelers who come to visit their native land, for free.


This is a specific type of trip that allows travelers to not only visit another region, but also help out a cause or organization while they are there. Some of my favorite resources for voluntourism include International Volunteer Headquarters and SE7EN.Agritourism

This type of travel involves staying with locals in a rural area. Basically, it is a farm stay or rural retreat.


Related to agritourism is World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOFING). It is a global network that connects travelers with organic farms. The gist of the program is that in exchange for room, board, and the chance to learn about organic farming and local lifestyle, travelers help out with the daily work.

Digital Nomad

This term is used to refer to someone who is location independent and can work from anywhere in the world using technology such as smartphones, laptops, iPads, WiFi and other gadgets. Actually, an entire separate article could be written on the new technological terms for travelers that have come about in the past decade or so (hmmmm…).


Staying on the topic of technology and travel, this term refers to the more affluent type of backpacker. While most backpackers are thought to be on a tight-budget, flashpackers tend to have a large disposable income and also carry lots of tech gadgets with them, such as laptops and smartphones.


This type of travel became popular during the financial crisis of 2007-2010 and refers to relaxing at home or taking trips to nearby attractions.


This is a type of trip for those who want to experience the great outdoors while not roughing it too much. For example, instead of staying in a basic tent, someone who is glamping will use more high-end camping gear, such as a tent with electricity and an air mattress.

Slow Travel

Slow travel is the idea of traveling more slowly to enjoy each place and experience it in more depth by, for example, spending a week in one city or opting for a vacation rental home.


This term refers to a “men only” vacation (think girl’s weekend or all-girl’s getaway for guys). With the trend catching on, travel packages are now catering to this type of travel. Interested in a mancation of your own? Urban Navigator can help you book packages that include things like golf, camping, and hiking.

South by Southeast: New directions in Southeast Asia

What is it about Southeast Asia that so captivates our attention? For many Westerners, Southeast Asia has attained an identity of exoticism and escape, enchanting travelers as a destination “off the map” of global tourism. It’s a myth readily fed by popular culture. From Graham Greene’s The Quiet American to Alex Garland’s The Beach we’re painted a picture of a magical world, unsullied by the realities of real life – and we’ve taken the bait, hook, line and sinker.

Southeast Asia, we’re told, is where we’ll go to forge new identities. We’ll quit our jobs back home, find a bungalow on the beach in Thailand, and live out our days drinking 25-cent beers, sunning ourselves under a palm tree. Our problems back home? Distant memory. For anyone struggling with the vagaries of career and post-collegiate life, it’s a powerful fantasy, bandied about during late-night drinking sessions or anytime life becomes “too much of a drag.”

But what’s it really like to travel through Southeast Asia, circa 2009? Does our fantasy match the reality? Though plenty is left to explore, the romanticized destination of deserted beaches and bumpy bus rides is experiencing a dramatic shift, further connecting itself to global tourism and the world economy. Luxury boutiques dot the streets of “communist” Vietnam. Thousands of travelers show up for Full Moon Parties on the beaches of Koh Pha Ngan. Even Lonely Planet’s hugely popular Southeast Asia on a Shoestring, the defacto “bible” for independent travelers, is nearly 25 years old and 14 Editions in print. How does the region today look after this huge influx of new money and visitors?

It was these very questions that had me thinking. Was there still adventure to be found in Southeast Asia? And how did it match with the visions of escape and personal reinvention I had in my mind? Encouraged by books like Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding, I left behind my full-time job in New York and created a plan. I would spend the next few months traveling through the region. After a stopover in Seoul, I head to Bangkok and then on to wherever luck will have me. Not only is it a chance to reinvent the direction of my own life, it’s also an opportunity to observe the rapidly changing direction of this fascinating destination.

Over the next few months, I encourage you to join me as I investigate Southeast Asia with a fresh eye. We’ll return to familiar stops on the “Southeast Asia tourist trail” to survey the terrain, and introduce you to places you never knew existed. We’ll also be taking a closer look at the art of long term travel, and some of the rewards and challenges encountered along the way. We hope through our mistakes and successes you’ll have a chance to truly understand what traveling through Southeast Asia is all about. Ready to go? Let’s chart a course, South by Southeast…

You can read future posts from Gadling’s travels “South by Southeast” through Asia: HERE.

Sixteen Tips To Pack Super Light

Welcome back. Last time I talked about how and why to pack light. Today I present to you a list of my best packing tips that I’ve developed while living out of a 28 liter bag for the past seven months going around the globe.

  1. Keep the things you’ll need first or most often near the tops of the bag. If you use the Deuter 28 you have two openings for this.
  2. Leave spare batteries in their chargers.
  3. Use the side water bottle holders to hold more than water bottles. I keep my computer charger bag (which also has a tiny Nokia USB phone charger and tiny universal plug adapter) in one side and my TSA approved bag full of liquids in the other. That way in the airport I can go through the scan quickly and plug in my computer without digging through the bag.
  4. If your bag has two compartments like the Deuter, stuff one of them as full as possible with stuff you don’t use often and leave the other one partially empty to make it easy to find stuff and to fit stuff you get along the way.
  5. Get a Kiva collapsible backpack and clip it to the front of your bag. It’s perfect for carrying around a camera or jacket.
  6. Use every last bit of space. Put everything you want to pack on your bed, and pack big things first. Then look for an appropriately sized little thing to jam into every nook and cranny created by the big thing.
  7. Take a look at your 3-4 biggest space eaters and see if there’s a significantly smaller version that will get the job done. Jackets and sleeping bags are easy candidates (modern good sleeping bags can fit in your water bottle holder if a silk liner isn’t going to be thorough enough for you).
  8. Don’t bring a pillow. Inflate an Aloksak partially and put it inside your fleece instead.
  9. Wear your bulkiest stuff on travel days.
  10. If you have a lot of room left over in your bag, get a smaller bag! Don’t fill yours up just to use it.
  11. Don’t bring a sleeping pad. A Luxury Lite cot is smaller, much more comfortable, and more versatile.
  12. Fold jackets to the width of your bag and then roll them as tightly as possible.
  13. Never bring cotton clothes. They aren’t warm, they dry slowly, they get dirty quickly, and they absorb odor. Wool is the exact opposite, but is still cool enough to run or workout in.
  14. Bring as few clothes as possible. No one will notice or care that you wear the same shirts every few days. That’s not what traveling is about.
  15. If you’re going to poor countries, bring balloons as souveniers to give away to kids. They’re tiny and kids love them.
  16. Don’t lose stuff like I do. Double check for all your stuff before you go.

As a bonus, here’s a video of me packing my bag:

How to Pack Super Light and Have Everything You Need (Part 1)

I draw suspicion when I pass through customs sometimes.

“Where are your bags?”

“I don’t have any.”

“How long are you staying here?”

“Two months.”

My friend Todd and I travel with just two tiny carry-on backpacks. Twenty eight liters. Not only is that all you need, it’s all you should ever want. I’m going to explain how to pack everything you could possibly need and still have room for souveniers.

In fact, I carry a laptop, a professional camera, a bed, full rain gear and exercise equipment with me. If you don’t need that stuff, you could easily pack even lighter.Why Travel Light?

Have you ever taken a vacation in your own city? You take your significant other and you go stay in a hotel downtown. Somehow, even though you do the same exact stuff you would have done at your house, it’s a lot more fun. It’s relaxing.

Why is that?

I have a theory. I think that possessions bring along worry and stress with them. You have to worry where to keep them, whether they’re clean or not, whether they work or not, whether they have batteries, and where they all are. Have a bunch of stuff? This mental baggage adds up.

Then you go to a hotel that has nothing but a bed and a coffee maker in it and you feel free. None of your stuff is there to bog you down.

The same goes for traveling, except that you also have to carry it all with you. I see these backpackers with 70L bags PLUS another backpack on their chests and I just wonder what in the world they could possibly have in there.

Maybe someday someone will show me.

When you travel light your range increases dramatically. Want to leave your hotel and take a walk through the neighborhood before getting a cab to the airport? No problem. Want to take a crazy train trip through Southeast Asia? Me too, but not with a suitcase or bodybag sized pack.

The nice thing about packing in one small bag is that it makes packing on side trips easy. Take out the stuff you DEFINITELY don’t need, and keep everything else. You don’t have to pick and choose what you transfer from your big bag to your small bag.


Don’t do that bundle method. I understand the benefits, but for me a least, it’s just not the best option in real life. If you get the right clothes, like these Icebreaker shirts, your clothes won’t get wrinkled.

The best way to pack clothes is to stack them all up, put them in an Aloksak, and zip it up 90% of the way. Then fold the bag in half and zip it shut after squeezing all the air out. This gets your clothes down to their absolute smallest size, is pretty good with wrinkles and makes them totally waterproof. Your bag can fall overboard and you’ll still have dry clothes.

This also makes it so that you can remove your clothes chunk and get to the stuff underneath without messing things up.

If you buy the right clothes you should easily be able to fit everything into one bag.

Bring one pair of convertible pants. It’s all you need unless you’re on business. I only own one pair of pants now and have worn them every single day for over 200 days in a row. I also have a pair of running shorts which I wear when I wash my pants.

Bring one pair of shoes. If you’re going to beachy areas you can buy a pair of flip flops when you get there for a dollar or two and not have to pack them and get sand all over your bag.

Two pair of underwear is all you need. Girls can take more since their underwear takes up less space. Go for the Ex-Officio brand and wash one pair in the shower every time you take one.

Try to choose a pair of shoes that you don’t need socks for. I’ll show you a pair in a few weeks that you can run and hike in without socks. If you have a favorite pair of shoes that does require socks, pack four pair of the thinnest wool socks you can get by with.


The best protection in terms of benefit to weight is getting a technical shell, rain pants, and a fleece. The fleece will be one of your biggest space hogs but I haven’t found a way around it yet. A good Paclite shell and Paclite pair of rain pants will take up almost negligible space.

As a bonus, you can just wear the shell when it’s slightly cold and windy, but not cold enough to warrant the fleece. You’ll also be covered if there is a rain shower.

A hat is a good idea too. Get a wool one. I use mine to sleep on trains and planes by pulling it down over my eyes. This blocks out the sun and keeps me a few degrees warmer, which you need when you sleep.


I travel with a lot of electronics. A laptop, digital rangefinder camera, backup hard drive, and phone. They key with electronics is to minimize the amount of cables you bring.

Your camera charger and laptop will probably use the same wall to brick cable (that figure eight connector thing). Take only one and throw the other away.

Get as many USB chargers as you can. The ZEN media player comes with the best one imaginable which is a standard and is only a few inches long. I also use mine to connect my phone to my laptop and to connect my hard drive.

You can either charge straight from your laptop, or you can get a compact plug in thing that lets you charge USB right off the wall.

If any of your cables are longer than a few inches, try to get a retractable version.

Try to get rid of anything other than your laptop that has a wall wart.

Put all of your cables in as small a bag as possible (I used the one that my underwear came in) to keep them consolidated and tangle free.

Stay tuned for next week to see a video of me packing everything in a tiny bag and for a collection of my best packing tips.