The ever-evolving language of travel

new travel terms and wordsWhile 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.

Voluntourism

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.

WWOOFING

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…).

Flashpacker

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.

Staycation

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.

Glamping

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.

Mancation

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.

Glamping 101: What is “glamorous camping,” exactly?


glamping - photo courtesy of Paws Up

For some, travel is about the adventure – the thrill of seeing new places, the draw of different foods, cultures and activities. Accommodations are simply a place to sleep – budgets are best spent on experiences. I am not one of those travelers.

While all travel experiences have a purpose – business, pleasure, relaxation, a show or specific attraction – all travel, at least for this writer, has the draw of a new home away from home.

Not every hotel or lodging experience can be, or should be expected to be, five-star. But if you’re going to get this writer out into the wilderness, there had better at least be hot water and a functional bathroom.

This explains how I first heard about the term “glamping,” or “glamorous camping.” It turns out, there was such a thing, and it didn’t involve an RV or high heels, Paris Hilton in The Simple Life-style.

Simply put, glamping is a term coined that encompasses outdoor wilderness experiences that are somewhere between a hotel and a traditional campsite. Sure, you’ll sleep in tents, tipis or yurts, but they often have real beds with plush mattresses and en-suite running water.

Although glamping has been derided by hardcore campers and snubbed by some luxury travelers who say they’d “never camp,” the idea has been embraced by many who see the eco-friendly benefits of camping and the budgetary advantages to mixing a traditionally free activity with a more luxe vacation.

Glamping can take place anywhere in the world – usually the more picturesque, the better. Campsites and lodges have opened around the world, usually in locations that have natural attractions to recommend them, including Africa, Australia, and my own recent experience, on the edge of Montana’s Blackfoot River in the newly-opened Pinnacle Camp at Paws Up Resort (shown above).
%Gallery-129797%Here, tents came complete with heated slate floors, towel and sheet warmers, Wi-Fi and a camping butler who served dishes like seared sirloin in Romanesco sauce and huckleberry French Toast. The only cooking I was doing involved roasting some s’mores over a fire (built by our handy butler) … but getting closer to the wilds of nature might not have been possible.

Just feet outside the tent, birds chattered, gophers and marmots frolicked, and fawns sprang around the pasture like overeager rabbits. An eagle soared overhead, trout jumped in the river below, and the air took on a crisp, still quality sweetened with meadow grasses and the fresh, clean smell of unpolluted air.

It may be luxe but it was still nature in its purest, finest form, respected by guests who spent evenings bonding around a campfire, swapping stories while their children ran and played below.

What does one do while glamping? The same thing they’d do while camping or at summer camp. In Africa, the activity of choice is often a safari, but at Paws Up, guests can choose from activities like cattle drives, clay shooting, nature hikes and fly fishing. The emphasis is on family togetherness (most all activities can be done by children 12 and over, and nearly all guests were families) and on learning experiences that take place in the outdoors. Guides for all activities focused equally on fun and education.

Despite the glamorous title, I still felt like I was camping … albeit a lot more comfortably. There wasn’t anything cheap about it – rates for camps start at $820 per night in peak season at Paws Up – but that rate did include airport transfers and three gourmet, multi-course meals for two adults daily.

Stay tuned … I’ll be bringing dispatches in the coming days about cattle driving, the best places for you to get your “glamp” on and more.

The author’s stay was provided courtesy of Paws Up Resort, but her opinions are solely her own.

Paws Up Resort Deal: Celebrate Glamping

The Resort at Paws Up has reason to celebrate. It’s celebrating its fifth birthday and the opening of its third luxury tented camp, and these milestones, of course, come with a reason for you to head out to Montana to check the place out for yourself. There’s a five-night, all-inclusive package for $2,413 a night that can’t be missed.

In addition to staying in a two-bedroom tent at the new Creekside Camp (for a family of four), you’ll have your choice of five wilderness activities, with a half-day activity per person per day for four days. The hot air balloon ride will take you high enough to see the entire 37,000 acre resort, and back on the ground, you’ll get to take one sporting clays lesson at the five-stand Shooting Club at Paws Up.

Logistically, there’s no reason to sweat: airport transportation and airport transfers are included. And, for $3,100 a night, you can upgrade to a 1,900-square foot Big Timber Home. This deal is available from July 1, 2010 through September 30, 2010.

Sanctuary Swala reopens in Tanzania

The Sanctuary Swala Camp has just reopened in Tanzania, and the luxury destination is ready for guests. The $1.5 million rebuild has updated the retreat’s 12 canvas pavilions with covered open spaces, large living areas and en suite bathrooms. The indoor and outdoor showers sound particularly enticing to me. But, the best part is probably the view from the large private lounge decks, where you can check out a watering hole that features lions, leopards and bull elephants. If you’re a junkie for exotic nature, this should become the next destination on your itinerary.

Sanctuary Swala is located in a secluded corner of Tarangire National Park, which despite the attractions, is among the least visited in Africa. The high concentrations of unusual animals is certainly a draw, but this is also a great place to hide from the world for a while, and it’ll make for great water-cooler conversations upon your return.

To celebrate the reopening, Sanctuary Swala has a couple of deals – hey, if you’re going to go to Tanzania, it should be made as easy as possible. Book two nights, and the third is free, as long as you travel by November 30, 2009. If you can’t make that timeframe, the camp is holding its 2009 rates through 2010, with Game Package Rates starting at $440 per person per night (all inclusive).

Put your “Paws Up” and relax in Montana

The Resort at Paws Up is among the most unique in the country, occupying 60 square miles along the Blackfoot River in Montana. The property boasts 10 villas of more than 3,000 square feet, not to mention smaller houses and canvas suites (i.e., luxury tents). This unusual destination, which offers a variety of outdoor experiences, is offering a few deals to the fall … as if you needed even more reasons to go.

Book a three-night stay by August 31, 2009, and you will receive three meals a day for two people and a $250 credit per room-night toward your choice of wilderness adventure (does not include spa services and some fishing programs). ATV touring, fly fishing, horseback riding and clay shooting are among the activities in which you can participate while enjoying Paws Up, and a stop at the spa, even though it’s not included in the package, isn’t a bad idea.

If you need to put the stress of the city behind you for a bit, Paws Up is the place to do it.