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.

flashpacking
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.

glamping
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.

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

staycation
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!

Give Back While Traveling With These Voluntourism Hotel Packages And Programs

limelight hotel Just because Earth Day has passed doesn’t mean we should stop doing our part. In the spirit of goodwill, these hotels are offering voluntourism packages and programs for guests.

Limelight Hotel
Aspen, Colorado

Throughout the summer, the Limelight Hotel is helping guests get their hands dirty and help the environment. In partnership with the Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, guests will be able to do trail work in the beautiful White River National Forest, which spans millions of acres. Volunteer tasks include trail maintenance, trail construction, invasive species removal and more. Hotel guests who participate will receive transportation, a packed lunch and beverages and a complimentary beer in the hotel lounge when they return.

Eight hour day volunteer projects are available, as well as sunset volunteer times from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Rates start at $150 per night during the summer. Call 970-544-6259 or click here to book. Westin St. John Westin St. John Resort and Villas
St. John, U.S.Virgin Islands

The Westin St. John Resort and Villas, a luxurious tropical resort, is offering incentives to guests who volunteer at the nearby Virgin Islands National Park. Volunteers will get a $100 resort credit, as well as transfers to and from the park. Project tasks include maintaining park trails and ruins and cleaning up beaches and coastlines. To sign up, you can click here or show up on Tuesday or Thursday at 8:00 am. Simply present your volunteer voucher at the front desk of the hotel to receive the credit.

Offer available through December 31, 2012. Rates start at $399 per night based, on double occupancy. Call 888-627-7206 or click here to book.

hyatt regency Hyatt Regency Waikki Beach Resort and Spa
Honolulu, Hawaii

The Hyatt Regency Waikki Beach Resort and Spa believes everyone should do their part. To help motivate guests to volunteer, the property is offering a Lokahi Package, or Lokahi Group Meetings, which rewards meeting planners, attendees and the community. The incentive, which also encourages groups to spend time volunteering with local organizations to help team building, raised almost $30,000 in 2009 and 2010 for the Waikiki Community Center. Perks for the meeting planner include double Hyatt Gold Passport bonus points and a complimentary Pohaku Lomi Massage. Attendees will receive free in-room Wi-Fi, 15% off spa treatments, a complimentary lei greeting and a special room rate for five days before and after the meeting. Additionally, community benefits include 5% of profits going to a local nonprofit of the meeting group’s choice and help from volunteers.

Offer valid until December 24, 2012. Packages start at $149 per night. Call 808-237-6200 or click here to book. Use promo code LOKAHI when booking.

ymca rockies YMCA of the Rockies
Estes Park, Colorado

If you’re planning on staying in the Rockies for at least six weeks, YMCA Estes Park Center and YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch offer free room and board for volunteers. Volunteers stay in a range of accommodation types, like cabins, hotel-style lodges and even yurts. There are myriad jobs to choose from, like instructing crafts, leading hikes and maintaining trails. While returning volunteers can stay for short periods of time, new volunteers must commit six weeks from September to mid-May, and 11 weeks from May to August.

Click here to learn more.

loews hotels Loews Coronado Bay Resort
San Diego, California

Through a partnership with the California State Parks and California State Parks Foundation, Loews Coronado Bay Resort is able to offer guests a volunteer vacation at Silver Strand State Beach. Participants will get a tour of the beaches rare coastal habitat and the chance to take part in a restoration project or beach clean-up. The property also includes a 1% donation fee to the project in their room rate, which has helped raise over $300,000 since 2008.

There is no charge to take part in the volunteer vacation, which is offered on Saturdays and Sundays, from 9:30 am to 11:30 am. Room rates begin at $159 per night. Call 800-235-6397 or click here to book.

mandarin oriental Mandarin Oriental
Miami, Florida

To help guests have a worthwhile vacation, Mandarin Oriental is offering a community service package that includes a trip to the Everglades, morning volunteer work with park rangers and a tour of the park. Volunteer tasks range from mulching trees, weeding invasive plants and working on recycling projects. Moreover, guests will receive perks like a free hybrid car rental for the day and a 90-minute Thai Herbal Compress Ritual in the spa. For each treatment received, a native tree gets donated to the Everglades.

Package is $2,200 based on three nights, with double occupancy. Call 866-888-6780 or click here to book.

iguanaThe Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands

While the entire Ritz-Carlton Hotel brand participates in a Give Back Getaway program, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman adds a special angle to theirs. The property’s Blue Iguana Recovery Program Giveback Getaway allows guests to join employees in half-day voluntourism projects. Volunteers will work with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment to help save the indigenous and endangered Grand Cayman Blue Iguana. Tasks include feeding the animals, assisting with the shelter and using GPS to help track the iguanas.

Zarco, the iguana pictured above, also has an inspirational success story. He was the first male Blue Iguana adopted by the hotel, through their relationship with the Blue Iguana Recovery Program. As an alpha male in the park, he bred with many females, and was successfully released back into his native habitat last year.

The project is available from November through August, for groups as small as two and as large as 15. A fee of $100 per adult, and $50 per child aged 12-15 covers transportation to Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, and a donation to the Blue Iguana Recovery Program. Room rates start at $383.20 per night. Click here to book.

volunteerSandals Resorts
Caribbean

To help improve literacy in local children, Sandals Resorts is featuring a Reading Road Trip program. Guests of any Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts or Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts can take part. The program lasts for two hours, and takes volunteers in local Caribbean communities to visit adopted schools in Saint Lucia, Antigua, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos or Jamaica to work with small groups of children on their reading skills.

The cost to participate is $20 for adults, and free for children 8 to 12. This includes round-trip transportation and all supplies. Click here for more information, and click here to book.

Rescuing wildlife in Namibia

Namibia
While 2011 has been a bad year for African wildlife, a foundation in Namibia is making a difference.

The N/a’an ku sê Foundation, which runs a wildlife sanctuary in Namibia, announced its best year to date, the Namibian reports. Last year the Foundation rescued, rehabilitated and re-released several animals, including five cheetahs, two leopards, one brown hyena, two caracals and one serval. It also rescued and cared for numerous other animals.

The Foundation was started by Namibian conservationists in 2006. Located near the capital Windhoek, the wildlife reserve relies on donations to survive and is open to volunteers, in case you want to have an adventure vacation that makes a difference. A wildlife sanctuary cares for injured or orphaned animals that can’t be released back into the wild. For some luxury travel, you can also stay at their lodge.

The main goal of the foundation is to find the best way for wildlife and humans to share the same land. Africa’s population is steadily growing, putting ever more pressure on wildlife. Yet wildlife is an economic boon to Africa, bringing in hard currency from tourism. The Foundation also provides primary education and healthcare to the San Bushmen and employs several to work with guests and the animals.

Photo courtesy Claire Wormley.

LivingSocial offers first volunteer vacation to New Orleans

Volunteer Vacation in New Orleans LivingSocial, the site that brings you discount deals on everything from microdermabrasions to movie tickets, has been offering travel deals as part of its LivingSocial Escapes branch since Fall 2010. Today, the company announced its first volunteer vacation opportunity – a curated trip to help Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans.

For $265, travelers who want to do a little good while they visit the Big Easy will get a two-night stay for two in the French Quarter; one full day of volunteering on-site with Habitat for Humanity; transportation to the work site; and some meals. Reservations are available Monday through Friday (sorry, no weekend getaway!) and there are blackout dates every month through the deal’s expiration on December 31, so check the fine print before booking. The Big Easy Volunteer Vacation must be purchased before August 30, 2011.

The timing for the LivingSocial Escapes deal is impeccable: this week marks the sixth anniversary since Hurricane Katrina made landfall, devastating the city of New Orleans as well as wide swathes of coastline from Louisiana to Florida. While New Orleans has seen quite a rebirth since Katrina, as witnessed by Gadling’s Paul Brady this summer on his Traveling the American Road trip, the need for volunteers in the recovery effort remains. This volunteer weekend jaunt may be just the opportunity to give back while experiencing one of America’s great cities.

[Photo credit Madeline Fox on Flickr]

Kickstarter project wants to create a new tourism website for Washington State

Washington State has plenty to offer the tourist, including incredible natural wonders, such as Mount Rainier and Puget Sound, and one of the coolest cities in the country in Seattle. Despite this, Washington is unable to afford a state-funded tourism board. In July, Washington State became the only state in the nation without a statewide tourism office.

While this sad set of circumstances would deter many a Washington tourism booster from taking any action, one Kickstarter user has decided to use the opportunity to create a new website and interactive platform to promote tourism in Washington State. Travel writer, media startup pro, voluntourism advocate, and Seattle native Charyn Pfeuffer is hoping to launch GoWAState.com by spring 2012 with the funds she raises on Kickstarter. Pfeuffer’s funding request is for $50,000, all of which she must raise prior to the project’s October 8 deadline.

If funded, GoWAState.com would offer typical tourism website fare, such as city and regional profiles, a travel planning section, maps, and a blog. It would also incorporate social media, community boards, subscription web deals, and professional photography. GoWAState.com is not intended to replace the Washington State tourism office, Pfeuffer claims in her project description. Rather, Pfeuffer wants to “share [Washington State’s] diversity with visitors and local weekend warriors via an engaging new resource.”

Take a look at the GoWAState.com project’s introductory video below. Do you think it has what it takes to meet its goal?




[Photo credit: Flickr user nonsequiturlass]