Clever Travel Terms You Won’t Find In Any Dictionary

Whether it’s funny, bizarre, rude, confusing or downright inexplicable – there are some travel experiences that just leave you speechless.

If you’ve ever been at a loss for words to describe what you’ve seen or felt while on the road, you’re not alone. That’s why Lonely Planet has come up with its own mini dictionary of travel terms that don’t exist but should. Here are a few of our favorites:

The warm, fuzzy feeling one gets after a long, immensely satisfying trip.

below see level
When you’re seated directly below the drop-down movie screen on an airplane and the other screens are all too far away to view comfortably.

Someone who believes they have a revolutionary system for packing luggage and insists on explaining it to anyone who will listen.

Someone who tries to make themselves understood in a foreign country simply by speaking louder in their own tongue.fearenheit
Panic felt by Americans when attempting to comprehend temperatures in other countries.

overhead din
The disturbance caused by people trying to shove too-large bags into too-small compartments.

Of course, the Gadling team couldn’t resist adding a few terms of our own:

Pam Mandel: manventure/ mancation
A men’s-only getaway filled with manly activities like fly-fishing, hunting and motorcycle riding.

Grant Martin: gate lice
Passengers who hover near the airport gate prior to their boarding zone being called.

Travelers who spend more time talking about travel online rather than on the road.

Robin Whitney: pavlov’s attack dogs
Travelers who hear the ding chime of the post-landing “unfasten seat belt” light and instantly spring into action to aggressively crowd the aisle – even if there is no where to go for 15 minutes.

Chris Owen: tourons
Tourists that are not too smart

Reena Ganga: exstress baggage
The frantic rush to remove stuff from your bags at the check-in counter after being told your suitcase exceeds the weight limit.

scareport scanners
Fear of going through airport security scanners due to radiation concerns and privacy issues.

To read the rest of the Lonely Planet list, click here. And tell us, do you have any travel terms to add to the collection?

[Photo credit: Flickr user greeblie]

Canada gets its very own dictionary

Canadians have long been quick to declare the differences with their American neighbors to the south. Whether displayed through a particularly fervent love for hockey or by virtue of the country’s publicly-funded healthcare system, there’s numerous if sometimes subtle differences. We can now add one more reason to the list – Canada has its own version of English.

OK, yes…I can hear you saying that “eh” doesn’t quite count as a word. But it turns out Canadian English is much more than that – enough that Canada has its very own dictionary made by publisher Harper Collins. The most recent version of the Canadian Dictionary, released in April 2010, provides an interesting run down of some distinctly Canadian words and phrases.

A few examples can be found here (PDF download). Ever heard of a toque? For those not up on their Canadian lingo, it’s a close-fitting knitted hat often with a tassel or pompom. Or what about a wanigan? As any Canadian worth their salt will tell you, it’s a watertight box or chest used by canoeists or lumberjacks to hold provisions. In honor of the dictionary’s release, Harper Collins is holding a short-story contest. All entries must contain ten Canadian words found on the PDF list mentioned above.

If you’re heading to Canada any time soon, make sure you grab yourself a copy to start practicing your Canadian. As respectful travelers, of course, it’s important we all speak some of the local lingo.

[Via Metafilter]

Five types of words and phrases to learn in a foreign language

When traveling to many foreign countries, especially if you’ll be sticking to major cities, there’s no need to be completely fluent in the local language. But knowing a few key words and phrases can make your experience not only easier, but richer as well. While many people in the tourist industry speak English, they’ll still greatly appreciate your efforts in speaking their native tongue. Phrases like hello and goodbye are no-brainers, but a few other, less obvious phrases will be invaluable as well.

The Bare Minimum

Please/Thank you

There’s no excuse for not learning at least these words and phrases. Being able to say hello, goodbye, please, thank you, yes and no won’t get you far in a conversation, but the people you speak with may appreciate your minimal effort.

The Basics

Numbers 1-10 and the general rules for converting to tens, twenties, hundreds, thousands, and so on
Where is?
How much?
What time is it?
I would like. . .
The bill please.
Hotel, restaurant, train station, taxi, toilet, airport, bus
Police, hospital, help
In crowded bars and on the street, knowing your numbers, and being able to ask how much something is, what time it is, for a certain number of something, where something is (and the words for the things you might inquire the location of), or for the bill, will get you what you need with little fuss. You won’t be able to hold a conversation, but you’ll be able to get directions and order food or drinks easily. In many countries, restaurant servers won’t bring your bill until you ask so knowing how to do so will save you time waiting around for the check.
It’s also wise to know a few words for emergencies. You hope you won’t need to know how to ask for help or call for the police, but if you do, you’ll be glad to be able to communicate when it’s most important for your safety and well-being.

Food Phrases
Meat, cheese, bread

You can always sound out the pronunciation of your desired item from the menu, or just point to it at the bar, but you may not end up with what you want. Memorizing the translations for a few basic foods will help point you in the right culinary direction. The words and phrases you’ll use most often may change from country to country but it’s always wise to learn the words for water, beer, wine, coffee, bread, cheese, meat, and plate.

If you have any food allergies, you should also learn how to say “I cannot have. . .” in that language. Many people prefer to just write the phrase down and hand it to the server each time they order a meal.

Avoiding Embarrassment
I’m sorry, I don’t speak. . .
Do you speak English?
Every traveler tries not to stand out as a tourist. But sometimes the strategy of looking like a local can backfire – like when someone approaches you in Barcelona and starts speaking rapid-fire Spanish and all you can do is stare blankly back at him. Instead of staying mute or responding in English, this is the time to pull out the phrase “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish” of whatever the local language is. Likewise, before launching into an English interrogation, you can politely inquire of another “Do you speak English?” in his or her native tongue.

Conversation Starters
What is your name? /My name is. . .
Where are you from? /I am from. . .
This is my husband/wife/child.
You’ll never be able to have an in-depth discussion with a person who doesn’t speak your language. But you can at least engage them with a few rudimentary phrases. Being able to ask people their names and then giving yours, sharing where you are from, or being able to inquire about family, can help them see you as a person like them, rather than a foreigner.
Though many of us would like to speak the local language anywhere we go, it’s often not a realistic option. Knowing these keys words and phrases won’t make you fluent, but they will help you get more out of your journey. If you can’t memorize them all, just make yourself a handy “cheat sheet” that you can pull out when needed.