News The Skyscanner travel glossary

All articles

The Skyscanner travel glossary

Do you know your praycation from your bakecation from your laycation? A drug tourist from a death tourist?

As more and more niche areas of travel emerge, Skyscanner is proud to present a definitive collection of travel terms (some new, some not so new) that now sit inside the tourist industry’s lexicon – as well as a few Skyscanner neogolisms!

Austerication (aka Savecation)

The practice of downgrading a holiday to make it more affordable, based on the conjunction of the words: ‘austere’ + ‘vacation’. Examples include swapping the Balearics for Bournemouth, or New York for Newport. Coined by Skyscanner during 2011 which was a year of austere measures due to the ongoing economic stagnation in the UK and abroad.


Holiday or trip where traveller seeks out ‘adrenaline’ activities. These can vary from things such as bungee jumps and sky diving and zip lining, but can also cover other adventurous activities such as skiing, mountain biking and quad biking.

Bungee jumping. Do you dare?


A foodie holiday, dedicated to the pursuit of unearthing the most mouth-watering morsels of bakery. Not just restricted to sponge, all forms of baked goods and patisserie are included, from bread to croissants to the most elaborate of cakes. For example, the Black Forest region in Germany attracts many visitors for its gateaux and Budapest is known for its ‘Dobos Torte’ the most famous cake in Hungary.

Bankruptcy tourism (aka Skintourism)

Following the taming of the ‘Celtic Tiger’, some super skint Irish nationals began moving to Britain for a short period in order to claim bankruptcy due to more lenient bankruptcy laws in the UK. The term was identified by The Guardian in February 2011.

Comedication (aka Hysterication)

Travelling in search of laugher or an amusing experience. Comedicationists can often be found at large comedy festivals in Melbourne, Montreal or Edinburgh (pictured below) in April, July and August respectively.

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh


A one day holiday or day trip. For those short on time, money or the inclination to take a longer vacation. Daycationers may catch the red eye flight ensuring they have time to visit the main tourist attractions but avoid having to pay for accommodation. Cities with airports close to the city centre make particularly good daycation destinations, for example Tallinn (airport just 3 miles from city centre), Lisbon (airport 4 miles away) and London (City airport 6 miles away).

Death tourism (aka Dark tourism)

The practice of travelling to visit the graves, homes or other places that played a significant part in the life of a since deceased celebrity. For example, thousands flock to Jim Morrison’s grave, Elvis’ Graceland Mansion and Aberdeen in Washington State, Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain’s home town. Read more: Destination: Death Tourist


In a travel context, Disneyfication is used to describe the transformation of an attraction or location into something with the homogenous qualities of a Walt Disney theme park. The term normally has a negative connotation and implies that the original character of a destination has been replaced by a dumbed down, sometimes corporate entity, which relies heavily on consumption and merchandising, at the expensive of individuality and independence. Examples include Carcassonne Castle in France and Jamaica’s beach resorts.


The practice of bragging about the savings one is making so that an individual appears not to be spending irresponsibly during a time when others are suffering economic hardship. However, downbragging is often just a guise, with downbraggers claiming they are “just going to stay home this year” when they are in fact staying in a boutique country house hotel with daily spa treatments a Michelin-starred restaurant, and personal chauffeur. See also Austerication.

Drug tourism (aka Tripteering, Highliday)

Travelling to a destination specifically to take a drug which may be illegal, unavailable or simply less socially acceptable in the consumers’ home country. The most prominent example of drug tourism is in Amsterdam where thousands of tourists go each year in order to consume cannabis. Americans under the age of 21 may also travel to neighbouring Canada or Mexico where legal drinking ages are lower. Other, more exotic drugs traditionally used by some indigenous populations also attract drug tourists, for example the hallucinogenic San Pedro cactus in Peru.



A branch of the tourist industry that markets itself on ‘green travel’ or holidays with low environmental impact. However, the actual negative impact of some ecotourism holidays is hotly debated as those visiting fragile locations almost certainly contribute to the destruction of these environments, though are likely to contribute economically. Ecotourists also tend to enjoy relatively luxurious accommodation compared to the local population, which can emphasise the divide between tourist and native.

Though the theory of ecotourism is sound, to travel with zero impact is almost impossible in practice. However, choosing certain types of transport, or a hotel that has better ‘green credentials’ over another, can certainly lessen the negative impact caused by tourism. See also: ethical tourism.


Term coined following the birth of ecotourism (see above) which describes those who like the idea of seeing wildlife and meeting local people, but will only stay in nine star hotels with servants and a chauffeur, thus removing them from any meaningful cultural contact with the local population.

Luxury hotel

Ethical tourism

Related to ecotourism, this is the practice to travelling in the most low impact, undamaging way towards the local environment, people and culture as possible. The ethics of travelling to a certain location are also brought into play; for example travel certain destinations where there is some debate over whether tourists should visit at all. See also: ecotourism.


An experimental traveller who is open-minded when it comes to choosing a holiday destination. Decisions on where to go are most likely to be based on price; Skyscanner found that 15 percent of visitors to its site will try the “search everywhere” tool to find the best prices around the globe. See more on Types of Flight booker


The unusual practice of staying at home but pretending to others that you are on holiday. Fakecation pastimes may include turning background music on loudly to pretend you are at a discothèque, or letting the tap run while on the phone to a friend giving the illusion that you are at waterpark. Some fakeationers have been known to go as far as applying a full coat of fake tan and taking photos of themselves in the local sandpit, hoping to be able to fool their friends into believing that the park in their suburb of Birmingham is actually an exotic Caribbean beach resort. See also: downbragging.


The trend of flirting whilst flying as identified in a Skyscanner poll in February 2011. Skyscanner subsequently set up a Flyrting Twitter account for those who had met on planes to get in touch, similar to the “I saw you…” columns that feature in some papers and magazines.

Gap year

An extended period of holiday or travel, approximately 12 months (but sometimes less or often more. Originally the term was used to describe time taken out during the year in between finishing school and starting university, or immediately after university. However, usage has since been used to include any extended break abroad at any period in a person’s life, and there is an increasing trend for gap years later in life. The thirst for gap years has led some companies to offer condensed gap ‘year’ experiences – some as short as two weeks.

Chillout time on the world tour


Holiday undertaken by a member of members of the gay community especially to a place known for being gay friendly, such as Ibiza or Sitges, or to attend a large gay event, for example Pride. Popular Gaycation destinations include Brighton, Berlin and San Francisco.

Generation vacation

Vacation where three generations of a family holiday together. The practice has seen a resurgence in popularity since the economic downturn due to the potential of saving money by holidaying with parents and grandparents. The younger generations tend to be the biggest benefactors of Greycations, as it’s normally ma, pa or the granps who pay. The generation vacation has also been referred to as a Greycation (see below).


At its most basic, a greycation is a holiday for old people; however the term tends to be used for the increasing trend for retried people to spend prolonged periods on holiday, often with others of similar age.

Couple enjoying the view down by the river


A working holiday, typically spent on a farm often working with livestock or crops. Many farms take on volunteers, and lowly-paid workers such as backpackers in Australia often find work picking strawberries or other fruit during the summer. See also: voluntourism.


Travel to any location with the goal of learning about the history or visiting historic sites. The Egyptian pyramids are a classic example of a historication destination, although almost every country has some sites of interest to the historicationer.

Pyramids, Egypt


A holiday involving yoga, meditation, or other such ‘well being’ experiences. Holistic retreats have become especially popular following the book and film ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ in which the lead character travels to retreats in Bali and India (also see: Set Jetters).


Tongue in cheek term used to describe a trip where holidaymakers hope to find opportunities to have sexual relations. The choice of destination is a strong factor in the success of a laycation; Magaluf and Santorini are known hot spots for those seeking ‘sexy time’, whilst the barren island of Svalbard within the arctic circle is likely to disappoint laycationers.

Last chance tourism

The practice of visiting sites which are threatened with disappearance or extinction. For example polar landscapes which are disappearing due to climate change, or the Siberian Tiger which is critically endangered. See also: ecotourism.

List Ticker

Those who travel with the sole purpose of doing things purely to boast about having done them on their return home, regardless of whether they enjoyed the experience or not. List tickers typically claim to have “done” a destination after spending just a few hours in one part of the country. For example, a list ticker will boast to friends back home that they have “totally done Thailand” after spending one night in a backpackers’ bar on Bangkok’s Khao San road.

Khao San Road, Bangkok


Holiday taken in May, normally during one of the two May bank holidays. The Maycation marks the trend for short breaks which can be extended by a bank holiday. In 2011, due to the Royal Wedding of Kate and Will, an extra day of national holiday has been granted to the British residents. Due to the timing of Easter holidays, and counting weekends too, British nationals can get 11 consecutive days of holiday for the price of just three vacation days.

Medication or Medical tourism

Due to significant differences in prices between medical services in difference countries (both for essential operations as well as cosmetic procedures) an industry has grown up around people going abroad for medical care. This can range from dental work, to breast enhancements, to organ transplants in countries where kidneys can be purchased very cheaply from high street supermarkets.

Off the beaten track holiday

A trip taken away from the normal tourist hordes – either to a remote or inaccessible destination, for example the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia (pictured below) or to somewhere just not normally considered a tourist destination by the mainstream; for example Beirut or Albania.

Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia


A holiday or extended period abroad where the traveller works to fund their stay or even save money for future travels. Favourite paycations include: teaching English abroad, crewing a yacht or working in a ski resort. Read more: Go Abroad. Get Paid. 10 Paycations


Travel for religious purposes, for example the annual event of pilgrims travelling to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Read more: five top praycation destinations.

Prison break

A holiday involving a visit to, or even a stay in a converted prison. Warning: strictly for those whose idea of being ‘behind bars’ on holiday means more than just sitting behind one which serves beer. Read more: Top Prison Breaks

Alcatraz Island

Revolutionary tourism (aka Revolutionism)

Related to War tourism, Revolutionary tourism is the practice of visiting countries and sites that have undergone major political revolutions. Whilst places that have played key roles in revolutions have always been points of interest for travellers, tourism officials in Egypt and Tunisia believe that the sites which were integral to the recent revolutions will become significant tourist attractions, according to the French publication L’internaute.

Savecation (aka Austerication)

The practice of trying to save as much money as possible on holiday, by selecting cheaper accommodation, food, or even destination. The term is somewhat vague as most people naturally select the best value holidays anyway.

Set jetting

Tourism that revolves around traveling to movies sets and film locations. Destinations to have benefited substantially from set jetters include New Zealand following the Lord of the Rings trilogy (see Hobbiton, pictured below) and various locations in the UK following the Harry Potter films.

Hobbiton, New Zealand


A holiday taken within one’s own country (or even one’s own home) rather than travelling abroad. Coined during the economic downturn during which there was an increase in domestic tourism.


Travelling to a destination with the specific intention of experiencing something typical (or stereotypical) to that country or region. For example drinking vodka in Ukraine whilst dancing the Cossack, or eating deep-fried Mars Bars whilst wearing a kilt and playing the bagpipes in Scotland. See also: List tickers.


A destination where you will see (usually sunburnt) men in vests. The early pioneer of vestinations were British seaside resorts such as Blackpool and Bognor Regis, where men wearing string vests and knotted hankies could be found getting rained upon. However, locations for vestinations have since changed with young men wearing high street branded vests for the modern man, bringing classic vest fashion bang up to date. Current vestinations include (but are not limited to): Benidorm, Malaga and Santorini.

Volcation / Volcano voyeurism

A trip made specifically to observe volcanic activity. Although this type of holiday has long been around, the erupting of the Icelandic volcano in 2010 which paralysed European airspace, lead to resurgence of interest for lava lovers.

Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand


The growing trend for a holiday that involves volunteering of some sort. VSO (Volunteer Service Overseas) has spawned hundreds of similar volunteering projects around the world that aim to improve the lives of local populations in developing countries. Projects can include anything from physical labour (for example building a school or installing a well) to highly skilled rolls such as practicing medicine or mapping coral reef.

Though the majority of voluntourist projects are likely to benefit the local population or wildlife, some programmes have been criticised for providing a source of free labour and therefore preventing locals from gaining paid employment. Or taking two years longer than it would had they just got a digger in.


Travelling to a destination known for its excellent watersports offerings such as surfing, windsurfing or sailing. Australia is a popular location for wavecationers, as is the Pacific coast of the USA and the Hawaiian islands.

Surfing USA, Hawaii

Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire.