Words such as agrotourism or globetrotter have been in use for quite some time now, but there are many modern words related to tourism that a traveller should know. Some of them were created not long ago, some have (not) gained popularity, and there are probably many more that will soon be created.


Travel porn – don’t google it, I don’t mean here what you’re going to see in the first search results (no, holiday sex is not what I mean). Travel porn is a popular term used to describe media images of beautiful and amazing places, bright, saturated photos that make us jealous of those who are lucky enough to be there.

Poverty porn - this expression appeared in the 1980s in connection with charity campaigns in underdeveloped countries. Photos and films often exploit the images of poverty to bring sympathy to poor people. Many backpackers seem to be pretty fond of this kind of photography – malnutrished, dirty kids with snot on their faces make for an attractive souvenir photo and they often invent their philosophy of faraway countries where people are extremely poor but happy.

Champing –short for ‘church camping’ or sleeping in churches. For about 55 pounds you can sleep in one of the English churches which is no longer in use – in the morning expect a knock on the door as your breakfast is included in the price. If you’re interested, have a look at: http://www.champing.co.uk/

Glamping – short for ‘glamour camping’ and it means sleeping in the nature in luxurious conditions, it might be for example a comfortable, big tent with a superb dinner served by an immacuosly clad waiter somewhere in the plains of Serengetti where you go on a safari.

Voluntourism – volunteering + tourism. This is when tourists have an urge to do some good for the society. They go on holiday where they build houses or work in an orphanage, etc. Voluntourism usually differs from real volunteering in the length of stay (usually one or two weeks only) and the lack of proper skills  of voluntourists. It’s more often than not for helping your ego rather than anybody else. There are many controversies as to how much harm this kind of tourism might cause in the local communities.

War Tourism – sightseeing trips to war zones or dangerous areas, done in search of excitement, adrenaline and novelty.

Disaster Tourism – sightseeing in disaster-struck areas, tourists are driven by curiosity to see the suffering of people and the destruction of places.

Last Chance Tourism – travelling to places that may soon disappear, mostly due to the climate change or man-made changes to the environment.

It is said that corral reef and glacier are disappearing at an alarming rate – it is hard to say how much longer they will resist the damage done by us. 

Slumming (also: Slum tourism) – guided trips to slums areas to see the life of poor people. An ideal way for taking poverty porn photographs. A controversial idea, but there are more and more of such tours nowadays – tourists usually find excuses how local communities benefit them, while local people often have their doubts.

Set Jetting – a trend of travelling to destinations first seen in the movies. For example there was a tourist boom in New Zealand after “Lord of the Rings” films appeared on the big screen.

Dark touristm (also: Black tourism or Grief tourism) – travelling to places connected with death and tragedy.

Backpacker – an independent traveller with a backpack. (Right, that’s easy, but have a look below…)

Flashpacker – they have a slightly bigger budget than backpackers and are happy to splurge on little luxuries. They often carry expensive electronics and wear modern tourist brands. They say they want to travel on budget, but it definitely doesn’t meen staying in a 10-person mix dorm or surviving or rice and water.

Slackpacker – if you like treks and close contact with nature, but you aren’t particularly fond of carrying a heavy backpack, a stove or a tent…? Think of slackpacking. It’s when you might tire yourself during the day, but you don’t mind knowing that at the end of the day you’re going to sleep in a comfortable bed. You can divide a longer, complicated route into small parts that allow you the comforts of travelling.

My Salkantray trek to Machu Picchu definitely included the elements of slackpacking. While walking was tiring and we had to fight with altitude sickness, we were pretty comfortable: our tents were always put up for us, lunch ready in a tent when in the midday, bowls with water for washing hands… and mules carried our luggage.  e.

Staycation – that’s when you stay at home for your holidays and explore your surroundings – perfect way of spending your holidays in case of financial problems.

Mancation – a group of men going together on holiday, leaving their wives, girlfriends and lovers behind. They do stuff and usually drink a lot.
And there’s no good equivalent of holidays made by women group. I’ve heard femcation, but it’s not really in use.

Daycation – a day trip, usually to a beach or an amusement park.

Fakeation – well… that’s a good one! You PRETEND to be on holiday! Hide at home and post on Facebook and other social media as if you were on an exotic island (or a similar destination). Look online for tutorials on how to create fake photos for your ‘holidays’.

Graycation – holidays where three family generations go together.

Housesitting, cat sitting, dog sitting – taking care of a house, a cat or a dog while the owner is away (probably on holiday themselves). This is a perfect way to go somewhere new without having to pay for accommodation – you can explore your surroundings when you keep animals the company. I did cat sitting in Jerusalem, Israel and I liked it a lot! Look for online pages which advertise vacancies.


I would have never stayed in Jerusalem for a week, if I hadn’t decided to take care of a cat! 

Grey nomad – Australian term for an older, retired person who travels for an extended period of time, usually in a campervan.

Digital nomad – a person who can live and work anywhere because they use digital technology and can work remotely.

Couchsurfing – name of the internet website for people who look for free accommodation/ offer free accommodation. Some complain that it is becoming a dating service full of people who are more interested in other-sex travellers than travelling itself, but if you try it might be a perfect way to learn about new cultures and experience budget travelling.

Thanks to Couchsurfing I met great people – I stayed with some, I travelled with others.  

Bucket list – a list of things to do before you die. Comes from the term ‘kick the bucket’ (=die). Many travellers compile their own lists – I prepared that as well!

Wanderlust (English) i Fernweh (German) – a strong desire to explore the world.

Fuck-off Fund – money on your account – if you go through bad times in life then you know you don’t have to grit your teeth, but can tell the others to fuck the hell off, give up your job and set off exploring the world.
What else, do you think, should be added to this list? Let me know in the comments!

Recent additions:

Class Tourism – the pleasure you get from observing behaviour of people of lower social class. It might involve visiting poor neighbourhood in your area or watching films of such places online.

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  • Ha ha great article i love how you have managed tp clump all the definitions into one article. i am sure we all fit into one of the catagories or another basically, we would all fit a few. We did a tour in Rome on dark tourism. It was night tour about ghosts myths and legends of rome absolutely amazing few hours spent wandering the back streets of Rome

    • I haven’t been to Rome yet, but I’ll remember what you wrote for future reference :)
      In Santiago, Chile, they offer tours of the main cemetery at night, but unfortunately they were not available in the month I was there.

  • Fakeaction? That’s a new one on me, who on earth does that???? Bizarre. I have tried ‘champing’ though, amazing night spent in a church all by ourselves in the middle of nowhere, kinda spooky but so cool at the same time!

    • I’m jealous of champing – that’s something I’d love to try!
      Fakeation, I heard, is becoming more and more popular. I watched a story of a girl who managed to fool their friends for two weeks – it baffles me why someone would do such a thing, but… people are strange.

  • Can I just say I learned a few new terms here? I never heard of champing, but love the idea. As for some of the more depressing ones, while I get the need to bring light and info to those areas, I’m not sure mentally I could do it.

  • This is a good fun list. I think I learned some new terms, had never heard of “War Tourism.” Something I will never be taking a part in.

  • Great list, I’ve heard of most of these but there’s a few new ones there – had no idea about champing! Sounds interesting though.
    I’ll be looking out for people on fakeations from now on!

  • I’ve always wondered about the fakeation, though I’ve never heard the term used.

    • That’s good you haven’t heard it yet – it means there’s still a chance it won’t become a widespread phenomenon! :)

  • There are a couple of new ones here for me, but ‘fuck off fund’ actually gave me a good laugh. Nice list!

  • I gotta say, it’s so interesting to read the glossary of modern tourism, some I’ve already encountered in the past, the other I just learned of now, like Champing. I didn’t know you could camp in a church.

    Reading this I think I am a cross breed of backpacker and flashpacker. I should call myself backflashpacker joke! Hahaha….

  • Slumming?! that’s an interesting word. Love this article!

  • This list is superfun, pretty sure didn’t know quite a few of them existed before I read them here :) Also I think some of them are known by different names here in India . Graycation or 3 generations of family travelling together is known as Genercation or so I read somewhere. Anyhow a very cool list to bookmark :)

  • Haha cool post! I’ve heard of most of these terms but there are a few on there which are new to me! Very fun to read though

  • Reading this has put a smile on my face. I’ve learnt a few new terms as well. Fuck-off fund is definitely my favourite.