You may have encountered terms or phrases in the travel industry that may not be familiar to you. In order to assist you in planning a vacation, we present the following glossary of traveler's terms. Even a seasoned traveler may not be aware of some of the definitions, which could cause confusion when dealing with information presented on the internet and elsewhere. ENJOY, and if you have any entries we haven't considered, please let us know !

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W



a la carte - referring to meals, an indication that each dish is priced separately; also that a choice of meals may be vailable, such as on a tour

ABC - a reference to the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, in the Netherlands Antilles, just off the northern coast of South America ( Venezuela ). Fabulous for diving, snorkelling and all manner of watersports

add-on - an option, usually at extra cost, added to travel arrangements

adjoining room- a hotel room that is next to another, but without connecting doors

ADT - Atlantic Daylight Time; Alaska Daylight Time

advance purchase requirement - an airfare that must be purchased a certain number of days ahead of departure, usually 7, 14, or 21 days, for the best fare

aft - toward the rear of a ship

air mile - a distance of approx. 6076 feet

Air Travel Card - a credit card sponsored by the airlines, for the purchase of air travel only

ARC - the Airlines Reporting Corporation - oversees the tracking of payments from travel agency to airline, upon issuance of tickets; created by the air carriers

airport access fee - a fee paid by the car rental companies to the airport authority, for the use of shuttle vehicles, etc - usually passed on to the consumer

airport transfer - a transport service to/from an airport to hotel, etc, normally prepaid as part of a package tour, but available separately as well

air/sea - a term referring to tickets, trips, fares, etc. that include both air and land-based travel arrangements, such as a cruise package with air included

all-inclusive - should mean a plan that includes all meals, drinks, tips, service charges, accommodations, some watersports ( usually non-motorized ), etc. NOT all plans are equal - be sure to inquire as to just what IS included and what is extra !

American plan - a hotel's meal plan that usually includes all three meals each day

AMEX - American Express ( AX )

amidships - toward the middle of a ship - usually the stabilest part of the vessel

antebellum - describes a building and/or period of time prior to the Civil War, such as an antebellum mansion on a cotton plantation in the southern US

APEX - an airline term meaning " advance purchase excursion fare " - normally the least expensive fares

ARTA - Association of Retail Travel Agents - professional trade group of travel agents only

ASTA - American Society of Travel Agents - trade group consisting of travel agencies, travel agents, and allied members ( suppliers, etc. )

AST - Atlantic ( or Alaska ) Standard Time

ATO - Airline Ticket Office - becoming rarer these days, as carriers continue to reduce customer service

Autobahn - high-speed equivalent to the US interstate highway system, in Germany and a few other European countries

availability - the actual inventory of seats that are really available to be sold at a certain fare. Just because a fare is presented as " available " between two cities does NOT mean seats at that rate are available. This causes much confusion when airfare ads are published, so you must read the " fine print " before calling your agent and asking them to get that fare for you !


B & B - Bed & Breakfast; usually a quaint, country-style accommodation with a small number of rooms, that includes breakfast each morning

back-to-back ticket(ing) - an against-the-rules practice whereby an air ticket is issued round-trip with only one portion to be used. Another is then issued roundtrip, again with only one portion to be used. In effect, this amounts to using one ticket for the outbound part of a trip, and the other for the return. The normal Saturday night stay requirement is then avoided - useful only when two roundtrip tickets are LESS than the cost of a single ticket with no Saturday night stayover. Most agents will not issue such tickets, as they can be severely penalized - please DO NOT ask for them !

balcony - sometimes called a verandah - an outside " porch " that is usually private, just outside your ship's cabin. GREAT for relaxing and port arrivals !

barge cruising - pleasure cruising along a canal system, such as in upstate New York or in Europe, in converted barges or new ships that resemble them

base fare - the basic price of an airline ticket, before ANY taxes, surcharges, airport fees, etc.

beam - a ship's width at it's widest point; determines whether or not a vessel can pass through the Panama Canal

bellman - a person who carries one's luggage to a hotel room

Benelux - term for the countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg

berth - usually refers to the bed in a ship's cabin; also the space at which a ship is docked

blackout dates - refers to a date or series of dates on which travel is NOT available. Can refer to airline, hotel or car rental arrangements.

blocked space - seats, rooms, and/or cabins held on airlines, in hotels, or aboard ships. Usually held speculatively and made available at reduced rates.

boarding pass - a receipt with a seat number, now issued only at check-in at the airport. A ticket is not valid unless a boarding pass has been issued !

bonded - protected or guaranteed by a bond, usually referring to the protection of passenger's funds

bridge - the navigational center of a ship

bulk fare - a fare only available when buying blocks of airline seats; usually lower than published fares

bumping - the airline practice of denying boarding to confirmed passengers who hold tickets on a specific flight, due to an oversold condition. The carrier will ask for volunteers to take later flights, and will normally provide some sort of compensation in the form of vouchers or tickets for future travel. Rules for when compensation must be provided are complicated; ask the ticket agent for a copy of that carrier's rules, as each has their own set of guidelines. Some folks have managed to get bumped regularly in order to collect compensation - elevating the process to an art form !


cabin - the passenger area on an aircraft; the stateroom aboard a cruise ship

cabin steward - the person responsible for maintaining/cleaning the cabins aboard ship

cancellation penalty - the monetary penalty due when travel plans are cancelled, usually after final payment has been made

card mill - a " business " that sells potentially fake travel agent ID cards, usually in a sort of pyramid scheme, whereby the buyer intends only to partake of any legitimate agent benefits. Please do NOT get involved with these - there is no such thing as a " free lunch ! "

carrier - generic term for any company that transports passengers and/or freight

carry-on - currently, there are no uniformly enforced airline restrictions concerning carry-on luggage. Most carriers state that the bag must fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. The usual maximum measurements are said to be 22 X 14 X 9 inches, but many folks continue to exceed that and are allowed to do so. At most airports, there are bag checking " frames " that you can insert your carry-on into to see if it meets these " quasi-requirements." Enforcement seems to be uneven at best, and often totally lacking. If in doubt, be prepared to be asked to check your carry-ons

cashless cruising - a term that applies to the system of onboard payment used for most all cruises; the final bill for any such purchases is presented against a credit card or cash deposit given upon check-in. The final statement itemizes the purchases of all passengers in a cabin, such as drinks, shore tours, etc.

cay - pronounced " key " - term for a small island, used primarily in the Caribbean, such as Princess Cay

Certified Travel Associate - (CTA) - a travel professional certified by the Institute of Certified Travel Agents, who has passed a series of rigorous tests, assuring the traveling public of professional competence

change of equipment - when a flight, with a single flight number, lands and changes the type of airplane used before continuing on to it's destination

change of gauge - same as above

Chunnel - slang for the tunnel beneath the English Channel, from England to France, through which the Eurostar train passes

circle trip - any trip that involves more than a single destination, but which returns to the initial point of departure

city pair - the departure and arrival cities on an airline booking

CLIA - Cruise Lines International Association, located in New York City, NY

coach - the " economy " section of an aircraft, which may have literally scores of different fares for the same flight

collision damage waiver - car rental insurance covering any damage to a rental vehicle ( CDW ) Many credit card companies cover their clients in this area if they use that card to pay for the rental. Check with you credit card company to see if you are covered and to what extent

commission cap - the limit placed on commissions paid to travel agents for the sale of air tickets, regardless of their price; designed to allow airlines to increase their profits at the expense of their primary distribution system - the travel agents

commuter - term referring to the small, regional airlines, sometimes called puddle-jumpers

concierge - a hotel employee who provides additional advice, recommendations, and other services to guests, such as restaurant reservations

connecting flight - an air journey that requires changing planes at an intermediate city along the way

consolidator - a business that sells airline tickets in bulk, usually at some savings, but with many restrictions - be careful who you use !

couchette - the sleeping compartment of a train, that can contain up to 6 beds

CST - Central Standard Time

CTA - Certified Travel Associate

CTC - Certified Travel Counselor - the ultimate in travel professionals, CTC certification can be compared to the " Master's Degree " of the industry

CVB - Convention and Visitor's Bureau ( generic term )


debark - to get off an airplane or passenger ship

deck - the floor area of a ship. Some cruise liners have as many as 11 to 14 decks or more !!

deck plan - the drawing representing the location of the decks, public rooms, cabins, etc of a cruise ship

denied-boarding compensation - that payment and/or voucher given those bumped from a flight; may be somewhat negotiable - always ask ! See " bumping "

Department of State - the US government agency that, among other things, issues cautions and warnings concerning travel to many points worldwide. Connect to the Department of State for the latest updates for the areas you are interested in

dine-around-plan - a meal plan, usually prepaid, that allows one to dine at various restaurants in an area

diner - the restaurant car of a passenger train

direct access - refers to a travel agent's ability to get directly into an airlines database to get true last-seat availability and correct pricing - a big difference between internet fare " quoters " and an agent's CRS ( Computer Reservations System )

direct flight - a flight to another city that stops at least once en route, but does not involve a change of equipment ( you do not have to change planes )

disclaimer - a legal document that advises clients that a travel agent acts only as a middleman in the sale of travel products; any liability ultimately lies with the supplier, i.e. airline, hotel, car rental company, tour operator, railway, etc.

domestic fare - a fare charged for travel within a country

double booking - a not-nice practice of holding reservations to the same destination for the same times/days, on the same carriers but through different travel agencies, when only one reservation will ultimately be used

double occupancy - the way in which almost all cruise fares and tour packages are quoted, that is, based on two people traveling together. Most hotel rooms are quoted based on two adults to a room, as well

drop-off charge - the fee added to a car rental when the vehicle is returned to a city other than where it was originally rented. In some states, there is no drop off fee most of the time, such as in Florida

duty-free - being exempt from any import tax


elder hostel - hostel catering to seniors - see " hostel "

electronic ticket - a " paperless " airline ticket allowing one to check-in and fly with just proper photo ID. What may look like a ticket is actually just a paper passenger receipt. E-tickets cannot be lost, or used by anyone else, so they are safer than standard paper tickets, which may soon become extinct. One drawback is that e-tickets on one carrier cannot be honored by another, so in a cancelled-flight snafu, the original carrier must print hard copy tickets before another airline can accept them. This presents major paperwork problems for the affected carrier

embark - to board a plane or cruise ship

en suite - in the hotel industry, indicates that a certain feature(s) is directly in the room, or adjacent to that room

English breakfast - basic meal of cereal, juice, eggs, meats, and other beverages. Common with most hotels in the UK/Great Britain

EST - Eastern Standard Time

ETA - estimated time of arrival

ETD - estimated time of departure

Eurailpass - a special fare ticket that allows either unlimited train travel, or travel for a certain number of days/weeks, in many European countries (except in Britain, where the Britrailpass offers similar travel in England, Scotland, and Wales)

European plan - a rate at a hotel that includes no meals

excursion - a side trip from a main destination, usually at added cost and optional


family plan - offered by most hotels, allow children to stay in the same room as parents, at no additional charge. Age requirements vary between hotels

fare basis (code) - the sometimes confusing code or codes on which the price of an airline ticket is based. Some itineraries contain many different codes. Most will indicate whether a fare is refundable or not. If even one fare code contained in a ticket is nonrefundable, then the entire ticket becomes nonrefundable. Even some first class fares are now nonrefundable !

first class - most aircraft have at least some first class seats up front, which offer much more room and upgraded cabin service, meals, etc. Worth the price on some long, international destinations, if you can afford it

FIT - foreign independent tour - actually used generically now for a travel package put together by a travel agent from separate components such as car, hotel and airfare, adjusted exactly as the traveler wishes. May include city tours, theater tickets, and other " independent " options, and may also include custom mapping/routing to accomplish the client's goals

fjord - a narrow inlet from the ocean, usually bounded by cliffs, and with spectacular scenery. Most are located in Alaska, Norway, and New Zealand

fly-drive package - a travel package featuring airfare, rental car, and perhaps hotels. Usually less expensive than booking each separately

full service hotel - a hotel with restaurant facilities

funnel flight - a flight, such as on a regional or commuter carrier, that " feeds " larger planes which continue on to other destinations. Also, the use of a single flight number for an itinerary that really involves a connection with two separate flight numbers, thus making the itinerary appear to be a direct flight with a change of aircraft as opposed to a connection. Just call it a connection and be done with it !!!


galley - the kitchen on a ship

gateway city - a city that operates as an arrival or departure point for international flights

global distribution system (GDS) - an international computer reservation system that accesses many databases of suppliers, airlines, etc. in different countries, such as AMADEUS

global positioning system (GPS) - system of satellites that allows miniature radio receivers on earth to pinpoint one's location within a few feet. Most cruise ships make use of this system to navigate the world's oceans

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) - solar based time in Greenwich, England, fon which time in all other time zones in the world is based

Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) - a measurement of the enclosed space in a ship. Cruise ships in the 70,000 ton range are considered " superliners "

GST - Goods and Services Tax, such as levied in Canadian Provinces

guaranteed share - a cruise term that promises that a companion will be found for a single passenger, at a special rate. That rate will be honored even if the cruise line is unable to find a cabin mate. The rate is usually the going double-rate at that time, and is much less than the single person rate for that cabin


half pension - a hotel rate that includes breakfast and one other meal, usually dinner. Sometimes called Modified American Plan (MAP) or demi-pension

hard-copy - a printed version of a document, such as an airline ticket or hotel voucher

hidden-city ticketing - another airline no-no; buying a ticket from A to C with a stop in B. The passenger gets off at B, which was the intended destination anyway. The ticket is purchased because the fare from A to C is LESS than A to B ! Yes, the fare structure makes no sense ! Please do not ask a travel agent to do hidden-city tickets; he can be seriously penalized for it

high season - the time of year when a destination gets the greatest crowds, and thus can increase hotel and rental car rates, etc. As an example, summertime is high season for travel to Europe ( just check the airfares ! )

hostel - an inexpensive accommodation, usually dormitory style, popular with the student crowd - thus the term " youth hostel "

hub - an airport or city in which an airline has a major presence and many flights to other destinations. As an example, Delta has a hub in Atlanta. Many carriers use the hub-and-spoke system to maximize profits by keeping the aircraft in the air as much as possible. Flights to the hub are many, and from there flights to many other destinations are scheduled

hurricane season - in the Caribbean primarily, and the Southeastern US, a period from June through October during which such storms are likely to occur


IATAN - International Airlines Travel Agent Network - administers the IATAN card, the only widely accepted form of legitimate travel agent identification as distinguished from the often-fake photo ID cards distributed by the so-called " card mills "

in season - meaning only available at certain times of the year

in transit - en route; in the process of traveling

incentive travel - travel as a reward for an employee's outstanding performance

inclusive tour - a package tour that bundles transportation, accommodations, transfers, sightseeing, possibly some meals, etc

inside cabin - a stateroom aboard ship that has no window. Sometimes smaller, but at times the same size as an outside cabin

interline connection - a flight on one airline that connects to a flight on another carrier - these tickets are usually more expensive than flying all on one carrier but may be the only way to get to a destination in some cases. Also unless an interline agreement for baggage handling exists, you may have to claim your luggage from the first flight and recheck it on the next carrier's flight. Not the best way to travel by air !

International Date Line - at 180 degrees longitude, the date on one side of this imaginary line, running from the north to the south pole, is different from the other. The line runs through the Pacific Ocean, and because of it, it is possible to leave one destination on one day, and arrive in another the day before !


jet lag - a upset of one's biological clock, due to travel across many time zones; not all folks are affected by it

Jones Act - a law dating back to 1886, that forbids foreign-flagged ships from carrying passengers between US ports with no foreign port stops in-between


kilometer - a measure of distance used in almost all other countries, at about 5/8 mile.

king room - a hotel room with a king bed

knot - a nautical measure of speed equaling approx. 1.5 mph. A ship traveling at 15 knots is traveling at about 22 mph.

kph - kilometers-per-hour - land speed measurement in most other countries. 60 kph equals approx. 36 miles-per-hour


land arrangements - all the details of a the land portion of a trip ( hotel, car, tours, sightseeing, etc. )

land-only - a rate that does NOT include airfare; usually includes most other land-based charges such as accommodations, transfers, taxes, and perhaps other optional items like theme park tickets, rental care, etc.

last-seat availability - the ability of a travel agent to get, literally, the " last seat " for you on a particular flight, either at a certain fare or actually the last remaining seat on an aircraft. See " direct access "

late booking fee - a fee due if travel arrangement are made at the last minute. Normally covers express delivery of documents and other last-minute arrangements that may have to be made by a tour operator

latitude - imaginary horizontal lines of angular distance, measured in degrees north or south of the equator

layover - a period of time spent during a trip, sometimes overnight, while waiting for a transportation connection - usually a change of planes

LDW - loss damage waiver - additional insurance pertaining to car rentals, covering theft and vandalism in addition to accident damage

lead-in price - the lowest available price for a travel product, often pertaining to cabins on a cruise ship. Usually, there are only a few staterooms available on board each cruiseliner in this category, but often better accommodations are only slightly higher in price. Rock-bottom price shoppers normally insist on these rates, though they sell out quickly. Often, passengers are not happy with the outcome !

leeward - the side of a ship or an island that is located opposite from the direction of the prevailing wind -the " Leeward Islands " in the Caribbean for example

leg - on segment of a journey, normally referring to an air itinerary, such as the " outbound leg " or the " return leg "

leisure travel - travel for pleasure as opposed to business

lido deck - usually the deck on a cruise ship that surrounds the pool area

limited service hotel - a hotel property without a restaurant

load factor - the percent of available space on an aircraft or other form of transportation that has been sold to date

lowest available fare - the current, lowest airfare available for purchase right then - may or may not change within minutes/hours/days !!

lowest fare - the lowest published airfare between two cities; may NOT have seats available at that fare, as the airlines usually have a limited number of those seats on any given flight

low season - the period when a destination experiences it's lowest prices and the fewest number of guests

lower (bed) - in a cruise stateroom, the bed(s) on the floor as opposed to the higher bunks ( uppers ), if any. On many ships, two lowers can be arranged to make a king or queen bed - but NOT always. Be sure to ask !!

luxury class - the most expensive, high-class accommodations or category of fare


maximum stay - the maximum time you may stay at your destination in order to qualify for a specific airfare. Normally most fares have a 30-day limit, but some are less. Usually, the longer you stay, the higher the fare will be

midship - same as " amidships "

minimum connect time - defined as the minimum time necessary between connecting flights - 30 minutes domestically, usually - ideally, at least a hour !

modified american plan ( MAP ) - meal plan that includes two daily meals, usually breakfast and dinner

MST - Mountain Standard Time


NACTA - National Association of Career Travel Agents - trade group representing primarily independent and home-based agents, now part of ASTA

nautical mile - air/sea distance measurement of approx. 1.1 statute miles

no show - a passenger who doesn't show for a flight, hotel, or rental car booking - shame on you for not canceling !!

non-refundable - a fare that cannot be refunded either in cash or via a credit card credit; very seldom is there an exception

non-transferable - an air ticket that cannot be used by anyone else ( all tickets are such nowadays )

nonstop - referring to an air flight that does not stop enroute to it's first destination, that is, a single flight segment with no intermediate stops

NTSB - National Transportation Safety Board; investigates accidents and other incidents related to public transportation


occupancy rate - the percent of hotel rooms expected to be filled during a specific time period. For example,

ocean view cabin - a cabin aboard a cruise ship with a window, such as a porthole or picture-window, and perhaps a balcony/verandah

OCV - ocean view, usually in reference to a hotel room

offline connection - a change of aircraft also involving a change of carriers

off-peak - a time when less travel occurs. Fares are usually lower during these times

open jaw - a trip in during which there is no travel by air between two cities, such as a flight to Washington DC, then travel by rental car to Charlotte, NC, then a return by air from Charlotte back to the original departure city

open return - a air ticket with no return date specified. Rarely done these days, usually quite expensive and not allowed on most discounted fares

operator - a company providing transportation or travel related services ( airline, cruise line, railway, hotel, car rental company, etc. )

option date - drop dead date on which a reservation must be deposited or cancellation will result

outbound - the departure leg of a journey

outside cabin - see " ocean view " cabin

outside salesperson - job description of an travel agency employee who sells travel but is not based primarily in the agency location most of the time

overbooking - the practice of selling more airline seats than are available on a specific flight, to make up for no-shows. Usually backfires on the carrier and at times can create much consumer ill-will. Requires passengers to be " bumped " - not always voluntarily. To some extent, happens in the hotel industry as well

override - extra commission that travel agents sometimes get, usually for selling a certain amount of a supplier's product


passenger facility charge (PFC) - a fee for the use of many airports, added in to the cost of an air ticket - another name for an additional tax on travelers

passenger name record (PNR) - the official name of one's reservation in a computer reservation system (CRS)

passport/visa service - a service that will take your passport and hand carry, if necessary, to the appropriate embassy in order to expedite a visa. Can be expensive if you have waited until the last minute to obtain a travel visa

per diem - " by the day ;" in the cruise industry, the per-day cost of a cruise, per person

personal effects coverage - additional car rental insurance covering loss of personal property from the rented vehicle

point-to-point - refers to the fares between two cities; the service between two cities without additional segments or any continuation

port - the place where a ship docks; a place visited by cruise ship; the left side of a vessel

port charges/taxes - fees levied by local authorities upon the cruise lines for each passenger visiting a port of call, normally added to the total cruise fare

porter - a baggage handler, also referred to as a " skycap "

porthole - usually a round, sealed window in a shipboard stateroom

posada - a small country hotel ( Spanish )

positive space - space aboard a ship or aircraft that can be confirmed ahead of time

PPDO - per person, double occupancy. Most tours and cruises are quoted this way; the average cost to stay in a particular location per day

preferred suppliers - a travel agency's list of the products they prefer to sell the most. These suppliers sometimes offer extra commissions, but also often make special offers available to the consumer through that travel agent. This usually results in a win-win situation for both the agency and the traveler - the agency can rely on the preferred supplier for integrity and a quality product, and the traveler gets a good value at a fair price

Prepaid ticket advice - a form used when purchasing an air ticket to be picked up and used by someone else at another airport. E-tickets have reduced the need for this greatly

prix fixe - meals offered at a fixed price, usually fairly low, consisting of several courses with no substitutions allowed. Common in Europe

prop - referring to propeller-driven aircraft

pseudo-agent - someone claiming to be a travel agent who really isn't - watch out for these types !! They often produce bogus ID cards, and can disappear when problems arise ! Check credentials before doing business with someone you are unsure of !

PST - Pacific Standard Time

published fare - an airfare that is listed in the carrier's tariff

purser - aboard ship, the person responsible for providing a wide array of services such as information, making change, stamps, etc. Found at the purser's desk


quad - a room suitable for four persons

quay - a pier - pronounced the same as " key "

quid - a monetary term for a British pound sterling


rack rate - the standard price of a hotel room before any discount has been taken, usually artificially high. Rooms rarely sell for the rack rate unless the property is virtually full or a special event is taking place

rate desk - the office of an air carrier that calculates fares for passengers and travel agents

rebate(ing) - the practice of returning part of an agency's commission on a sale back to the client in the form of a rebate or "discount." The trade-off is usually little or no personal/customer service. This is practiced often by " 800 " number travel sellers and others who deal in huge volume. Think carefully about who you'd rather trust for your dream vacation !

reconfirm - to recheck a reservation

record locator - the number assigned to one's reservation in an airline's computer system - can be important to know when there's trouble !

red-eye flight - usually an overnight flight that arrives early in the morning - great when you don't want to lose precious sightseeing time at your destination

referral agent/agency - an " agent " that refers business to a travel agency in return for a commission or fee - often as part of a card mill operation. Knows little about the travel industry - be sure you know who you are dealing with !

registry - the formal registration of a ship's ownership, and the country it is registered in ( such as Panama, Liberia, Norway, etc )

reissue - the generation of a new ticket that is exchanged for another, due to a change of plans, dates, flights, etc. May involve additional fare, penalties and fees

repositioning - the moving of a cruise ship to another home port for all of part of a season, such as the repositioning of ships to Alaska for the summer. Often these cruises are excellent bargains, but will involve one-way airfare home from the port of debarkation

res - short for " reservation "

rollaway - a cot or other bedding that can be added to a hotel room to accommodate another guest. There is often an extra charge for this

round trip - a flight to a single destination and return

run-of-house (ROH) - refers to a hotel room, the type of which is assigned at the discretion of the hotel shortly before you arrive. Usually, the rates are lower

run-of-ship - cabin is assigned at the last moment, giving the cruise line the ability to shift accommodations as needed. Usually, you are guaranteed a minimum category of cabin, and sometimes get an upgraded stateroom at no additional cost. Most upgrades are from inside-to-inside cabins, or from outside-to-outside but occasionally an inside-to-oceanview upgrade will occur. It is not always worth the gamble though


saturday night stay - the airline requirement that you must stay over a Saturday night during a trip in order to obtain the lowest fare. Usually, there is also an advance purchase requirement as well as other rules that apply, such as travel being limited to certain days of the week, etc.

scheduled carrier - an airline that operates a on a regular, published schedule

sea bands - a product resembling a bracelet that is worn on the wrists and operates via accupressure. Wearers claim that seasickness can be avoided by their use, thus eliminating the need for drugs such as Dramamine, etc.

sea legs - the ability to move around on a ship without losing balance and without sea sickness

segment - a " leg " or part of a journey, usually in reference to an air itinerary. One take-off and landing during air travel constitutes a " segment "

self-drive - a rental car ( British term )

service non compris - in French, meaning " service not included " ( hint: tip is expected ! )

shore excursion - tours that are purchased as an option when visiting ports of call while on a cruise; can sometimes be bought before you cruise

shoulder season - a period of time between high and low seasons, where prices at a destination are between their highest and lowest, and the crowds are thinner

single supplement - an additional charge when purchasing a cruise or tour whose pricing is based on double-occupancy. This supplement can be as much as twice the PPDO rate

sleeper - the sleeping compartment aboard a train

soft adventure - an outdoor travel experience that is not especially physically demanding, such as a canyon horseback trail ride or a hot-air balloon flight

spa - a resort area centered around a mineral springs, hot springs and the like, typically where one can find massage, hydrotherapy, exercise, steam baths, etc.

special interest tour - a tour catering to the needs of a specific interest, such as bird-watching, whale-watching, river rafting, mountain biking, rain forest exploration among many others

stabilizer - a device on most all cruise vessels, to reduce pitch and roll when at sea - the movement that can cause seasickness. Stabilizers are often pulled in at night in order to allow faster speeds when traveling between ports of call

starboard - the right side of a ship

Star Service - a critical guide describing in detail many hotel and cruise ship properties. Can be subjective, as it is based on someone's opinion, but provides a travel agent with a non-commercial point-of-view

stateroom - another term for a cabin aboard ship

stern -the rear of a ship

stopover - a planned stayover in a city for a day or more, while enroute to another destination. Sometimes adds significantly to the cost of an air ticket

student visa - permission to enter a country, issued to a student, normally for the purpose of attending school in that country

suite - a hotel accommodation with more than one room, or sometimes a single room with distinct sleeping and living areas and often a kitchenette

supplier - any company that supplies travel and/or related services to the traveling public

surface - travel over land that does not involve an aircraft


tariff - a schedule of prices/fares

tender - a small boat or ferry that carries passengers from an anchored cruise ship to the pier at a port of call. Many ships are too large for existing port facilities at some destinations, and so they anchor just off shore and " tender " their passengers in for their visit

TGV - the term applied to the French high-speed train system

theme cruise - a cruise devoted to a specific interest, such as big bands, country western, Star Trek, exercise and weight-loss, cooking and cuisine, and many more. There is usually a theme cruise to suit just about any interest

through passenger - a passenger who is not disembarking at a particular stop while enroute to the final destination

ticket stock - blank airline tickets

tour conductor - the person who accompanies and is in charge of a tour, often on a motorcoach tour

tourist card - a card issued to a visitor in lieu of a visa, usually for a short duration visit. Countries such as Mexico require these

trans-canal - passing through the Panama Canal

travel advisory - a travel warning issued by the US Department of State, indicating a special caution should be taken in a country due to political unrest, natural disaster, or other special situation. These can be obtained from any good travel agent, on any area you are considering visiting

Travel Institute - the primary educational and certification arm of the travel industry. Was formerly the "Institute of Certified Travel Agents" (ICTA), located in Wellesley, Mass.

twenty-four hour time - used extensively in Europe and other countries, 1pm becomes 1300 hours, 4pm is 1500 hours, etc, up to 2359 ( 1159pm ). Midnite is then considered 2400 or " zero " hours. 1:20am is then 0120 or " one hour, twenty minutes " and so on. Most schedules and timetables in the majority of other countries are listed in the 24-hour format, so be careful when deciphering these !


unlimited mileage - no mileage restriction when renting a car. This is the best way to go, as a time-and-mileage rate can be very expensive when you add up the additional mileage charges ( can be as high as 25-cents or more per mile ) should you run over the agreed-upon limit !

unrestricted fare - an airfare that has no special advance purchase, Saturday stay or certain days to travel requirements, and is usually refundable. Many full coach and most first-class fares are unrestricted

USTOA - United States Tour Operator's Association - a trade association which requires it's members to be very financially stable and to have a million dollars or more in funds set aside for consumer protection against defaults. Visit for more information


value added tax (VAT) - a tax on goods in Europe, which under certain circumstances can be refunded

value season - similar to shoulder or low season, when pricing is lower

verandah - a roofed-porch, such as connected to a cruise ship stateroom

VIA rail - the Canadian railway system

visa - usually a stamp in a passport allowing entry into a country for a specific purpose and a finite amount of time

visa service - a service that can expedite the processing of a visa, sometimes even at the last minute. A fee is charged that varies, depending on the nature of the service needed. Visas are usually stamped into the pages of a valid passport and are issued for varying reasons and periods of time. Not all countries require them, especially for United States Citizens. Be sure to allow enough time for them if you traveling to a destination that requires one !


waiver - a written acknowledgement that a passenger has declined something, such as insurance coverage for a trip, for example. Also, the formal acknowledgement of the waiving or dismissal of a requirement, such as a waiver of a penalty for late booking, etc

walk-up - one who purchases an air ticket at the last moment, usually at the airport ticket counter

wet bar - the area of a hotel room that has a bar or other counter space with running water, used for the preparation of drinks

World Travel Guide - a yearly publication that provides detailed information on most every country in the world, with entries on currency, transportation, climate, visa and passport requirements, sightseeing opportunities, etc. A primary book of knowledge for the professional travel agent


            American Society of Travel Advisors      


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