Travel Terms Demystified

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Deal Expert, Chicago
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During my first weeks at Travelzoo many moons ago, I kept hearing the term inside baseball being thrown around, and I was clueless of its meaning. I’m the rare kind of Chicagoan with no allegiance to either the Sox or the Cubs, and I can’t tell you what channel ESPN is on. A quick Google search revealed what I was missing, and I learned that my new colleagues were constantly checking in with each other to make sure what we were writing for our website was easily understood by all types of travelers, not just the very experienced ones.

Use this glossary below to resolve any lingering questions or if you need a hand booking your next trip. Tweet @travelzoo if there are other terms you’d like defined!

Advance purchase: Used by both the airline and hotel industry, this term means the ticket or room must be purchased a specified number of days before flight departure or hotel arrival.

All inclusive: These types of hotels and resorts include three meals a day, drinks (often including alcohol) and daily entertainment. Price is often based on two people traveling together, but in some instances, the nightly rate could be per person. Double check before buying.

Blackout dates: These are dates in which the deal or rate is unavailable. Sometimes there could be occupancy or fares at a higher cost, other times it means there has been a sellout.

Code share:  An agreement among airlines in which each carrier shares its flight codes. This means that flyers buying one airline’s ticket might really be flying on the other airline’s plane. Sometimes code shares also cover other agreements, including frequent flyer benefits.

Departure tax: Some countries collect a free from travelers at the time of departure.

Direct flight: A flight in which the plane goes directly to the arrival city and the flyer does not need to change planes. Occasionally, a direct flight makes an intermediary stop in which the plane stops at an airport en route, but passengers do not change planes. Note: “Nonstop” means there are no stops before you get to your destination.

Each way vs. one way: When an airline advertises a fare as “one way” its telling us that price is good in one direction, and one only. That means, in some cases, a return flight may be more expensive. A fare advertised as “each way” — rarely used these days — communicates that the price is valid in both directions.

Hub: These are airports in large cities through which airlines will route many of their flights.

Long haul: These flights are longer than six hours in length. When done in smaller aircraft, refueling may be required.

Loss damage waiver: This is optional damage coverage available for purchase when renting a car. It’s a legal requirement in some countries to have this kind of insurance.

Nonstop: Seems obvious, right? But nonstop and direct are different, when it comes to flights. We defined direct above; nonstop means there are no stops before travelers get to their destination.

Nontransferable: These tickets cannot be exchanged for another one.

Off peak: When demand at a particular destination isn’t as high and prices for tourists are at their lowest.

Open jaw: An itinerary in which a traveler flies into one city and departs from another one.

Pet friendly: Some hotel chains allow pets of certain sizes to stay in room, sometimes for free and sometimes for a fee. Call ahead to make arrangements for your pet when booking.

Prepaid gratuities: It’s customary to tip the hard-working staffs of cruise lines, and some packages available include these tips (typically ranging from $12-$15 per day) into the up-front price. Use this guide if you’re looking to learn more about cruise lingo.

Resort fee: Many hotels and resorts have a nightly charge in addition to the room rate to cover amenities ranging from parking to Wi-Fi to bottled water in room.

Shoulder season: The times surrounding peak dates for a particular destination. During these periods, demand isn’t as high and the destination is still appealing. Learn more about shoulder season here.

Single supplement fee: The vast majority of vacation packages have pricing based on double occupancy. Some companies offer pricing for solo travelers, called a fee, that is additional to the per-person cost for people traveling as a couple.

Stopover: This is when a traveler leaves the airport during a longer trip. Passengers are required to complete arrival procedures and must check in again when returning to the airport.

Unrestricted fare: This type of fare offers the most flexibility for travelers, and is often the most expensive. Some other fares have requirements like advance purchase or minimum-night stay. Many first-class tickets are unrestricted fares.

Upgrade: When a traveler received a better class of service or better accommodation.

Value-added tax (VAT): A type of tax that adds a percentage on products and services at final sale. In many places, tourists are able to get refunds on the sales tax before departing the country. Research before you go.

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