Travel Terms Glossary

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We have provided a glossary for your use.  The travel industry is replete with jargon Travel and acronyms and we hope you find this glossary/dictionary of travel terms useful when you run across a term you are not familiar with.  We encourage our clients to submit any words or concepts they would like defined or clarified to us on the Contact Us page and we will be happy to reply by email with a definition and include the term or clarification in our glossary/dictionary of travel terms for other clients benefit as well.

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.

A la Carte Bar – Also known as a “Cash Bar,” a bar located within one’s hotel room that is pre-stocked with an assortment of snacks and beverages.

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, snorkeling and all manner of watersports.

Abeam – A directional term, used on ships and aircraft, which describes something off to the side of the vessel, such as the wings.

Accessible Tourism – Travel that ensures that there is high availability in destinations, accommodations, attractions, products, and services to all people.

Accessible Travel – Travel that ensures that there is high availability in destinations, accommodations, attractions, products, and services to all people.

Actual Time of Arrival – Literally, the actual time of arrival. As opposed to the ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival).

Add-on – an option, usually at extra cost, added to travel arrangements.

Adjoining rooms – Two hotel or accommodation rooms that have a door connecting them from the inside, allowing the guests to combine the two rooms into one larger room.

Adoption Rate – the percentage of tickets issued through an online booking system compared to the traditional booking channel of agent-assisted reservations.

ADT – Atlantic Daylight Time; Alaska Daylight Time. Advance Purchase Fare – airfare that requires the traveler to purchase the ticket a minimum number of days prior to departure.

Advance Purchase Requirement – APR, or Advance Purchase Requirement, is the requirement that a ticket must be purchased a minimum number of days before the flight departs.

Adventure tour – A tour designed around an adventurous activity such as rafting, hiking, or mountain climbing.

Adventure travel – adventure travel is category of travel involving exploration or travel with perceived (and possibly actual) risk, and potentially requiring specialized skills and physical exertion.

Adventure Traveler – Adventure travelers travel to destinations with the specific purpose of active physical participation and exploration of new experiences.

Affinity Card – These are credit or debit cards issued by a banking institution in partnership and co-branded with a particular frequent traveler program.

Affinity group – A group of people that share a common hobby, interest, or activity, or that are united through regular participation in shared outings. Also see preformed group.

Aft – toward the rear of a ship.

After-departure charge – Charges that do not appear on the guest’s bill at checkout such as telephone or dining charges.

Agent – A person who has the power to act as the representative for another person.  Most frequently in travel, a specific kind of agent such as a travel agent.

AIO variables – Activities, interests, and opinions-used to measure and categorize customer lifestyles.

Air mile – a distance of approx. 6076 feet.

Air Traffic Control – Usually refers to the control tower at the airport, but may also be a control center somewhere else in charge of controlling a large area of sky.

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

Air Travel – air travel is the action or process of making a journey by aircraft.

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.

Aircraft – Generally speaking, any machine capable of flight. However, in the travel industry, these often mean airplanes.

Airline Alliance – These are agreements of cooperation between groups of airlines. Alliances offer airlines more flexibility and larger networks.

Airline fare – Price charged for an airline ticket. Several types of fares exist and can change with market conditions.

Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) – An organization that provides a method of approving authorized agency locations for the sale of transportation and cost-effective procedures for processing records and funds of such sales to carrier customers.

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 cruise or travel package in which one or more transportation elements are provided by air and one or more by sea. The package is usually combined with local lodging.

All Inclusive – sold for one price that includes charges and fees that are often added separately.

All-inclusive package – A tour package in which most travel elements are purchased for set price. Also called an all-expense package.

Alternative Tourism – Travel that is not conventional in nature, though that is hard to define. It can be a niche kind of tourism.

Alternative Travel – Travel that is not conventional in nature, though that is hard to define. It can be a niche kind of tourism.

Alumni tour – A tour created for customers who have previously traveled with a tour operator. Also called a reunion tour.

Ambassador – The head of a state’s diplomatic mission in another state, usually with offices inside the main embassy.

Amenities – a desirable or useful feature or facility of a building or place

Amenity package – A cluster of special features, such as complimentary shore excursions, bar or boutique credit, or wine at dinner offered to clients on a given tour or cruise, usually as a bonus or extra feature. Usually used to induce clients to book through a particular travel agency or organization.

Amenity – The facilities and features of a property, usually cruise ship, airline or destination accommodation.

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 most stable part of the vessel.

Anniversary travel – a type of milestone travel celebrating a date that is remembered or celebrated because a special or notable event occurred on that date in a previous year, such as a wedding anniversary.

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.

Apron – The area surrounding the gate areas of a terminal, generally used for parking and maintenance of planes.

ARC – Airline Reporting Corporation- the agency that regulates ticket sales and reports to the airlines for travel agencies.

Archipelago – An archipelago is a grouping of islands, essentially. Indonesia and Japan are both archipelago countries.

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

ASC Fee – Administrative Service Charge.  Usually it’s the same as the change fee, or the fee to exchange the ticket for future travel.

AST – Atlantic (or Alaska) Standard Time.

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

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

Attractions – An item or specific interest to travelers, such as natural wonders, manmade facilities and structures, entertainment, and activities.

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

Availability – The total number of seats allowed to be sold at a particular rate.

Average room rate – The total guest room revenue for a given period divided by the number of rooms occupied for the same period.

B&B – A bed and breakfast home or guest house that a proprietor has converted into accommodation(s) for the public. Each room becomes a separate unit for rent and typically breakfast and/or other meals are served as part of the fare.

Babymoon – A relaxing and romantic vacation or getaway taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born.