Eight Overused Words in Travel That I Never Want to Hear Again

Now that I am doing a Master in tourism, working in the travel industry, do a fair bit of copy-writing, and have friends visiting the city every couple weeks, I just live and breath tourism. When you enter a new industry, your vocabulary and daily lingo changes along with it. Back in my consulting days, the words that came out of my mouth were BS like “synergies”, “best practices”, “leverage”, “wordsmith”, “scalable”, “circle back”, “reach out”, and “follow up”. These words were used to the point that I would wince every time they are uttered (yet be guilty of using them). Now that my consulting days are long gone, I word vomit are a different set of BS.

… Okay, maybe I still use the phrase “follow up” strategically. It’s hard to shake old habits, you know.

I first realized I was a walking diarrhea of tourism clichés when my friend Kristen, visiting Spain for the first time from Boston, told me that she had never heard the adjective “typical” used so many times in a day. I really needed an intervention! Ever since then, I have been trying to purge these overused tourism lingo from my vocabulary…

1. Authentic

Buzzword to sell something to a tourist “This is an authentic Spanish tavern”…

2. Typical

Typical, typical, typical… another word to sell something to a tourist – “This is a typical Spanish dish” “This is a typical Spanish dance”…

3. Local

“Being like a local” is such a big deal such days, staying in AirBnb, looking for local friends on Tinder, finding local spots to eat in, and generally scorning those that hang out with other tourists.

4. Hidden gem

Now that you’re talking about it, maybe it won’t be so hidden anymore.

5. Non touristy

In Barcelona, it’s always a shock to find a restaurant that is not filled out tourists, but to be honest some of the touristy restaurants are the best in the city – for example, the bars in La Boqueria. I mean, that’s probably why they became well-known in the first place.

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6. Experience

Tour implies pre-packaged, massified… but an “experience” is unique.

7. Off the beaten path

A travel cliche that makes you feel cool.

8. Must-see

Exactly why is the Ramblas in Barcelona a must-see???

All these words together in a sentence: Our trip to Barcelona was such an authentic experience… everything we did was off-the-beaten-path, we stayed in a non-touristy part of town, ate typical food like paella, visited authentic Spanish bars, lived like a local for three days in our AirBnb … oh, look at this photo of me at a fountain, that was a hidden gem and it’s a must-see. Oh, how I love Barça! ***buzzing with irony, locals would know why 😉 ***

I am sure that once I point these buzzwords out, you will start to find the words annoying whenever you see them. What is interesting, though, is that they are very indicative of where the travel industry trends are going – Go to “non-touristy” destinations, search for “authentic” food, try “typical” drinks, find “hidden gems” and tick off everything on the “must-see” list. Live “like a local” by having “non-touristy” “experiences” that are “off the “beaten path”.

2 Comment

  1. Hahahahaha, spot on!! “It is touristy”, said the tourist.

  2. Very enjoyable read – TY

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