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. Usually advance purchase comes with a lower price, as well as restrictions or penalties surrounding cancellation or charges.
• All inclusive: These types of hotels and resorts include three meals a day, drinks (often including alcohol) and daily entertainment. Room prices are 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 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, and can sell seats on the other carrier. The traveler may buy a ticket from one airline and fly on another plane. Sometimes code shares also cover other agreements, including frequent flyer benefits.
• Departure tax: Some countries collect a fee 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 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" it's telling us that price is good in one direction and one direction only. That means, in some cases, a return flight may be more expensive. This is especially common on international fares, where the return flight to the U.S. could include higher taxes. A fare advertised as "each way" -- rarely used these days -- communicates that the price is valid in both directions.
• Escorted vs. independent: Escorted tours have a coordinating director who travels with the group throughout the trip, providing sightseeing and travel information along the way. The itinerary is generally schedule-driven. Independent tour or vacation packages are ones in which details such as hotels and transportation are arranged ahead of time, but travelers see the destination at their own pace.
• Hub: These are airports in large cities through which airlines will route many of their flights.
• Land-only: These packages typically include hotel stays and sightseeing tours led by a guide, but do not include flights to or from the destination. Some land-only packages may include domestic flights within the foreign country. Be sure to read carefully what is included in these packages to know what additional expenses will be required.
• 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. While this usually accompanies colder (or hotter) weather, deals are often so good that it's still worth visiting.
• 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 add an additional nightly charge 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. This can be a real sweet spot for planning vacations.
• Single supplement fee: The vast majority of vacation packages are published with prices based on double occupancy. Some companies offer pricing for solo travelers, called a single supplement, 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. A stopover is different from a layover - where you don't leave the airport or check in a second time.
• 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 than what was originally purchased.
• Value-added tax (VAT): A type of tax common in other countries 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 and keep your receipts.
Hilary Solan is an editor at Travelzoo and based in Chicago. Travelzoo has 250 deal experts from around the world who rigorously research, evaluate and test thousands of deals to find those with true value.