18 More Unusual Travel Words That You Should Know

Updated February 8, 2017

More Unusual Travel Words

It’s almost a year since I published 24 Unusual Travel Words You Should Know, and it’s still my most popular post to date! Apparently people can’t get enough of alternative words for travel, especially unusual ones like coddiwomple. After publishing that list of travel words I’ve continued to come across more words to describe our travels in a way that the usual ones just don’t accomplish. I’v been slowly saving them and I finally feel like I’ve got enough unique words about travel to make another post! This one was definitely harder, as I didn’t want to include words we all know now like wanderlust, and instead tried to find truly different words that could relate to travel experiences that I had never heard of or had no clue of the meaning!

I hope you enjoy this list of unique words about travel as much as the last!

More unusual travel words you need to know:

Flâneur (n)

Origin: French

Someone who strolls aimlessly but enjoyably, observing life and the surroundings.

This is what I love to do when I get to a new city, or through the countryside. When we travel we seem to have less worries in general, allowing us to place ourselves more IN the moment. Plus walking a city and people watching is a great way to learn about a new culture!

unusual travel words - flaneur

Nefelibata (n)

Origin: Portuguese

“Cloud-Walker”. One who lives in the clouds of their own imagination, or who does not obey the conventions of society, literature or art. An unconventional person.

Probably the way people have described me on occasion! For those who don’t travel, or don’t know how to begin, the idea can seem fantastical and unconventional. But these days there are so many people breaking free of “cubicle” life and working as digital nomads with the world as their office, working different travel jobssaving to move abroad, or taking a year off to travel. It may be unconventional to some, but for the rest of us, it’s life.

unusual travel words - nefelibata

Brumous (adj.)

Origin: English

Of gray skies and winter days, filled with heavy clouds or fog.

This may be a travel word you only use if you travel to the United Kingdom! It’s well known as the land of rainy days and fog, and I’ve experienced first hand. However, I visited the Isle of Skye, one of the beautiful places in the UK, in the wind and rain and it was no less amazing. So really, I don’t mind if I have to describe some of my travels this way.

unusual travel words - brumous

Vorfreude (n)

Origin: German

The joyful, intense anticipation that comes from imagining future pleasures.

When we book a new trip and in the time before we go, this is the way we often feel. We can think about the people we’ll meet, and all the exciting things we’re going to experience.

unusual travel words - vorfruede

Commuovere (v)

Origin: Italian

Heartwarming, something that stirs and moves you.

I love finding new words that don’t translate into English. This one is a prime example of a word that is difficult to explain, but the best I can do is heartwarming, something that moves you to tears in a good way. Maybe you’re wondering how this relates to travel… crying?! Well, I’ve definitely shed a few tears over travel, from the good to the bad, and I’ve definitely been moved and awed by the things that I’ve seen.

unusual travel words - commuovere

Peregrinate (v)

Origin: Latin

Travel or wander around from place to place.

A pretty simple word that we could use to describe our travels and yet it seems to have fallen out of favour.

“We peregrinated around the Scottish Highlands.” It works right?!

unusual travel words - peregrinate

Nemophilist (n)

Origin: English

A haunter of woods, one who loves the forest and it’s beauty and solitude.

There’s something magical about walking through the woods, and even more so in a foreign country. When I lived in Canada on a study abroad one of my favourite things to do was wander through the huge forests there. So much so new friends and I once got lost for 8 hours…

unusual travel words - nemophilist

Querencia (n)

Origin: Spanish

The place where you are your most authentic self, from where strength is drawn, where you feel at home.

I’m so excited to have a Spanish word, after learning Spanish while giving in Spain. This word comes is related to the verb querer, which is to want or desire. It can be associated with bullfighting, as it is also the name for the area of the bullring where the bull takes it’s stand.

unusual travel words - querencia

Komorebi (n)

Origin: Japanese

The sunlight that filters though the leaves of trees.

If you’re on those forest walks when you’re travelling like above, then this is hopefully what you’ll see! Another unusual word that doesn’t translate directly into an English word.

unusual travel words - komorebi

Hireath (n)

Origin: Welsh

A homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was. The nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.

Homesickness isn’t quite the right translation for this beautiful Welsh word, it’s more than that.

unusual travel words - hireath

Smultronställe (n)

Origin: Swedish

Literally “place of wild strawberries” a special place discovered, treasured, returned to for solace and relaxation; a personal idyll free from stress or sadness.

When I went to Luleå in the north of Sweden last summer we discovered wild strawberries growing on an island in the middle of the archipelago. Thats what I think of when I see this word, because what better place to be? These are often the kind of places we discover when we travel.

unusual travel words - Smultroställe

Mångata (n)

Origin: Swedish

The reflection of the moon on the water.

Something I only seem to see, or see the most when I’m travelling. It reminds me of being by the sea, of the Full Moon Party in Thailand and of the early darkness when I lived in the Gold Coast, Australia.

unusual travel words - mangata

Photophile (n)

Origin: Possibly English or Greek

A person who loves photography and light.

This one is a little in dispute. It could originating from the word for organisms that love light, “photophilic”, but have been adjusted to fit with with photographers too. Or, it could come from the same origins as “hodophile” in that “phos” means light and “philos” means friends. I can’t find concrete evidence either way, but that’s the beauty of finding new words!

Photophiles carry their camera wherever they go, and many travellers now do the same. I used to have an old point and shoot camera, and then I stuck to mostly iPhone before finally getting a “proper” camera. I’ve been testing it out in Spain at places like the Alhambra, and in Portugal around the streets of Lisbon. But there was nothing quite like the midnight sun in Luleå last summer.

unusual travel words - photophile

unusual travel words - photophile

 Dépaysement (adj.)

Origin: French

Feeling that comes from not being in one’s own country. Being out of your element, a fish out of water.

Living abroad has often made me feel like this, especially in the early days. Sometimes we can idealise moving abroad and not realise how it will affect us, but eventually a place will feel like home, even if it’s a different concept of home than before.

unusual travel words - depaysment

Hodophile (adj.)

Origin: Greek

“Lover of roads”. One who loves to travel.

Does this travel word really need an explanation?

unusual travel words - hodophile

Cockaigne (n)

Origin: An English word with French origin

Imaginary land of luxury and idleness; the land of plenty.

This word originates from a medieval myth, a land of plenty where society’s restrictions are defied and the harshness of life in medieval times does not exist. Although we’re not in this time anymore, we could use this word to describe our ideal land of plenty now. One were people are not persecuted for their religion or race, one where equality reigns supreme, maybe one we will all be able to travel to one day?

unusual travel words - cockaigne

Wayfarer (n)

Origin: English

Someone who travels, especially on foot.

Maybe not as unusual a word as some on this list, and one that you may already know. I considered making this my blog name when I started blogging! It’s a word that makes me think of older times when people travelled in a more whimsical way that had nothing to do with social media. You went wherever the wind took you!

unusual travel words - wayfarer

Absquatulate (v)

Origin: North American English

To leave without saying goodbye.

Invented in the US in the 1830s as a word that sounded vaguely latin, to make it seem older. It means to make off with someone or something without having announcing you’re going! The way many of us might feel we want to leave for our travels. No fuss please!

unusual travel words - absquatulate-2

And there you have it! 18 more travel words for your arsenal, to be added to the last 24.

Are any of these new to you? Do you think you could slip them into your next conversation about travel? 

Sonja x

If you liked them, pin them! 

More Unusual Travel Words That You Should Know

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23 Comments

  • Reply Alice Gerard February 8, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    What fun words! I am a wayfarer in search of medieval myths, yet am feeling a bit desolate because I keep trying to go back to a home that no longer exists, if it ever did. I can make up for all of that sadness by being a photophile and documenting adventures in these strange lands!

    • Reply Migrating Miss February 9, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      Haha I love it!!! I’m sure if I actually went around saying these no one would know what I was on about, but I love discovering new words 🙂

  • Reply Roxanne Reid February 11, 2017 at 10:41 am

    I’m a big hodophile! You may be interested to know that there’s a restaurant in Simon’s Town (in greater Cape Town) called Mångata. None of the locals ever remember its name…

    • Reply Migrating Miss February 11, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      That’s really cool! Is it near the sea by any chance?

  • Reply Stephanie Fox February 11, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Ah the one that means ‘cloud walker’ is my favourite! Also like ‘cockaigne’ I would definitely like to live in a luxury land of plenty haha!

    • Reply Migrating Miss February 11, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      I love those ones too! Me too, not much has changed since medieval times in that we all still want that I think 😀

  • Reply Sandy February 11, 2017 at 11:11 am

    I love this! Most of these I’ve never heard of, so cool <3

    • Reply Migrating Miss February 11, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      Thank you! Me neither, but I love finding them!

  • Reply Kiara Gallop February 11, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    I love these! However did you find them all?? I’m definitely a photophile and a flâneaur, and I’m determined to incorporate a lot of the others into my future written and verbal musings about travel 🙂

    • Reply Migrating Miss February 11, 2017 at 6:28 pm

      Slowly collected them from articles and Pinterest mostly!! I had a lot more but they weren’t really related to travel :). I want to try as well, I think it could be done!

  • Reply Harsh February 25, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    hi sonja
    loved ur post ,can you tell me d word for – the reflection of stars on water ..?

    • Reply Migrating Miss February 27, 2017 at 10:45 am

      Thanks! Sorry I’m not sure if there is such a word, I only know the one for the moon! I’ll have a search though 🙂

  • Reply Stavroula March 2, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Thanks for the lovely words you introduced to all us that like traveling. We can now expand our vocabulary and dream more of trips that will follow. I would please “correct” you in one word thout and its origin. Photophile is equally of Greek origin as Hodophile and comes from the word Phos meaning light and the word Philos meaning friend. The combination of them two is exactly what you correctly explained. Someone that loves light or photos. And as we all know there’s no photo if light doesn’t come through a photographic lence! Thanks for your contribution in our traveling vocabulary.

    • Reply Migrating Miss March 3, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      Thanks for your comment! You’re most welcome! I’ve been trying to do some more research on it and I can’t seem to find anything concrete either way, so I’ll update the post to include both :).

  • Reply Rebecca Bourgeois April 6, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Cockaigne, from the French Cocagne…. the origin is not a legend or fable about the land of plenty, but the actual name of the area surrounding Toulouse, “le pays de cocagne”, which made its fortune selling purple coloring and dyes, made from violet flower, the cultivation of which has been for hundreds of years a specialty of that area.

    • Reply Migrating Miss April 6, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks Rebecca! As far as I understand the word was used a lot in medieval times to mean a land of plenty, probably because of the wealth in that area!

  • Reply Zeba July 17, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Thank you for making travelling more excited for me now. I want to immerse myself in peregrination.As of now I am a nefelibata.

  • Reply Kristin F September 19, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Hi, just wanted to say that the spelling is wrong for “smultronställe”. You missed a “N” (I’m Swedish so I know how to spell it). Just thought you might change it to get it correct.

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 19, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks for letting me know!!!! I’ll change it in the article and then in the photo when I get a chance!

  • Reply Ali Armstrong October 8, 2017 at 8:08 am

    thank you for sharing these.. just scrolling through and reading those felt like a beautiful journey.. 💛 xxxxx

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