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WYSE Travel Confederation has compiled a list of key terms used in the youth and student travel industry. These are our working definitions for these terms, plus some of the buzzwords you may encounter when reading about youth travel.

Au pair

A form of cultural exchange whereby a young adult lives with a host family in a foreign country and helps with household tasks or childcare  in exchange for room, board, and a small stipend to cover incidentals during the stay.


A low-cost, independent style of international travel, usually involving a multiple destination journey with a flexible itinerary.

Bleisure / Bizcation

The blurring of business and leisure products, services and experiences.

Booking medium

The channel through which a consumer makes a travel reservation or purchase, whether a remote connection such as a computer linked to broadband Internet or a personal visit to a travel agency.

Booking intermediary

The organisation taking the reservation or purchase from a consumer, such as an Online Travel Agent or travel supplier (airline, hotel, etc.).

Digital nomad

Travellers who use digital technologies to work and/or support a location-independent lifestyle.

Flashpacker (also Poshpacker)

The flashpacker travels in a flexible, low-cost style like a backpacker, but is willing to spend more on travel comforts or conveniences. The poshpacker is similar to the flashpacker, but may be more concerned with the design, status, or uniqueness of travel products.


Fear of missing out – travel stimulated by a fear that you will miss out on special or unique experiences if you do not go. FOMO is particularly linked to the posting of experiences on social media.

Gap year

A ‘break year’ spent travelling, typically between the completion of secondary education and the beginning of tertiary education.

Generations X, Y and Z

Successive generations linked to particular types of lifestyles, attitudes and behaviour. Generation X includes people born between 1966 to 1976, generation Y between 1977 to 1994 and generation Z between 1995 to 2012.


Outdoor camping with a level of amenities and comforts (such as beds, electricity, and access to indoor plumbing) not usually associated with traditional campsites.

Language travel

Youth and student travel with the purpose of learning a language abroad. Long duration trip In this report, a long duration trip is defined as a trip of  more than 7 days.


A term referring to those coming of age around the millennium, usually synonymous with generation Y.

Off the grid / Digital detox

Many people feel harried as a result of constant connectivity and the blurring of work and leisure, so time spent ‘off the grid’ or without an Internet connection can be a way to relax and undergo a ‘digital detox’.

Online Travel Agents (OTAs)

An Online Travel Agent (OTA) is a travel website that specialises in the sale of travel products to consumers.

Purposeful travel

Non-holiday travel with a specific purpose or to follow a programme.

Sharing economy (or Collaborative economy)

Systems that coordinate the acquisition and distribution of travel resources for a fee or other compensation. This includes monetary systems such as Airbnb, Uber and BlaBlaCar as well as non-commercial exchange networks such as Couchsurfing.

Short duration trip

In this report, a short duration trip is defined as a trip of 7 days or less.

Student travel

Youth travel undertaken by young people in full-time education (not necessarily for the purposes of study – see study abroad).

Study abroad

An educational programme in which students attend courses in another country for which they receive academic credit.

Sustainable tourism (also Responsible tourism)

The use of sustainable travel initiatives, or ‘initiatives, products or services designed to take full account of their current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities’ (following the UNWTO definition of sustainable tourism).

Volunteer travel

Youth travel with voluntary work (unpaid work), in most cases provided by a non-profit organisation. The term ‘voluntourism’ is also sometimes used.

Work experience / Work abroad

Travel with the intention to work and experience the culture and life of the host destination. It is usually a paid experience (unlike volunteering). This sector includes, but is not limited to, Work and Travel programmes, Work Experience Abroad, Work & Study, Working Holiday programmes, Internships, Au Pair, Teaching Abroad, Camp Counsellors, etc.

Youth Travel Accommodation (YTA)

Specialist providers of accommodation for youth travellers, such as youth hostels and student residences. Hostels provide budgetoriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge and sometimes a kitchen.

Youth travel

International independent travel for periods of less than one year by people aged 15 to 29 motivated, in part or in full, by a desire to
experience other cultures (including cultural exchange visits), build life experience and/ or benefit from formal and informal learning opportunities outside one’s usual environment.