Okay, travel slang. These are some words and phrases that are useful when talking about travel, and, they’re slang terms. They’re very casual in usage.
So, the first one is “travel bug.” Travel bug. Bug is another word for insect, and if you catch the travel bug, or if you have the travel bug, it means that you are full of desire to travel, so if you catch the travel bug, kind of like catching an illness, or catching a cold, if you catch the travel bug, that means you’re ready to travel. You’re really excited about traveling, you want to go many places.
Have you ever caught the travel bug? It’s kind of an exciting feeling. You want to go places, and do things, and explore. I know a few people who have the travel bug right now. I’m not one of them, but if I had more time, perhaps I too would catch the travel bug. Have you ever caught the travel bug?
All right, another way of expressing this very same kind of concept is to have “itchy feet.” Do you have itchy feet? Of course, if something is itchy, it means you want to scratch it, so if my head is itchy, I want to scratch my head, so if you have itchy feet, that means your feet are kind of agitated, you want to scratch them, and basically, what it means is your feet have a desire to move, and if your feet have a desire to move, it means you want to travel, you want to go. You want to be out and about, doing things. You have itchy feet.
Do you know someone who has itchy feet? Do you have itchy feet right now? When I was younger, I definitely had itchy feet, and I traveled all over, in my younger days.
Okay, the next one is “straight shot.” A straight shot. What do you think that is? Well, we use this when we’re trying to describe a path of travel, a path of travel, where you’re going from A, point A to point B, and if it’s a straight shot, it means there are no interruptions. It is from A to B, without any stopovers, or layovers. It’s just a straight shot. If you want to fly from Paris to New York, it’s generally a straight shot, a nonstop flight across the Atlantic. Yep, it’s a straight shot across the Atlantic.
The opposite of a straight shot would be a path on your journey that has many stopovers, many layovers, many detours. If you’re driving a car, a straight shot would be a stretch of road where you can go from A to B without any lights, without any, you know, turns, it’s just a straight shot, right? So, you can use that when describing a journey, the path of a journey, without any interruptions, like this, okay?
Now, speaking of flights, sometimes a flight is termed a red-eye flight. A red-eye flight. So, if you imagine someone with red eyes, what kind of flight would give a person red eyes? I recently took a red-eye flight, to get to the location where I am now, and it means a flight that goes overnight, or very, very late at night, which causes you to lose sleep, and sometimes when people lose sleep, their eyes turn red, right? They get bloodshot, bloodshot eyes, right?
So a red eye is a typically a flight, I guess you could use this term with a train, but it’s typically, or a bus, but it’s typically used with flying, with airplanes, a red-eye flight.
Okay, now on to cars, a road trip, to take a road trip. Let’s take a road trip. It means to travel by car, and generally, it has kind of a fun meeting to it. A road trip is not when you are commuting to work, or if you’re traveling on business. That’s not really a road trip. A road trip is when you’re traveling for fun, by car, with friends or family, and you’re having a really good time. Let’s take a road trip. It has a real positive kind of happy feeling to it.
When you take a road trip, you need to be careful to avoid rush hour, when you pass through big cities, because at rush hour, and rush hour is the time of the day that happens twice a day, usually in the morning, between seven and eight o’clock, and in the afternoon, between, I don’t know, five and six o’clock in the evening. It depends on what culture you’re in. This is the time when people are going to work in the morning, and getting out of work in the evening, and the traffic becomes really heavy. You see traffic jams, there are long waits to get on and off expressways, and major roads. Not a good time to get stuck in traffic, so you want to avoid the rush hour, the rush hour. What time is the rush hour in your city?
Now, when you’re taking a road trip, you wanna have fun, but sometimes, you might be in a car with a backseat driver. What’s a backseat driver, right? If you imagine that concept for a moment, imagine a person sitting in the back seat, and driving the car from the back seat. Of course, that’s the literal meaning, but that’s not actually what it means.
A backseat driver is a person who will, tries to control what the driver is doing, through speaking. “Oh, turn left here,” or, “You should speed up,” or, “Yeah, that’s not the right way to go,” or, “Stay away from that car,” you know, "You gotta leave more distance “between the car in front of you.” “Don’t break so hard,” right? “Don’t speed here.” They’re constantly telling the driver what to do, and, of course, if you’re a driver, you don’t want to hear this. It gets annoying, and gets on your nerves.
So, do you know anyone who is often a backseat driver? My dad sometimes is a backseat driver. He’ll, he won’t let my mother just drive the car in peace. He’s trying to tell her what to do. I’m sure you know some backseat drivers in your life, or maybe you, yourself, are a backseat driver.
The next is a “pit stop.” If you’re on a road trip, you’re definitely going to need to make a pit stop from time to time, and that just means a rest. You take a rest. You don’t, if you’re driving from one city to another, along the way, especially if it’s a long journey, you’re going to need to take a rest. You need to go to the toilet, you need to get some food, you need to stretch your legs. That’s making a pit stop.
Why is it called a pit stop? Well, this actually, this term comes from the world of car racing, and in car racing, there’s an area, where cars, racing cars pull off of the track, and they pull in, and their car gets serviced by their team, they change the tires, they put new gasoline in, whatever, they fix up the car, and they do it quickly, but that area is called the pit, so to make a pit stop in racing means to quickly get your car refurbished, so they can get back out on that race track as quickly as possible, but we’ve borrowed this term, and we use it in our daily lives, “to make a pit stop.” While we’re traveling, we stop, and we get what we need, we rest up a little bit, and then we continue onward. So, make a pit stop, let’s make a pit stop.
Another way that this slang term is used, it can also be a euphemism, right? A euphemism is a term that is used to imply a different meaning. It can be a euphemism for, “I need to go to the toilet.” “I need to make a pit stop,” right? "Hey, can we pull off at this exit? “I need to make a pit stop.” It means, I need to go to the toilet. So, that’s another way you can use pit stop.
Now, sometimes, when people make a pit stop, they visit a greasy spoon. What is a greasy spoon? Right, if you imagine a spoon, that has lots of grease on it, or, you know, butter or oil, or something on the spoon, it’s a greasy spoon. But, what this actually means, is a restaurant or a diner or a cafe where the food is really cheap, not great quality, but very, very greasy, where, usually when you hear the term, “greasy spoon,” you think of a restaurant that serves things like, you know, eggs and sausage and bacon and hamburgers and pancakes, and all this food that has lots of oil and grease in it. They’re usually cheap places. You’ll often find greasy spoons on the highway, especially in American culture. People spend a lot of time in their cars, and they’ll pull off on an exit, and there’ll almost always be a greasy spoon, or a fast food restaurant there, so greasy spoon.
We wouldn’t use greasy spoon to refer to a fast food restaurant, by the way. They’re a different genre of restaurants, so fast food are things like McDonalds, and Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Burger King, etc. A greasy spoon is a diner, it’s a restaurant that might be a chain restaurant, it might not be a chain restaurant, but it’s not fast food. You have to sit down, you usually order, sometimes they have a counter, sometimes they have a booth, but there’s usually a waitress, or a waiter, at a greasy spoon, okay? You don’t find waiters and waitresses at fast food restaurants.
Okay, now, on the road trip, you might have to visit a motel. What’s the difference between a motel and a hotel? Well, basically, the term, “motel,” comes from “motor,” as in car, or truck, hotel. Motel, it’s a motel, and this is a hotel that is, you know, specifically built for the purpose of drivers who are on road trips, or who might be traveling for business, or whatever, to sleep over, right? The night, or get rest during their travels.
Almost always, motels are one level, and you can drive your car right up to the room. You can park right in front of your room door. This is typical in the United States. Perhaps other countries have motels. I’m sure they call them by different names, right, but in North America we use the term, “motel,” to refer to a hotel that is, you can drive your car right up to the room, and you have easy access to it.
roach motel/seedy motel
Now, some motels are of higher quality than other motels, so if you stay in a really lowquality, cheap motel, it might not be very clean. It could be quite dirty, actually, and we call those cheap, dirty motels, we call them roach motels, right? A roach motel, or a seedy motel.
So, if you stay in a roach motel, or a seedy motel, it means a very low-quality, kind of dirty, rundown motel. It’s gonna be very cheap, but not so clean. You might get bed bugs from staying in a seedy motel, right? So, you might want to avoid seedy motels, unless you’re desperate, okay.
Also, another slang term that we use, not just in travel, but we can use this in daily life too, is, and I like this one, it’s an American one. The boondocks. The boondocks. What are the boondocks? The boondocks are places that are very countryside, that are away from the cities. It’s just, it means a very countryside location that’s away from all technology, and all the bright lights and big sounds of the city. It’s the boondocks, right? It’s way out in the middle of nowhere. Those are the boondocks. Sometimes we call them “the boonies.”
Do you know anyone who lives in the boonies? When you go out into the boonies, or into the boondocks, you tend to see a lot of nature, a lot of farming, you know, you meet different type of people that live in the big city, and the boondocks. Some people prefer to live and or travel in the boondocks. Others prefer the comforts of the big city, right? Do you live in the boondocks, or do you know someone who lives in the boondocks?
All right, finally, when someone is departing on a journey, whether it’s travel for pleasure or travel for business, you can say, of course, “Goodbye,” or “Good luck.” “Have a good trip,” but there’s a few slang terms you can also use. One of them is, “Happy trails.” Happy trails. Right, that’s a very American slang way of saying, “Have a nice trip.” Of course, “trail,” is a path, and “happy trail” is you’re wishing someone happiness on their path, on their journey. Happy trails. There was actually a famous song. I think it was by Gene Autry, but I’m not sure, called Happy Trails. Happy trails to you. Right, happy trails.
Another one you can say is, “Godspeed.” Godspeed. Now that one is, has a slightly different feeling to it. It’s more of a, if you say, “Godspeed” to someone, it means, you know, may you be successful on your journey. May you travel quickly without any problems, get to where you need to go, and do what you need to do. It has a little bit more of a serious feeling to it than “happy trails.” “Happy trails” is kind of a very, well, happy thing to say. It’s a very casual thing to say. “Godspeed” is a little bit more serious, right? Yeah, it’s kind of like wishing that someone has no problems on their journey, but in a serious way. “Godspeed to you, godspeed.” Right?
If someone, let’s say someone’s loved one is sick, in the hospital, and they live far away, and, let’s say it’s your best friend, and he’s going to visit his mother who’s sick in the hospital, and she lives, you know, a long journey away, you can say to your friend, you wouldn’t say, “Happy trails.” You’d say, "Hey, godspeed. “I wish you the best on your journeys,” right? "I hope your mother is going to be okay. “Godspeed.” And if you think about it, “God” and “speed.” Like, to travel quickly, with God, with the support and help of God, go and do what you need to do. Okay, godspeed, like this.
All right, so those are some slang terms that you can use when talking about travel, they’re related to travel, and as with everything that we teach you here at Deep English, remember, you’ve gotta use it, or you will lose it. Don’t lose it, use it. Okay.