The International Travel Center

Plan your vacation or business trip!

Travel is the movement of people (in vehicles such as airplanes, boats, trains and other conveyances) between relatively distant geographical locations for any purpose and any duration. As an activity, “travel” also covers all the activities performed during a travel (movement).

The term “travel” originates from the Old French word travail. Most travel is done for recreation or to visit friends and family (sometimes as part of tourism). Travel may occur by walking or human-powered mode, or through mechanical vehicles, either as private or public transport.

Travel may be local, regional, national (domestic) or international. In some countries, non-local internal travel may require an internal passport, while international travel typically requires a passport and visa.

Call it a trip, vacation, tourism or what you may, you will need lodging, and, perhaps, transportation.

Booking or reserving the accommodation

It is best, if possible, to book your lodging accommodation in advance. At peak times of the year – holidays, for example – lodging may be hard to find. Even during non-peak times, a place to stay can be difficult to find due to conventions and other events that may be happening in the area you wish to visit.

So you are going to visit some other country and want to know what their hotels, motels and lodgings are called? Getting down to it, if it looks like a hotel, or even if it doesn’t, stop and ask. If you’re wrong, most people are willing to help lost tourists, and they might just find you a place with a name you’ve never heard of… who cares if it’s called by some other name?

Anyway, here is a bit of information that might be useful.

In English speaking countries:

  • In the United States, you might want to look for a “lodge” or an “inn” or a “motel” or a “motor inn”.
  • In the United Kingdom, you can look for any of the above and add “pubs” to the mix.
  • Also note that in both of these English speaking countries and others, an inn, lodge, or pub may only serve food and not have rooms at all.

In France and French speaking countries:

  • Hotel is common terminology in France, but to complicate things…. “Hotel de Ville” is the city hall in Paris and many other French cities.

    There are a variety of terms you might come across in France. Look for “l’hostellerie”, “auberge”, or “residence”. You might also look for big chains like Novotel.

    If you desire the high end digs, look for a castle or manor house that may be listed as “Relais & Chateaux” which is the name of a high end chain of castles, and manor houses. You may see individual establishments called just a “Chateau.”

    “Logis” are smaller lodging places. And if you see something advertised as a “Mas”, you might be looking at a farmhouse style of accommodations. Just so you are aware, a Mas can be self-catering or have full luxurious amenities.

In Italy and nearby counties:

  • “Albergo” means hotel in Italian. Also look for “Locanda”. “Pensione” may sound like they would be B&Bs; they are actually small albergos that are usually family run. For the high-end, you can look for “Palazzos”. For interesting rural experiences, look for “agriturismos.”

In German speaking countries:

  • Look for a “gasthof” or “gasthaus”. They may or may not have an accompanying sign that reads “zimmers”.

    If you’re looking for a spa resort, you might look for something with “Bad” (bath) in the name. A small local place might be called a “pension”.

In Spain:

  • Find one of their “Paradors” and stay in one. These are historic buildings, monasteries and castles that have been restored and now function as great places for tourists to stay. Other terms you should look for are “residencia” and “pension”.

In Portugal:

  • As in Spain, look for stays in historic buildings. They are called “Pousadas” in Portugal. There are also small inexpensive local places to stay called “pensoes”.

In some European countries you may see “hotel garni” or just “garni”. These have limited restaurant facilities (usually breakfast only) and other services, but are otherwise like other hotels and are rated by star systems in each country where you encounter them. So there you have it.

Travel safety:
It’s important to take precautions to ensure travel safety. When traveling abroad, the odds favor a safe and incident-free trip, however, travelers can be subject to difficulties, crime and violence. Some safety considerations include being aware of one’s surroundings, avoiding being the target of a crime, leaving copies of one’s passport and itinerary information with trusted people, obtaining medical insurance valid in the country being visited and registering with one’s national embassy when arriving in a foreign country. Many countries do not recognize drivers’ licenses from other countries; however most countries accept international driving permits. Automobile insurance policies issued in one’s own country are often invalid in foreign countries, and it’s often a requirement to obtain temporary auto insurance valid in the country being visited. It’s also advisable to become oriented with the driving rules and regulations of destination countries. Wearing a seat belt is highly advisable for safety reasons and because many countries have penalties for violating seat belt laws.

For information on travel bans and warnings, visit these sites:

What do you think?