CNN  — 

As more and more countries reopen their borders to eager tourists, a trendy new phrase has emerged on social media: revenge travel.

The term has been used to describe trips as varied as family reunions, big splurge vacations and re-visits to favorite places, which leads to one question: so, what is it?

“Revenge” generally has a negative connotation, which contradicts the joyful, excited feeling so many people have about making their first vacation in two-plus years.

But the idea of “revenge travel” seems to be more about loving to travel rather than expecting a specific destination to make amends. Unless, say, Romania stole your girlfriend or Peru got you fired from your job, it sounds strange to take revenge on a place.

Perhaps “revenge travel” can be interpreted as getting revenge against the pandemic, or against Covid itself.

No. Really. What is it?

“Revenge travel is a media buzzword that originated in 2021 when the world began to reopen, and people decided to make up for lost time,” says Erika Richter, vice president of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA).

Part of the problem is that there isn’t one good way to describe the current mood of travel around the globe. “Post-pandemic travel” isn’t quite accurate, since the pandemic isn’t over in many places. Different countries and regions are operating on different timelines, with some eliminating all barriers to entry while others remain strictly controlled or even closed to foreign visitors.

Richter agrees with the overall sentiment behind the concept, even if she doesn’t use the term “revenge travel.”

“It’s another way of saying, “Hey, life is short. I want to book that trip. I want to spend more time with family. I want to connect with humanity and with nature. I want to explore the world and seek experiences that make me feel alive.”