What are common baby names associated with travel? See listings

Baby Emma, ​​David or Elizabeth? Not for American parents Caitlin and Luke McNeil.

Rather than naming their children after grandparents, biblical figures, or the British monarchy, the couple chose place names that held meaningful travel memories for them.

“It was Kinsale when we were living in Ireland, we vacationed in Kinsale and fell in love with it,” Caitlin said. “Keneland from Kentucky, the first place we spent our vacation together watching horse races.”

And finally there’s Sabi – “from Sabi Sands in South Africa, where we went on our first solo ride without Kinsale.”

McNeals is part of a growing trend of choosing baby names based on travel destinations.

The McNeil family – Kenland, Luke, Sabi, Caitlin, and Kinsale.

Source: Caitlin McNeil

The popularity of “travel-inspired” names increased 14% between 2000 and 2020, according to a study by luggage storage app Bounce. She added that the company compared a short list of destination names and travel-related words with data from the US Census Bureau and the UK’s Office for National Statistics.

The results show an overlap in baby name choices in both countries. However, the trend of naming children after countries and cities is more pronounced in the US than in the UK, even after accounting for differences in population sizes, the study showed.

The most popular ‘travel-related’ baby names

Preston, Israel, Phoenix, and Orlando appear on both lists, but Preston—which means priest’s town—is the most popular overall.

Children’s website The Bump calls this name “old fashioned and a bit weird…although some might see it as an address reserved for the wealthy, Preston is the place name of a town in northern England once best known for its role in the Industrial Revolution.”

American parents of young children tended to prefer local city names, while British parents showed a tendency to search abroad, with names such as Milan, Orlando and Rome topping their list.

Sydney has made a “top ten” list of girl names in both the US and UK, but is more popular with American parents. It is the only name chosen more than 100,000 times in the 20-year period analyzed in the study.

However, Sydney’s popularity is waning in the United States. After peaking in 2002, the name dropped from the 23rd most popular place that year to the 249th place in 2021, according to the US Social Security Administration.

Historically, baby names have been inspired by literary figures, biblical characters, and the British monarchy. Now, there is a growing trend to add travel destinations to the list.

Source: Rhea Hoban

London has also put together a top 10 list of American baby names – for both boys and girls – but they may be too close to home for British parents. It was selected only 220 times in the UK from 2000 to 2020, compared to 44,556 times in the US, according to the study.

Of all the names in the study, Atlas has risen in popularity, according to Cody Candy, CEO of Bounce. He said there were only eight children he named Atlas in 2000, but nearly 2,175 in 2020 – an increase of more than 27,000 percent.

“This may be due to the preference of the fathers for more unique and meaningful names, as Atlas originated from Greek mythology and means ‘endurance,'” he said.

“On the other hand, there are a few names that have fallen in popularity,” he added. “In fact, there were 11 that completely disappeared, and the largest of them was Montreal which went from 23 to 0.”

Baby names that match country names

Rhea and Connor Hoban with their children (from left) Bruno, Joaquin, Budd and India.

Source: Rhea Hoban

“Indus is female for the sake of the river,” said Rhea Hoban. “I accidentally read my items during a night out when I found out I was pregnant, and was told I was a water item.”

“Plus, Connor and I honeymooned in India – Delhi, North and South Goa, Rajasthan and have always been mystified by the region. I have always loved the name Regal and [I’m] A fan of India Heck’s design,” he said, referring to the British designer and a relative of the British royal family.

In both the United States and the United Kingdom, the trend of naming children after countries is more common for girls. With the exception of Israel, Trinidad and Cuba, the names on both lists were either exclusive or more popular choices for girls.

Baby names that match city names

Although London, Kingston (singers Gwen Stefani’s name and Gavin Rossdale’s eldest son) and Paris dominate the lists, one name is noticeably absent from this list: Brooklyn.

Candy said that’s because the study did not include names of suburbs or neighborhoods.

Kandy said that Brooklyn’s popularity skyrocketed after Victoria and David Beckham chose her for their eldest son in 1999.

If the name were included, he said, Brooklyn would be “the second most popular travel-inspired name for girls in the United States, with 75,948 girls named Brooklyn over the past 20 years.” However, the name is less popular, he said — it was only chosen 1,412 times for boys in the United States during the same period.

Candee also said that many names were left out of the analysis for being too commonly used to be inspired by travel. He said those names include Jordan, Madison, Austin and Charlotte.

It is not known to what extent the other names were inspired by travel or some other association the parents may have made with the names.

One example is Hamilton. Although there are towns and cities called Hamilton in Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, the famous Broadway play “Hamilton” or Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton may have inspired some parents to choose the name for their children.

Likewise, it is not known to what extent parents who named their children Paris were inspired by the French capital, by the socialite Hilton, or by Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” – or something else entirely.

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