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Expand Your IELTS Vocabulary – Travel & Holidays

If you’ve been following our previous posts on expanding your IELTS vocabulary, then you know that creating vocabulary sets on common IELTS themes is an effective way to learn new words and phrases for your test. If you haven’t read the other posts yet, let me suggest taking a few extra minutes to read them first and get familiar with this useful approach to learning relevant vocabulary for your IELTS:

Post 1: Expanding your IELTS Vocabulary – Education

Post 2: Expanding your IELTS Vocabulary - Transportation

Post 3: Expanding your IELTS Vocabulary - Environment

In this post, we’ll be exploring the topic of travel and holidays. Once again, we’ll present you with important sub-topics for your vocabulary sets and suggested vocabulary items to get you started. However, this time we’ll begin by focusing on the words ‘travel’ and ‘holiday’ and their collocations, to make sure that you can use these important terms flexibly on your IELTS:

travel (noun)

Collocation Example
travel documents Once I forgot my travel documents and I missed my flight.
air/rail/space travel Air travel today is easier and more affordable than ever before.
overseas/international/foreign travel International travel allows us to see the world and learn about different cultures.
leisure/holiday travel In my experience, holiday travel with small children is often stressful.
travel arrangements/plans Making travel arrangements requires thorough planning: choosing travel dates, making reservations and planning activities.
travel agency/agent I have used travel agencies to help me plan trips in the past, but I prefer to do it myself.

travel (verb)

Collocation Example
travel abroad
Travelling abroad has made me better appreciate my home country.
travel on business As a sales representative, I have to travel on business from time to time.
travel to (somewhere) I’ve always wanted to travel to Australia.
travel around/across/through (somewhere) We travelled through Portugal and into Spain.
travel by air/train/car/on foot We decided to travel by train since none of us wanted to drive
travel light I always try to travel light.
travel the world I wish I could travel the world.

holiday (noun)

Collocation Example
go on/have/take a holiday I haven’t taken a holiday since I started my own business.
holiday destination In my opinion, tropical islands make for the best holiday destinations.
holiday arrangements/plans I believe that proper holiday arrangements are essential to making sure that everything goes smoothly on your holiday.
holiday photos/pictures People are often more concerned about taking the perfect holiday photo than enjoying the moment
summer holiday Summer holidays are usually enjoyable and fun-filled.
camping/skiing holiday I learned to ski on my first skiing holiday in Canada.

holiday (verb)

Collocation Example
holiday in (somewhere) We are holidaying in Mexico this year.


Vocabulary sets related to travel & holidays

Now that we have looked at using the words ‘travel’ and ‘holiday’ in a variety of contexts, it’s time to explore two relevant sub-topics that can also help you to talk or write about travel and holidays on your IELTS. Keep in mind that this common theme may come up in any of the three parts of the Speaking module of the test: from talking about your travel experiences, to describing your dream holiday, to discussing international travel in more depth. In addition, you may have to write about travel and holidays for Writing Task 2. 

1. Tourism & holidays

word/phrase part of speech meaning common collocations example pronunciation
campground (or campsite) noun a place where people can camp when on holiday forest/beach/lake/ mountain/river campground, family campground What I like the most about spending the summers in BC is its many beautiful family campgrounds. /ˈkæmp.ɡraʊnd/
touristy adjective a place where a lot of tourists go and it has many things for them to buy and do (often seen as something negative) touristy area/place/town My hometown used to be a pretty little town, but now it’s become very touristy. /ˈtʊr.ɪ.sti/
ecotourism noun going on holiday to places of natural beauty in a way that causes less damage to the environment ecotourism industry, ecotourism destination, encourage ecotourism, The ecotourism industry keeps growing as more and more people become aware of how damaging tourism can be to the environment.


2. Holiday arrangements

word/phrase part of speech meaning common collocations example pronunciation
book verb to arrange to have a seat, room, etc. at a specific time in the future book a flight/tickets/seats/a room, book early/in advance, book in/into (somewhere), be  booked up/be fully booked We wanted to stay at a hotel downtown but they were fully booked. /bʊk/
in season (antonym: out of season) noun at the time of year when people want to travel or take a holiday

other collocations with ‘season’:

holiday/summer/tourist season, high season, low season, off-season

Naturally, hotel rooms are much more expensive in season. /ˈsiː.zən/
rental noun an arrangement to rent something such as a house, car or bike house/property rental, car/bike/boat rental, rental company When planning a holiday, I always look for house rentals near the city. /ˈren.t̬əl/

Finally, it's likely that you’ll need to also use vocabulary from other common IELTS themes when talking about travel and holidays. For example, you may need to use vocabulary related to transportation when talking about getting to and from a holiday destination. Or you may be asked to talk about the impact of travel and tourism on the environment, in which case you’ll be required to use words and phrases related to the environment. So make sure you focus not just on one or two common IELTS themes when working on expanding your vocabulary for the test, but on all of the topics presented to you on this blog.

Stay tuned for our next post on health!

By Andrea Castro

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