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Improve your IELTS vocabulary on "Travel & Holidays"

Published on August 6, 2018

Have you been following our blog series on improving your vocabulary for your IELTS? If your answer to this question is yes, then you’re probably already familiar with the practice of creating vocabulary sets on common IELTS topics. This approach to learning new words and phrases will help you to learn relevant vocabulary for your test in a quick and effective way. If you haven’t read our previous posts yet, you can find them here:

  1. Improve your IELTS vocabulary on “Education”
  2. Improve your IELTS vocabulary on “Transportation”
  3. Improve your IELTS vocabulary on “Environment”

Today’s IELTS theme is travel and holidays. Before we look at some suggested vocabulary sets for this topic, we’ll take a few minutes to look at the terms travel and holidays in more detail. Let’s look at a few common collocations with these two words that can help you talk and write on the topic with more flexibility:

travel (verb)

Collocation

Example

travel economy class/first class

I’ve always believed that travelling first class is a waste of money.

travel abroad

Nowadays, many jobs provide the opportunity to travel abroad.

want to/wish to travel

I’ve always wanted to travel across Europe.

go travelling

After finishing college, I went travelling for a year.

travel light

If you’re a business person who travels regularly, you probably know how to travel light.

travel (noun)

Collocation

Example

air/bus/car/train travel

In my opinion, bus travel tends to be convenient but often uncomfortable.

travel arrangements/plans

When going on holiday with my family, I’m usually the one in charge of making all travel arrangements.

business/leisure travel

Business travel can be exhausting or exciting, it depends on how often you have to travel.

travel documents/documentation

The first thing you need to do when planning a trip abroad is to check your travel documents are up to date.

travel agency/agent

It wasn’t that long ago that using a travel agent to make your holiday arrangements was the only way to go.

holiday (noun)

Collocation

Example

holiday destination/resort/venue

It’s hard to say what the best holiday destinations are, as it all depends on what you want from a holiday.

dream holiday

My dream holiday would be a week in Hawaii with my wife.

go on/ take a holiday

In my experience, taking a holiday isn’t always relaxing.

holiday season/period

I usually go back to my home country for the holiday season.

on holiday

We met while on holiday in France.

Vocabulary sets related to travel and holidays

Now that you’re more familiar with some of the most common collocations with the words travel and holiday, it’s time to focus on two sub-topics related to this popular IELTS theme. Remember that you may be asked questions related to travel and holidays at any point during your Speaking test. You might have to talk about your travel experiences, describe your dream holiday, consider travel arrangements and/or explore the topic of foreign travel. You may also be asked to write about travel and holidays for Writing Task 2.

Set 1: Travel & tourism

excursion

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

a short journey or trip usually made for pleasure

collocations:

go on/make an excursion

take somebody on an excursion

arrange/organize an excursion

an excursion to (somewhere)

half-day/full-day/weekend excursion

example:

We decided to go on an all-day excursion to a remote island.

pronunciation:

/ɪkˈskɜː.ʒ ən/

set off

part of speech:

phrasal verb

meaning:

to begin a journey

collocations:

set off for (somewhere)

set off on (something)

example:

Without knowing it, we were setting off on a trip of a lifetime.

pronunciation:

/setˈɒf/

voyage

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

a long journey, usually by ship

collocations:

epic/great voyage

ocean/sea voyage

embark on/go on/set out on a voyage

on a/the voyage

example:

It was an epic voyage across the Atlantic.

pronunciation:

/ˈvɔɪ.ɪdʒ/

Set 2: Travel arrangements

waiting list

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

a list of people who have asked for something that is not available but that might be in the future

collocations:

be on a waiting list

put someone on a/the waiting list

a waiting list for (something)

example:

The flight was full, but I was put on the waiting list in case someone cancelled.

pronunciation:

/ˈweɪ.tɪŋ ˌlɪst/

layover ( also stopover)

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

a stopping place on a journey

collocations:

a layover in (somewhere)

a one-hour, etc. layover

example:

We had a six-hour layover in Dubai since our connecting flight was delayed.

pronunciation:

/ˈleɪˌəʊ.və r/

overbook

part of speech:

verb

meaning:

to sell more hotel rooms, seats on an airplane, etc., than are available

collocations:

overbook a flight/a hotel

example:

A lot of people don’t know that they have a right to compensation if their flights are overbooked.

pronunciation:

/ˌəʊ.vəˈbʊk/


When discussing questions related to travel and holidays, you’ll probably need to use vocabulary from other common IELTS topics as well. For example, you may be asked to talk about the relationship between travel and pollution, or describe the means of transport you used in a particular holiday destination. This is why it’s very important that you explore all of the common IELTS themes presented in this blog when working on improving your vocabulary for the test.

Don’t forget to keep checking our blog for the next IELTS vocabulary theme – health!