IELTS Topic: Vacation/Holiday

Vocab & Idioms

Go over the following vocabulary and expressions with your tutor. Read the word/expression and definition out loud, and your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

All-inclusive (adj) – your food, drinks, and hotel room are all included in the price
Sightseeing (n) – the activity of visiting places of interest in a particular location
Resort (n) – a place where people can go on vacations to relax or for an activity they enjoy
Self-guided tour (n) – when you go visit a place of interest without an expert
Guided tour (n) – an organized group shown around a place of interest by an expert
Tour Guide (n) – an expert who takes tourists, usually in a group, to a place of interest
Long weekend (n) – an extended weekend including Friday and/or Monday
Get away (phrasal verb) – go on vacation/holiday or a short break away from home
Set off (phrasal verb) – start a journey or trip
Travel light (idiom) – to bring a few things with you on a trip

Part 1 Questions

Here are possible questions that might come up during the test. Go over them with your tutor.

Topic

  • Why are vacations/holidays important to you?
  • Where do you like to go on vacation/holiday?
  • What do you usually do on vacation/holiday?
  • What do you like to do when you have a day off from work?

Part 2&3 Questions

Here are possible questions that might come up during the test. Go over them with your tutor.

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a tourist attraction you once visited. You should say:
    • When you visited it
    • Where is it situated
    • Who you went with
    • and say what you liked most about it.

Part 3 Questions

  • Is it better to travel alone or with a tour group?
  • What’s makes a tourist attraction popular?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of going on a vacation/holiday during low season?

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a recent vacation/holiday you went on. You should say:
    • where you went
    • when you went there
    • who was with you
    • and explain why you chose that particular place for a vacation/holiday.

Part 3 Questions

  • What are some of the benefits of going away on a vacation/holiday?
  • Why is it not good for holidays to be too long?
  • Why do some people like going to big cities on vacation/holiday?

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a vacation/holiday you want to go on in the future. You should say:
    • where you want to go
    • when you want to go
    • who you want to go with
    • and explain why you want to go on this vacation/holiday.

Part 3 Questions

  • Why do some people prefer to travel within their own country and not abroad?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of booking vacations/holidays online?
  • Do you think people are prepared for emergencies when they go on vacation/holiday?

Sample Answers

Here are some sample answers. Go over them with your tutor.

Part 1 Questions

  • Why are vacations/holidays important to you?
    • They are the times that I can get away from the stress of my work and re-energize myself. There’s nothing like a week off from my hectic work schedule to do anything I want to do. I only wish I had more vacation time.
  • Where do you like to go on vacation/holiday?
    • Well, I like to travel to various destinations. One, in particular, is the mountains about three hours north of my hometown. It’s a place where I can take in the beautiful landscapes and the tranquillity of nature and silence.
  • What do you usually do on vacation/holiday?
    • If I have a long weekend, I like to drive to the shore where I  walk the beach in the early mornings and evenings to find seashells. If it’s a longer vacation, I prefer to fly to a far away destination and go sightseeing and learn about other cultures.
  • What do you like to do when you have a day off from work?
    • Sometimes I like to simply stay at home and relax. Other times I prefer to go out with my friends for lunch or dinner and catch up.

Part 2&3 Answers

Here are some sample answers. Go over them with your tutor.

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a tourist attraction you once visited. You should say:
    • when you visited it
    • where is it situated
    • who you went with
    • and say what you liked most about it.

Just the other day, I was on vacation in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia for a long weekend. I had the opportunity to see the majestic Twin Towers or Petronas Towers. They are two identical skyscrapers side by side in the Kuala Lumpur City Center.

I needed to leave Thailand to renew my tourist visa, so my Thai girlfriend and I decided to go to Kuala Lumpur. We bought a travel package from AirAsiaGo, which is an online travel website. The package consisted of airfare and hotel accommodations. I wish I had a choice for an all inclusive package, but the hotel doesn’t offer that type of package.

The night before our flight we packed our bags. She had a large check in bag and I had a small carry on because I travel light.

After a restless night’s sleep, the day finally arrived for us to leave. I was elated because I needed some R&R, or in words rest and relaxation, after working so much the prior month.

When we arrived in Kuala Lumpur, we headed straight to our hotel to check in. After we checked in, we took the subway to the location of the Twin Towers. Oh, what a sight to see when we first caught a glimpse of the towering skyscrapers! I was amazed at the architecture and pure elegance in front of me.

We walked around the premises taking in the stunning view of the buildings. The surrounding area was full of other tourists and of course pesky locals who were trying to sell souvenirs and take photos of people with the towers for a high price. Anywhere I go on vacation I hate these annoying people.

Overall, the time we spent at the Twin Towers was enjoyable and the sight of the gigantic buildings was highly impressionable. I heard at night the towers are lit up and the view is spectacular. I would recommend this place to all travelers even though it’s a tourist trap.


Part 3 Questions

  • Is it better to travel alone or with a tour group?
    • Everybody is different and they have their own preferences. As far as I’m concerned, either way, it has its pros and cons and one way is not better than the other. Some people say that traveling alone is unsafe and that they would never do it. I, on the other hand, disagree because traveling in a small or large group can be dangerous too. Yes, I agree it can be more dangerous traveling solo sometimes, but one has to take precautions like not walking dark streets alone at night, hitching a ride with a stranger, or staying in high-risk neighborhoods. The same goes when traveling in a larger group.
  • What’s makes a tourist attraction popular?
    • I never considered this question before. I need some time to think a little……umm. I believe it has to do with what the place offers. For instance, take Machu Picchu in Peru. Thousands of people all over the world travel there because of its historical background of being the “Lost City of the Incas”. In addition, it has breathtaking views and ancient ruins. Now take the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Thousands of people pilgrimage there every year for religious reasons. I’m sure there are other motives that make a place a tourist trap, but these were the only ones I could think of.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of going on a vacation/holiday during low season?
    • Right off the bat, It’s definitely advantageous to go on vacation during the non-peak season because the costs for plane tickets, accommodations, and tour packages are less expensive. However, the weather may wreck havoc on your travel plans. I remember going to the beach one year during the low season and it rained almost every day. Another downside is that the local businesses might not be operating due to a lot fewer vacationers. Speaking for myself, I prefer to go on vacation during low season to avoid the crowds and high prices. I can find activities to do even when businesses are closed for the season.

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a recent vacation/holiday you went on. You should say:
    • where you went
    • when you went there
    • who was with you
    • and explain why you chose that particular place for a vacation/holiday.

I’m going to talk about a 4-day group tour I took with my Thai girlfriend and approximately 20 of her co-workers and family to Taipei Taiwan 2 months ago.

First of all, I’m not a big fan of large group trips because you are not free to do what you want. You have to stick to the itinerary and do what is pre-planned with the tour guide. Even though it was a group trip, I still had a good time and saw another country I never been to.

During the tour, we traveled around Taiwan on a tour bus and visited several tourist destinations like Moon Lake, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, and Taipei 101. There were some other places such as a market and Buddhist temple, but I don’t remember the names. Before I forget to tell you, Taipei 101 is the tallest skyscraper in Taiwan.

Out of all the places we visited, Moon Lake was the best because the lake view is surprisingly beautiful and the landscape with the rolling mountains in the background is mesmerizing. Additionally, we took a boat ride to the other side of the lake to climb a long set of stairs to an old temple.

The highlight of the trip was a chance to meet up with an online English student of mine. We met at a Starbucks Cafe and spent an hour talking and learning more about each other face to face. What an amazing feeling to see one of your online students in person, especially when you are from different ends of the world.

If I have the chance to go back to Taiwan, I will in a heartbeat. However, the next time will be a vacation that I plan and go on by myself or with my girlfriend. This way I can do what I want and not have to worry about adhering to the strict group tour itinerary.


Part 3 Questions

  • What are some of the benefits of going away on a vacation/holiday?
    • First and foremost, it’s the best way to relief stress from work. I can’t think of a better way to lower work-related stress. Next, it helps to get away from the rat race of your daily routine. I need a change of scenery sometimes. Lastly, scientific research has proven that rest and relaxation help lower heart disease, nervous breakdowns, and high blood pressure.
  • Why is it not good for holidays to be too long?
    • The biggest reason I can come up with is it’s too expensive. Take for example my vacation last year. I went to Costa Rica for an extended vacation and, In the end, my expenses for round-trip airfare, the resort, food, and other living expenses totaled around $3,000. I was lucky that I could afford it at the time. Also, I’d say that a prolonged getaway may become boring for some people. I heard some of my friends say that they get bored while on holiday.
  • Why do some people like going to big cities on vacation/holiday?
    • As for me, I’d rather go on a retreat to an isolated place somewhere off the beaten path such as a mountain lodge overlooking a crystal clear lake and a scenic view of green mountains. As for others, they need the hustle and bustle of the city because it offers a glamorous nightlife filled with bright lights and lots of people. I do have to agree that going to the city is ok once in awhile because I can go sightseeing to many historical places.

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a vacation/holiday you want to go on in the future. You should say:
    • where you want to go
    • when you want to go
    • who you want to go with
    • and explain why you want to go on this vacation/holiday

Wow, there are so many places I want to travel to before I die. Right now at the top of my list is Iceland. I know, it’s like arctic cold there, but I heard people say it’s an awesome destination for its rugged snow capped mountains and flickering starry night skies.

Without a doubt, I want to go on vacation there for at least 2 weeks with some of my adventurous friends who share the love of the outdoors as me. Actually, I don’t think 2 weeks is enough, although staying longer would be too expensive for me. I heard from other people who traveled there that it’s not a cheap place to visit.

While we are there I think we will take some guided tours to the countryside to see the picturesque landscapes and maybe even some of the wildlife. I don’t think it’s wise to go traveling to the frozen tundra without an expert local guide.

When we are in the capital city of Reykjavík, we will take some self-guided tours to see some of the historical buildings and eat at some of the local restaurants to sample some of the traditional cuisines.

I don’t have the entire trip planned yet, especially what we will see and do. It’s all in my imagination based on what other people told me about their vacation there, looking at photos on the internet, and reading about it on Tripadvisor.

I think after my Aunt and Uncle told me about their vacation in Iceland, I have this itch to go, especially to see the eye-catching Northern Lights. I’m sure I can bear the frigid climate. I will stay warm in the hotel by the fireside and sip hot chocolate or coffee all day. I can’t wait to go!


Part 3 Questions

  • Why do some people prefer to travel within their own country and not abroad?
    • I suspect that they fear what they will encounter in another country, or maybe they don’t have enough money to travel. I’ll say for sure the former. I guess they are insecure when it comes to other cultures and people not like them. Whatever the reason, they are missing out on a world filled with adventurous places to see and wonderful people to meet. I hope one day they can set off and encounter another country to see what they are missing.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of booking vacations/holidays online?
    • Hmmm, I’m not really sure about this question? I need a little time to gather my thoughts…..Well, being that there are many travel apps available, I’d say that’s one benefit. As a result, more and more travelers book their vacations online. I too, book my travel using the internet and I wouldn’t do it any other way because I control and manage my decisions. So, if I pick an awful hotel, I have only me to blame. Alternatively, I believe some vacationers like the personal touch travel agents provide them. Also, they don’t have to stress out making the arrangements.
  • Do you think people are prepared for emergencies when they go on vacation/holiday?
    • I for one don’t think I’m ready if an accident would occur while vacationing. I think most people don’t even think about it themselves when they are out of town. I would say though, everybody should have a plan in case an unfortunate event would occur. Things like travel insurance, emergency contacts and numbers, and maybe even life insurance should be included in the plan.

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

cambly-practice-button2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s