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Welcome to our four-part series on expanding your vocabulary for the IELTS exam. Don’t forget to check out the other three posts:

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)



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)



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)l

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)



go on/have/take a holiday

I haven’t taken a holiday since I started my own business.

holiday destination

n 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)



holiday in (somewhere)

We are holidaying in Mexico this year.

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


part of speech


common collocations



campground (or campsite)


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.




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.




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


part of speech


common collocations





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.


in season (antonym: out of season)


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.




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.



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 in this article.