Passing the IELTS speaking test with a good grade will depend on your ability to answer the questions using appropriate vocabulary in the correct context.
Collocations are words that naturally combine to form a phrase.
These words when used in combination make the English speaker sound more fluent and natural. This is why you should be learning collocations under various subject headings to help you do well in the IELTS speaking test.
Answering questions about travel and holidays
It’s always a good idea to start with what you enjoy. What’s your favourite holiday destination or holiday resort? Is there a well-known tourist attraction or popular holiday destination in your country you could talk about? What is the main holiday period in your country or in your region? What tourist attractions are most popular during the national holidays?
These topics are so popular in the IELTS speaking test. They can be used to answer questions on lots of different themes (an interesting day, a terrible experience, your birthday for example).
But what if you’ve never been to a foreign country or on a guided tour? It doesn’t matter at all. Remember that you don’t have to tell the truth in an IELTS exam – you can say anything you like. Perhaps you heard a great story about a wildlife safari or a beach off the beaten track from one of your friends or family members and you get a question asking about YOUR favourite holiday – well, then your IELTS speaking exam should be easy!
Examples of questions about holiday travel
Part 1 Questions
Examiner: Where do you like to travel during the holidays?
Answer: I like to travel abroad but international travel can be expensive, so I usually plan affordable travel. Travelling to holiday destinations when it is out of season saves a lot of money. Out-of-season travel is also the best way to avoid places that are swarming with tourists.
Examiner: What are your favourite holiday pastimes?
Answer: I like to get away from it all. I look for exotic destinations with scenic views that are off the beaten track. I’d love to go on a wildlife safari! I tend to avoid guided tours and packaged deals as I prefer to go sightseeing on my own.
Examiner: How do you plan and prepare for your holiday?
Answer: I always do my research because I know exactly what I like. I thumb through holiday brochures and check travel sites like Airbnb on the Internet. I’m drawn to spectacular beaches and lush forests. I usually make advance reservations for self-catering accommodation.
Part 2 style questions
Examiner: Describe one of your best travel experiences.
This type of question supports a when, where and who reply.
Answer: Last year a friend and I took a long-haul flight to Peru. We were travelling light so we were able to really get around. We stayed in quaint villages and hiked through lush rainforests. We were determined to do as the locals do, rather than go on guided tours, so we stayed with local people for part of the trip.
We visited colourful craft markets and brought back souvenirs, to remind us of our trip. One of my most memorable experiences was to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is a little bit off the beaten track but it is surrounded by great scenic beauty and magnificent landscapes.
Examiner: Describe a city that you think is interesting.
You should say:
- where it is
- what it is famous for
- how you knew this city
- explain why you think it is very interesting
Read and listen to the sample answer here.
Examiner: Describe a tradition in your country.
You should say:
- what it is
- who takes part in it
- what activities there are
- explain how you feel about it
Read and listen to the sample answer here.
Part 3 style questions
Examiner: What type of holiday destination do you think attracts most tourists?
Answer: I know that many people are drawn to wildlife safaris. This is certainly one of the big attractions in Africa. In Europe and Asia, the stunning architecture, museums and arts and culture attract thousands of tourists every year.
Examiner: Do you think that the tourism industry will continue to grow in the next two decades?
Answer: I do. Many European and Asian countries have aging populations who will have time on their hands in the future. Many of them are likely to seek holiday destinations around the world. Today there are many affordable destinations that offer good value for money.
Examiner: What do you think your country could do to attract more tourists?
Answer: My country has stringent visa regulations. If these were relaxed, I think that more visitors would choose to visit. We have an efficient public transport, plenty of accommodation and natural and historical places of interest.
IELTS Vocabulary to talk about Cities
- add to (its) attraction: make it more attractive
- thriving: lively and successful
- hustle and bustle: full of movement and noise
- a craze: an activity that suddenly becomes very popular
- a (holiday) resort: a popular destination for holidays
- a fascinating mix: different elements that go together really well
- steeped in history: full of history
- ultra-modern: very recent and new
- know like the back of (your) hand: be very familiar with, know everything about
- a home from home: a place where you feel very happy and comfortable
- tourist hot spots: places very popular with tourists
- soak up the atmosphere: observe and enjoy what’s happening around you
- a bit pricey: quite expensive
- easy going: relaxed, without pressure
- blend in: easily fit in with other people
IELTS Vocabulary about Travel
- Affordable destinations – Places within a reasonable price range
- Affordable travel – Travel which is within your price range
- Around the world – In all corners of the globe
- Arts and culture – The art, music and other cultural aspects of an area
- Craft markets – Stalls where goods made by the local people are sold
- Do as the locals do – Enjoy the activities as the local people do
- Efficient public transport – A functioning transport system intended for the use of residents and visitors
- Exotic destinations – Unusual or strange holiday destinations
- Get around – Get from place to place
- Guided tours – Walking, hiking or driving visits led by a guide who knows the area
- Holiday brochures – Pamphlets advertising holiday destinations
- Holiday destination – Place to which you leave on holiday
- Long-haul flights – Long distance flights
- Lush rainforests – Luxuriant equatorial forests
- Magnificent landscapes – Impressive scenery
- Make advance reservations – Booking ahead of time
- Memorable experiences – Activities that you will remember for years
- Off the beaten track – A place that is not on the main thoroughfare
- Out of season – Outside the most popular holiday period
- Packaged deals – Travel deals that are put together by an agency and sold as a package
- Quaint villages – Old-fashioned or charming small towns
- Scenic views – Lovely scenes
- Self-catering accommodation – A Place to stay where you see to your own food
- Spectacular beaches – Impressive sandy shorelines
- Stunning architecture – Magnificent buildings
- Swarming with tourists – Full of holidaymakers
- Time on their hands – Available time to do as you choose
- To get away from it all – To get away from everyday routines
- To go sightseeing – Take a trip around an area to see what it has to offer
- Travel abroad – Travel to overseas destinations
- Travelling light – Travelling with little luggage
- Value for money – A good return on investment
- Visa regulations – Laws that relate to entry into a country
- Wildlife safari – A guided tour through a game park
More IELTS Speaking tutorials
- Vocabulary about climate change
- Vocabulary about fashion and shopping
- Vocabulary about advertising
- Vocabulary about social media
- Vocabulary about food and nutrition
- Vocabulary about family and friends
- Vocabulary about sport
- Vocabulary about the Coronavirus
- IELTS Speaking Part 2 Cue Cards about People
- IELTS Speaking Part 2 Cue Cards about Places
- IELTS Speaking Part 2 Cue Cards about Shopping
- IELTS Speaking Cue Cards about Accommodation