AE 519: How to talk about TRAVELLING & HOLIDAYS | IELTS Lesson 4

Learn advanced English in this IELTS course episode of The Aussie English Podcast where you learn how to talk about travelling and holidays.

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IELTs – Lesson 4: Travelling & Holidays

G’day, guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today we’re going to be doing another IELTS lesson where we talk about our travels. So, how you can obviously talk about going around the world, you often gonna get this sort of a question, you know, have you’ve been overseas? Have you traveled much? Have you studied abroad?

Definitely, it’s a very common topic.

Yeah. Did you get that in your IELTS at all?

Thankfully not.

Why thankfully?

It’s hard for me like if you are anything similar to me, like I didn’t have the chance to travel my friend was a child with my parents and my family so, all my experiences are very recent.

So it would have been a little limited if they said, ”oh where have you been before?”.

Definitely. Or like, ”oh tell me about holiday spend with your family” I’d be like…. I would struggle to make it up on the spot, just like being creative, it’s just hard so I’m really glad I did get this topic… It is not that it’s hard to talk about, it’s hard for me because, you know, I started travelling, not that I’ve done much, but I started when I was already an adult and yeah mostly in Australia so…

Well, that’s sort of my case as well. Anyway, I guess the basic idea here will be we’ll have this video first where Kel and I will just have a casual, natural discussion about our history travelling around, where we’ve been, maybe what we would like to see in the future as well and then the second video we’ll go through the different vocab that we’ve got here in case we miss anything in this video.

So, to open it up, Kel. Which countries have you been to in the past?

That’s when it gets hard for me because I honestly left Brazil, I didn’t travel…I travelled around Brazil, I went to a couple cities in the South and in the North as well, but I wish I had done some travelling in South America.

Why is that?

Because, you know, it’s already there, it tends to be you know cheap, as opposed to travelling to Europe, for example or the USA, it would be much more expensive.

Because those countries are just next door. You just have to cross the border and you’re in Colombia or a completely different country.

Argentina I’d love to go, but unfortunately I didn’t have the chance. But then I came to Australia and here I’ve seen, you know, I’ve been to Sydney, I’ve been to Canberra, we lived there for six months.

And to me you were in Queensland for a long time and that’s sort of a ideal picturesque holiday destination in Australia, everyone goes to Queensland. Queensland, Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane, all the warm weather is up there the beautiful beaches. When you were living there, did you travel around much like a tourist or were you mainly into one place?

I I’ve been to Cairns for a holiday. I’ve been to Mackay, also in a holiday. I’ve been around Townsville so, you have like those like little towns and villages they have like a waterfalls and things like that. So, yeah a few creeks there we would go and just, you know, spend the day at and have fun. Yeah it’s great to be in Queensland because everywhere you go is like a paradise so, not that I don’t like Victoria, but it’s just easier I guess, because it’s always summer and yeah it is where everyone goes to when people are on holidays. That places are very tourist so, it’s really…

You can probably say that, yeah touristic, I guess you would say probably just there are a lot of tourist attractions in those locations and almost a bit of a tourist trap right at times where we have a lot of people, especially places like Castle Hill.

Castle Hill. Yeah, Townsville… Well, I wouldn’t say that Townsville is a tourist trap because…

There’s not a lot of tourists.

Well, we do but there is so much to see, still… but at the same time it’s a tiny little city so, I’m not expecting to see you know… do a lot of sightseeing or visit like museums or other things you might be frustrated, it’s really the place you go to if you wanna, you know, spend a day on the beach and and that’s it.

And relax. So, did you book any trips whilst you were there, did you go to I think it’s Maggie Island, Magnetic Island.

Maggie island is like I think 25 minutes by ferry and there’s accommodation there, like hostels and even like….what do you call it when you just camp?

Camping grounds.

Yeah. It’s great to spend the day there, there’s a few bays you can swim, restaurants, you can go hiking. There are lots of things to do. So, there was honestly, that was my favorite sort of… if I had to choose a perfect holiday, that’d be let’s go to Maggie Island, spend a whole weeked just relaxing and I’m not a big fan of, you know, sand and beaches, but it’s just so beautiful and there’s so much to see! You can go diving.

Scuba diving.

Scuba diving you can… yeah just great, a lot of things.

Are there any places you would have liked to have gone on when you were in Queensland because you’re obviously now down to Victoria, were there any tourist attractions or any sites that you wish you’d see that you never got the chance to?

Definitely the Great Barrier Reef, I’ve been to the Great Barrier Reef when I was in Orpheus Island, but it’s not the reef you see on TV, right? Like the big massive thing there you can just take photos of and, you know, paradise. It’s a very small portion of the reef the island is beautiful, but I was working there so, it wasn’t really a holiday so, definitely if have the chance to go back I want to go the Great Barrier Reef. It’s beautiful.

And are there any other places that you would like to visit whether it’s in Australia or overseas in the future?

I would love to go to Europe. Like, now my best friend lives in France… I’ve always wanted to go to Paris, just romantic and I can’t imagine like walking around Paris at night must be beautiful, all the lights and Greece as well, because of the history, the historical importance of the place. If I had to go tomorrow I think Paris and Greece would be my two favorite places, what about you? I know you want to go to Brazil.

Yeah, I’d like to go to Brazil. I don’t know where to start, where I would start because Brazil is such a big country with so much to see.

Start from the North.

Obviously yeah you’d start North, maybe go South. It’s one of those things, though, I think for me I get worried in countries like South America, countries in South America with regards to safety, but I’m sure once you get there you become aware and you get to know…

That’s a downside, I would say, of going to Brazil, you do have to be aware of, you know, the violence and things you can’t do, like things that Australians take for granted. Like walking around with phones and stuff, but it depends where you are a lot like, some places are more dangerous, you have really, you know, dangerous place, you don’t go there, but mostly it’s just fine.

Growing up in Australia my parents would take us away each summer we would go camping so, we would have those kinds of travelling holidays where you would go on short trips locally to places that are nearby like the Grampians or Willson’s Prom. I remember being in grade 6 and we went to Rockhampton in Queensland up North and that was my first experience with, I guess, the Great Barrier Reef and you know taking chartered flights out to different islands, getting on boats seeing a bit, I didn’t think we…I don’t think we went scuba diving or anything, but we went snorkeling in some places and then I’ve been to, I went to France when I was in high school for a month and travelled around France and was practicing French, that was cool and then when I was doing my PhD, I went to I went to…


Yeah, Indonesia, Sulawesi, where tsunami recently was. Sulawesi studying in the jungles there looking for rats and other animals for my supervisor.

Did you have time to go sightseeing was just like working?

It was pretty much I was just following my supervisor where he was taking us. So, we had to go to different towns and then hire someone to drive us to the next town. We had to make camps with all of the gear there and then we had to do different things in the jungle for the scientific studies, but I would love to travel a lot more in the future, I’d love to go to Europe.

I’d love to go to Europe, I think. Still, you know, you again talking about safety, but it’s still one of those places, you know, if you have the chance, go. My friend is just amazed how beautiful France is and I just can’t… Hopefully you can do it together with the baby and things. Do you think Australians tend to… like I know camping a big thing here for you guys, but do you go a lot for travel agents or it’s just like let’s improvise and get the family together and do it?

I think if people organise flights somewhere and they’re wanting to spend like a week somewhere, they’ll usually do it, especially if it’s far away and if they’re lazy they can’t be bothered booking places on their own, like they don’t want to book the flights, they don’t want to book the hotel, they don’t want to book the chartered flights, the buses, the boats, whatever it is, they are going through a travel agent so, that that person can organise it and you just have to be in certain locations at certain times, you know, whether you go on guided tours or you’re going to your hotel or you just have to be like ”okay I need to be here by 10 o’clock.”. But if you’re going overseas they will. So, if you’re organising a holiday in Bali or to Thailand, you know, Australians will tend to go to those sorts of places in Southeast Asia for short holidays. So, kind of like summer holidays that they’ll go on locally, in this region of the world.

It’s cheap as well, I heard.

It’s relatively cheap, but if we’re goingo to other countries like France, Brazil, that sort of stuff people tend to go though news… news agencies, I mean, flight agencies, travel agents, travel agents and they all tend to get them to book everything for them.

I think it’s much easier nowadays, you know, with everything’s online you can… thank your parents went to Europe, did they do it by themselves?

I’m not 100 percent sure.

All the bookings and things.

I think they probably would have organised it themselves because they’re pretty savvy when it comes to organising those things and they probably know how to save money now.

So, yeah I think he also depends on how adventurous you are. Like, if you go to Brazil by yourself or like, you know, a small group of people, doesn’t want any help from my travel agent. Good luck. It happens. I would be much more comfortable, especially going overseas, if I had someone helping me, you know, like that’s where you can stay at, that’s what you’re going to do…

Far out, so, I guess this would be a bit of a short one, guys, but the basic stuff that I would focus on when replying to these sorts of questions, if people are asking you about these things with travelling, ”have you done it in the past? Are you interested in it now? Are you thinking about it in the future?” I would think about those different tenses so, I would quite often try and talk about it…”what did I do when I was young?” ”What have I done…” as in when we talk about experiences we would use the present perfect. I have been to France, I have been to Brazil, sort of like I may go again, but if you talk about a time in the past like when I was young, I went to Brazil, you would use the past simple. So, I would play around with tenses like that so, I would practice talking about what I did when I was young and what I have done as experience, what I would like to do in the future and that would be a great way of showing off the different tenses that you can use in English. you obviously try and use connected words, you know, like ”well I did this and I thought this was good, however this happened, oh and moreover this was really good” so, try and link things together and don’t be afraid if you breaks sentences up, you don’t finish your train of thought or you change where you’re going. Quite often if you can keep just talking it shows a good level in English.

And again like if you have to make up things on the spot, just try to be calm and remember the vocabulary because the vocabulary related to travelling and holidays is quite specific so, there’s a lot of things you can learn like in chunks.

Learn the collocations.

The collocations and I’m sure it helps a lot. It’s one of the most common topics on IELTS to be honest, it’s not difficult to talk about it and most people, even if you haven’t done a lot of travelling like me, it’s easy to talk about holiday, like a weekend you spent with your family somewhere or like ”we used to going see my extended family somewhere else” so, you know, there’s always a way to answer their question properly.

I would just keep going and if you do make it up, just be, I guess, try I would probably have a plan that I practice, right? If I’m going to, if I’m thinking about the lies or making stuff up on the spot, I would try to avoid just doing it in the moment because you’ll be like…..


f you have an idea of, you know, just make up Africa is somewhere I want to go because I like safaris, wildlife safaris, rhinos are my favourite animal. None of that is true, but just happens that some sort of back up plan if you do get caught out.

Just keep talking.

Anyway, good job, guys! We will see you in the next video in the Aussie English classroom if you’re not there already, where we’re going to now talk about all the different vocabulary that we used in the last video and that we may have also missed in that video. So a few extra words in there. We’ll see you there!

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