Hello, readers! Sorry for not posting so much lately. For the past week and a half I have been travelling in India as it is currently my winter holiday. I will continue to travel for the next few weeks before I return to work. You can read some stories from my travels at my personal blog.

So today, let’s talk about holidays and IELTS!


The topic of holidays and travel can come up often in the IELTS exam. For example, in the listening exam you might have to listen to someone inquiring about plane or train tickets on the phone. In the writing exam you might have to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of international travel. And so on…

Today, though, we’re going to focus on speaking. Travel/holidays can appear in any part of the speaking exam. As you would expect, in part one the questions will be short and simple and very general. In part two you’ll have to speak for a minute or two describing something. Then, in part three, you’ll get more complex questions that may relate to society or gender or other difficult issues.

Part One

Q: Do you like travelling?

A: Yes, I love travelling. Every time that I get the chance, I go somewhere new.

Q: What do you usually do on holiday?

A: I like to do many different things, like spend time on the beach, go hiking in the mountains, or visit some sites of cultural or historical importance.

Q: When do you usually go on holiday?

A: Well, I’m working right now so I go on holiday when I get time off work. For me, that’s in the summer and winter vacation, as well as national holidays.

Part Two

Here’s the cue card:

Describe a place you once visited. You should say:

  • When you visited it
  • Where is it situated
  • Who you went with

and say what about it you like the most

This is my sample answer, with useful language underlined:

A leopard in Sri Lanka

Last year, during the winter holiday, I visited Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a small island nation in the Indian Ocean, not far from India. I booked tickets there because it was one of the few remaining countries in Asia that I hadn’t yet seen.

As usual, I travelled there alone. I often travel this way because it allows me a large degree of freedom in my planning. I arrived in the country with no itinerary except just the idea to explore. So I flew into the capital city of Colombo and then travelled by public bus in a circle around much of the southern part of the country.

Sri Lanka is a really amazing country and I enjoyed the culture, the food, and the environment. Some of my favourite memories are of hiking through the hills near Ella after a delicious Sri Lankan breakfast and a pot of famous Ceylon tea. However, my absolute best experience was seeing a leopard at Yalla National Park. These elusive creatures are fascinating to me, and I was incredibly fortunate to see one during my safari.

Part Three

Q: Why do you think some people prefer travelling in large groups?

A: I think that for some people the idea of travelling alone or with just a small group is intimidating. They feel that it is too difficult or dangerous, and so they travel with a pre-arranged tour group. This makes their journey simpler and safer.

Q: Do you think that travelling is more difficult for women than for men?

A: Unfortunately, yes. There are many parts of the world where it is unsafe for women to travel alone. Women also have to take into consideration local cultural norms that govern their behavior, whereas men often have much more freedom to do as they please.

Q: How will tourism develop in future?

A: It is hard to say for sure, but it seems likely that more and more people will travel the globe. They may even begin to travel beyond this world into outer space as technology develops. You could see people travelling under the sea or into the skies in special new vehicles or accommodations.

A Video About Travel and IELTS

Here is a video I made that answers a related question: