We all need to get away once in a while. On your next trip, throw some of these essential phrasal verbs for travel into your case – and you’ll be ready for anything!

get away go on holiday

Catching your plane

Your adventure starts at the airport! After checking in, be prepared for security checks before proceeding to the departure gates. (If you’re lucky, you’ll get a good view of aeroplanes taking off and landing while you wait.)

Once you’ve boarded your plane, you can sit back until you reach your destination – unless, of course, you have to stop over somewhere. Shortly before the plane touches down, you might be asked to fill in / out a landing card with the address of your hotel.

check in go to a reception desk and tell staff that you have arrived
take off (of a plane) leave the ground and start flying
sit back sit in a comfortable position and relax
stop over stay somewhere for a short time in the middle of a longer journey
touch down (of a plane) land, i.e. make contact with the ground and stop flying
fill in / out write your personal details (on a form, etc)

At your hotel

Five-star hotels might send a driver to pick you up at the airport. However, if you’re staying somewhere more modest, you’ll have to settle for a local taxi. Explaining where you want to be dropped off can be challenging if you don’t speak the language – but it’ll be worth it once you’ve checked in, lain down on a freshly-made bed, and ordered everything on the room service menu.

Don’t think about the cost until it’s time to check out . . .

pick up collect someone or something from a place
settle for accept something that is not perfect but is the best thing available
drop off take someone/something to a place and leave them/it there
lie down put your body into a flat position to rest or sleep
check out go to a reception desk and tell staff that you are leaving

Planning what to do

You’ve reached your dream destination. Now what? To make the best of your time, you might like to come up with an itinerary for the week. You don’t have to stick to it, but without a plan you might miss out on the best sights. On your first night, though, it’s good just to walk and get a feel for the place.

Head for the centre of town and see what you can find. And remember, the best restaurants and bars are often tucked away on side streets.

come up with think of and/or make
stick to continue doing or using something without making changes
miss out (on) lose a chance to do something useful or fun
head for travel towards
tuck away hide out of sight

Food and drink

Eating out is one of the great pleasures of travel. Holidays are a chance to branch out and try things you’d never eat at home, whether you dress up every night and head for the fanciest restaurants or make do with plastic tables on the pavement.

Find out the local attitude towards tipping before you arrive. In some countries you’re expected to leave up to 20% of your bill, while in others just rounding it up is fine.

eat out eat in a restaurant or cafe, rather than at home
branch out do something you have not done before
dress up wear clothes that are nicer or more formal than usual
make do with manage with something that is not the best quality
round up increase an amount to the next whole number, e.g. £3.80 to £4.00

Looking after your health

Though travel is exciting, the body doesn’t always cope with it very well. To avoid coming down with something, take sensible precautions like only drinking bottled water. Choose restaurants that seem popular with locals and keep away from street stalls where food has been sitting in the sun for hours.

To make sure you don’t run out of basic medicines, you might like to bring a simple first aid kit with you. Don’t bank on overseas pharmacies selling products you use at home!

cope with respond well to a new or difficult situation
come down with become sick with an illness that is not serious
keep away from avoid going near to
run out of have no more (e.g. money, energy) remaining
bank on rely on

Crime and accidents

Your health is not the only thing to worry about when travelling. In cities and beach areas especially, make sure you don’t fall for any scams – tricks that are designed to separate tourists from their cash! To avoid being ripped off, ask hotel staff about reasonable prices for goods and services. And if you’re staying in a hostel, lock your valuables in a safe. With so many people coming and going, it’s easy for someone to break in to a room or locker.

Hiring a car or motorbike can be a great way to explore independently, but only do so if you’re confident in your abilities. The last thing you want is to be pulled over by the police – or worse, to run someone over. Check that the hire company will help you out if you break down, and never drink and drive. In many places, if you’re caught behind the wheel after a few glasses of wine, you’ll be kicked out of the country.

fall for be tricked into believing something that is not true
rip off cheat someone by making them pay too much
break in enter with force
pull over (of the police) ask a driver to stop at the side of the road
run over knock someone down while you are driving
break down (of a vehicle) stop working because of a fault
kick out make someone leave a place

Keep smiling!

Travel requires a flexible attitude. A hotel that looked beautiful online may turn out to be half-finished; a smiling waiter may serve you yesterday’s bread and water down your beer; holiday plans in general have a habit of falling through.

The best way to deal with minor travel annoyances is usually to laugh them off – though this is easier said than done!

turn out be discovered to be
water down make a drink weaker by adding water
fall through not happen or not be completed
laugh off make a joke of something bad that happens to you

Using these travel phrasal verbs in the IELTS Speaking test

In Parts 1 and 3 of the IELTS Speaking test, the examiner will ask you questions about your experiences and opinions. Here are some examples of students using these phrasal verbs in the test.

Examiner:         Do you like to travel?
Student:            Yes, I get away as often as I can, even if it’s just to visit friends.


Examiner:         What’s the best thing about travelling somewhere new?
Student:            I love eating out, so for me the high point is always the food.


Examiner:         Can you tell me about a holiday you enjoyed?
Student:            I met my husband on holiday in France, so that trip turned out pretty well!


Examiner:         What do you think people can learn by travelling?
Student:            They experience a new culture and learn to cope with challenging situations.


Examiner:         Do you make detailed plans when you travel?
Student:            I do a bit of research online so I don’t miss out on any major sights, but to be honest when I make plans I rarely stick to them.


1 thought on “38 Phrasal Verbs for Travel – Ideal for CAE and IELTS”

  1. Traveling is the ultimate form of self-discovery. It challenges us to step out of our comfort zones, confront our fears, and embrace the unknown. It allows us to learn about ourselves, as well as the world around us

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