IELTS Speaking Test Sample: Travel
Travel is a regular IELTS Speaking and Writing topic. You could also bring this topic into a discussion about hobbies.
Read the following speaking-style questions, paying close attention to words you don’t know and the words in bold. There are definitions for the words in bold at the end of the page.
Before you read the conversation, test your vocabulary by downloading this free PDF quiz and completing the blanks with the supplied words.
Part 1-style questions
Examiner: Do you like travelling?
Candidate: Yes – but I’m not a fan of mass tourism, I prefer to travel off-
peak on a shoestring.
Examiner: What do you do on holidays?
Candidate: I like to visit small towns which are off the beaten track. Rather than staying in a chain hotel, I prefer to book a guest house and explore every nook and cranny of the local area.
Examiner: Are there many tourists visiting your country?
Candidate: Yes – they are both a blessing and a curse. Our capital is always crowded, and there are plenty of tourist traps.
Describe a place that you would like to travel to outside your country.
You should say:
— where you would like to go
— what you know about this place
— what you would do there
and explain why you think you would enjoy this place.
I’d really like to visit the wide-open steppes of Mongolia!
As an independent traveller, I would probably base myself in the capital most of the time and take week-long excursions to the different ecological regions.
Mongolia has a long and fascinating history. It’s the homeland of Genghis Khan — he rose from the steppes to form what would become the second-largest empire in history.
I have a long bucket list of items I want to tick off when I visit. I’d love to visit the remnants of the Great Wall which are in Mongolian territory – not many people know they are there.
I want to live in a ger, drink fermented mares milk and visit the Buddhist shrines built after the time of Genghis Khan.
Part 3-style questions
Examiner: Has travelling changed much over the last 50 years? [Evaluate]
Candidate: Definitely! These days it’s all about all-inclusive holidays. Many people just check-in to a hotel and never leave. Fifty years ago, people had to be independent travellers and make every arrangement for themselves.
Examiner: Is it better to travel by yourself or with someone else? [Compare]
Candidate: It depends on your personality and your goals. If you want everything done for you its best to take a package holiday. Personally, I would hate to be with the same people for the whole trip. I prefer to travel independently and really engage with the locals.
Examiner: Are there any problems that result from tourism? [identify]
Candidate: Unfortunately, yes. Cultural tourism has become quite popular and excessive footfall at historic sites and landmarks is damaging the very places that tourists profess to value.
Definitions for IELTS Achievement Vocabulary
mass tourism — the scheduled and organised movement of large numbers of organised tourists to popular vacation destinations.
off-peak — a time when prices are lower because fewer people want to do something
on a shoestring — using a tiny amount of money
off the beaten track — far away from the places that most people visit
a chain hotel — a hotel that belongs to a group which are owned by the same company
every nook and cranny — every part of a place
a tourist trap — a place that is visited by many tourists and is much more expensive than places locals visit
steppe — a large flat area of land without trees in south-eastern Europe or Asia
an independent traveller — someone who makes their own travel arrangements instead of using a travel company
an excursion — a short visit to an interesting place which is often organised by a travel company as part of a larger trip
ecological — relating to the environment and different kinds of lifeforms that live together
homeland — the country where someone comes from
a bucket list — a list of things you want to do before you die or are too old
a remnant — a small remaining part of something
territory — an area of land controlled by someone, usually a government
ger — a circular felt tent which nomads live in
a shrines — a religious place where people worship
all-inclusive — including all the costs, charges, and services that make up the total price of something
check-in — to arrive at a place you are visiting or staying and give you personal details to the receptionist
package holiday — a holiday arranged by a travel company for a fixed price that includes all accommodation, transport and meal costs
engage — get someone’s attention and interact with them
Cultural tourism — tourism designed to focus on the lifestyle of people in certain geographical areas, and their history, art and culture
footfall — the number of people who visit a particular place
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