Hi, guys! How are you? Ready for getting away now, going on vacation, and striving for fluency in English? Let’s have a look at the words and best expressions to talk about getting away!
Get Away Now and Go On Vacation – Striving for Fluency 5
1. One-day trip
You’ve spent all that time working out and getting into shape. You must be exhausted! It’s the perfect time for a vacation. There are vacation options for any style and to suit any pocketbook. Give me a five-star hotel in a fancy resort. But my buddy prefers a small tent and a backpack full of camping gear. (Eeew! Bugs!)
Let’s take a look at some of the choices. Maybe you’re on a tight budget. (Maybe you spent too much on that gym membership!) Or you may have a crazy schedule at work, and you can’t take too many days off, but you’d still like some R&R.
There’s a perfect solution, and even a new word to describe it: staycation. Instead of going away, you stay right at home and do fun vacation things nearby. These day trips can be as much fun as a fancy vacation. Thus, consider a trip to the art museum, or attend a concert. Pack up the kids, pack the car, and head to the beach for a day of sun, sand, and surf.
Places like New York City have ferries you can ride for free. These boats will make you feel like you’re on a fancy cruise—well, a fancy cruise without waiters and fancy meals . . . ha! (in New York City, the ferry to Staten Island gives you a spectacular view of the Statue of Liberty, and it’s free!)
Feeling seasick? Instead of taking a ferry, go to a nearby park where you can enjoy a nature hike through the woods. (Watch out for the skunks.) Many local parks have wilderness trails with signs that identify trees, plants, and animals you may see along your walk. For a day that’s a bit more expensive, so you might try a kid-friendly place like the zoo, an amusement park, or a water park. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Dialogue: Get Away Now and Go On Vacation – Striving for Fluency 5
ALAN: You have a sunburn, Lia. I think you enjoyed your vacation a little too much.
LIA: Actually, we just stayed home. We took day trips, and we discovered places we didn’t even know about right in the neighborhood. We even visited the zoo. It was great fun!
ALAN: Wow! What a great idea. I finished painting the house. It was not great fun.
LIA: I printed out some new recipes and cooked some interesting ethnic meals, too. After we cleaned up, we walked around the neighborhood and chatted with the neighbors. And one day we traveled to the beach and practiced our beach volleyball skills. I think that’s my new favorite sport. The whole week really was a fun staycation.
Watch out for hidden extras you may not have thought about. You may have to pay to park your car or pay to go on the beach in some places.
Depending on how “‘wild”’ your wilderness trail is, you may have to keep an eye open for critters and bugs (eeew!). And we don’t even want to think about snakes. AAAACKKKK!
If there’s a fun attraction near where you live, look into a season pass. This will allow you to go as many times as you want all year. It’s usually a pretty good deal.
critter: fun word for small animals
day trips: short trips that last about —you guessed it— a day
deal: bargain, a good price
ferry: a medium-size or large boat that just goes short hops, back and forth from one place to another
give me: I prefer
hidden extras: expenses that aren’t included in the main cost
keep an eye open: be alert
kid-friendly: designed to appeal to kids
odor: a bad smell
pack up the kids: gather the kids and their stuff
R&R: Rest and Relaxation; a vacation
skunk: a small black animal with a white stripe that makes a terrible odor when it’s frightened
staycation: term for a vacation when you stay at home and do local things
suit any pocketbook: be a cost you can afford
sunburn: Ouch! It’s that redness of the skin from being in the sun too long
sunscreen: lotion to protect skin from the sun
surf: waves and sea; the beach
tight budget: not a lot of money to spare
If your dog gets sprayed by a skunk (eeew!), giving the dog a bath in tomato juice may remove the odor.
Remember that the -ed ending of the simple past tense can be pronounced three different ways:
- After a voiced sound (you can feel the vibration of your vocal cords), or in verbs ending in a vowel, it’s pronounced d (like dog). Examples: called = calld; involved = involvd
- After a voiceless sound (no vibration), it’s pronounced t (like top). Examples: picked = pickt; stepped = stept
- After a verb ending with the letter d or t, we hear the syllable id. Examples: granted = grant id; started = start id; needed = need id
2. Going Wild
You love adventure! You love the outdoors and cooking hot dogs over an open campfire! With this in mind, we have just the vacation for you: camping! Yes, for the brave soul who’s not afraid of critters, bad weather, and bad food, this is another fun vacation choice. Camping requires a lot of very careful advance planning. You’ll need to have gear for hot weather and cold, for rain and sunshine, and for grassy fields and rocky riverbanks.
If you’re in the middle of nowhere, you’ll need to carry your own food for all your meals, pots to cook it in, plates to serve it on, and utensils to eat it with. That means a big (and heavy) knapsack. You’ll also need to carry around your own little hotel—a tent—and the equipment to put it up. Don’t forget a sleeping bag. I’m exhausted just thinking about it!
People who love camping say there’s nothing as wonderful as sleeping under the stars. We don’t know about you, but we’re thinking that would make us bear bait. No, thanks! We don’t want a bear to eat us for a snack before we can even eat our own trail mix! People tell us that camping can be fun, but we’d rather stay at a fancy hotel.
Dialogue Get Away Now and Go On Vacation – Striving for Fluency 5
LIA: Our camping trip was sure a surprise.
ALAN: Uh-oh. What happened?
LIA: Well, it started out fine. We planned the trip carefully and found exactly the right snacks. So we packed all our stuff, and we bought brand-new hiking boots. We pitched our tent right beside a small lake.
ALAN: That sounds good.
LIA: It sounded good to us, too . . . until we finished our hike the first day. We forgot to break in the new boots! Our feet were sore and blistered. Then we noticed the big black clouds, and disaster struck! It poured all night. When we woke up in the morning, the tent was collapsed around us, and we were lying in a huge puddle.
ALAN: Ha, ha! I guess next time you’ll stay in a hotel!
Don’t overpack! Remember you’ll be toting that stuff for the whole trip!
It’s very important to be careful with campfires. Thousands of acres of a World Heritage Site National Park in Chile burned when a tourist was careless with a campfire.
If you bring it in, bring it out! Don’t leave any trash where you camp.
advance: before you go
bait: a food attraction for animals
blister: a sore on the foot from rubbing against a new shoe
brand-new: very new
brave soul: someone who is not afraid
break in: wear a bit to make them softer
campfire: a small fire made from sticks and leaves
gear: equipment; stuff you need
knapsack: a large backpack
middle of nowhere: a remote place far from any towns
outdoors: woods, fields, wilderness; outside
overpack: put too much stuff in your bag
pitched: put up
pour: rain very hard
puddle: pool of water left by the rain
riverbanks: the sides of rivers
sleeping bag: a padded blanket that zips around the body for sleeping
tent: a portable shelter made of cloth
trail mix: a special high-energy snack with fruit, grains, and nuts
under the stars: outside
utensils: cutlery: knives, spoons, and forks
Now we’re talking about our favorite vacation! Camping is fun if you like sleeping in a tent. In the rain. With bugs. But give us a high-class resort any day! These can be very expensive, but they’re fun to dream about even if we can’t go. The amenities at a five-star resort can make you feel like royalty, so even if the weather is bad, you’ll have a great time.
An all-inclusive resort is perfect if you can’t be bothered keeping track of your expenses. In general, the price includes all meals, drinks, and entertainment. Golf or tennis, the fitness center, and children’s activities are also included. The rooms are often larger, with king-sized beds. Some places have all suites, so you can really spread out. And the hotel usually has a concierge who can arrange many extra excursions in the local area, like chartering a boat to go deep-sea fishing, or planning a parasailing adventure.
Be aware that these excursions are not included in the cost, and other amenities that may not be included are the spa, a salon, along with other trips to nearby attractions. Above all, be sure to know in advance exactly what fun activities are included. The downside to an all-inclusive plan is that you may decide not to explore the local town restaurants. After all, you’ve already paid for your meals at the hotel. On the other hand, if you’re in heaven, who wants to leave anyway?
Dialogue: Get Away Now and Go On Vacation – Striving for Fluency 5
ALAN: Wow, we had a great time on vacation!
LIA: Yeah, Susan told me you went to a really cool place.
ALAN: Yeah, it was an awesome, all-inclusive resort. We paid for the hotel, and everything we wanted to do was included.
LIA: Tell me more.
ALAN: Well, the kids spent lots of time in the arcade. Susan and I were happy because they had a beautiful golf course. And of course, we spent hours on the beach. It was heaven—just sitting in beach chairs and watching the ocean.
LIA: What about water sports?
ALAN: Oh, it was so cool! We dove for shells one day and water-skied another day. The camp counselors taught the kids how to make paper boats—they thought it was awesome! We even brought some little boats home for souvenirs.
LIA: Wow. You were busy.
ALAN: Yeah, we sure were! But I think we ate and drank a little too much. It’s time for a diet.
Check to see if the gratuity is included in the cost. Tips could be a hidden extra!
You can request in advance the type of bed you’d like. A room will usually have either one king-sized bed or two queen-sized. You can request a roll-away cot if you need an extra bed for the kids.
all-inclusive: (almost) all activities and food are included in the price
amenities: things the hotel provides
arcade: a special area for games and prizes
awesome: great! fantastic! fabulous!
can’t be bothered: not wanting to waste time doing something
chartering: renting a boat or bus for a special trip
concierge: a worker in a fancy hotel who helps you make plans
counselor: a person in charge of fun activities at a camp downside: disadvantage
excursion: special trip
fancy: a little extra special, nicer than usual
fancy-schmancy: funny way to describe something fancy
fitness center (also called a gym): a place to exercise
five-star: top rated
high-class: deluxe, very special
in advance: before you go
in heaven: in a perfect situation
king-sized: an extra-large bed
on the other hand: thinking about the other side of an issue
parasailing: soaring in a parachute that is pulled by a fast boat
queen-sized: a large bed (smaller than a king)
resort: a special hotel with restaurants and fancy attractions
roll-away cot: a small bed that can be brought into a hotel room
royalty: kings and queens
salon: a business providing hair and nail care services
souvenir: something special you buy to remind you of your vacation
spa: a place for massages and skin treatments; a sauna; a steam bath
spread out: enjoy lots of extra space
suite: a small group of rooms
MORE FUN WITH IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS: Vacations
a happy camper: content with a situation When Michael heard that he could leave work early, he was a happy camper.
the boonies: a very rural (country) location, far away from everything They loved the city, so they were not happy campers when they had to move to the boonies.
travel light: pack very few things when you travel Because they knew they’d need space in the car for gifts, they decided to travel light and bring only one suitcase.
on vacation: away from work She couldn’t get an answer about her application because the boss was on vacation.
a last resort: a last choice He tried to contact the company by letter, phone, and e-mail. As a last resort, he went to the office in person.
Hope now you can express yourself with confidence and getting away from it all! Go on learning about the Use of English and about passing your First Certificate Exam with flying colors!