English for tourism: essential holiday vocabulary

There are thousands of great places to go on holiday in the world but the locals there will often lack fluency in your native language.

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As commercial tourism has developed, English has become the international language of holidaymakers everywhere. Travelling abroad is a great way to practise your English, make new friends and expand your horizons. Spending a little time to brush up on your English for tourism will help you get the most out of your holiday.

It is possible to predict the majority of situations you will find yourself in while on holiday and learn appropriate vocabulary in advance. In the A-Z word lists below, we will cover the following 4 essential holiday situations: airport, hotel, restaurant, and beach.


English Russian English Russian
Aisle seat Место у прохода Landing Посадка, приземление
Baggage reclaim Выдача багажа Last call Последний звонок
Blanket Шерстяное одеяло Luggage trolley Багажная тележка
Boarding Посадка Overhead compartment Багажная полка
Boarding pass Посадочный талон Row Ряд
Check-in Регистрация Seat belt Ремень безопасности
Departure lounge Зал ожидания Security check Проверка безопасности
Emergency exit Аварийный выходм Sick(ness) bag Мешок при воздушной болезни
Gate Выход (на самолет) Takeoff Взлёт
Hand luggage Ручная кладь Window seat Место у окна

Possible questions:

May I see your ticket/passport, please?
How many bags are you checking in?
Did you pack your bags yourself?
Do you have any hand luggage with you today?
Would you like a window or an aisle seat?
I’m afraid your baggage is overweight (too heavy).
Your hand luggage is too large.
Your flight is delayed/cancelled.
When should I be at the gate?
Where is the boarding gate?
Is my connecting flight on time?
Where do I collect my baggage?
Where is the check-in desk for ___ airlines?


English Russian English Russian
Accommodation (hotel) Номер в гостинице Reservation Бронирование
Check-in/out Заезд / выезд Resort Курорт
Currency exchange Обмен валюты Room number 6 Шестой номер
Double room Номер на двоих Room price/rate Стоимость номера
En-suite bathroom Смежная ванная Room service Обслуживание номеров
Extra charge Дополнительная оплата Self-catering Самообслуживание (только еда)
Family room Семейный номер Single room одноместный номер
Fill in a form Заполнить бланк Twin beds две односпальные кровати
Full board Полный пансион Vacancy Cвободный номер
Reception Рецепция Wake-up call Звонок-напоминание

Possible questions:

Which floor is my room on?
What time do we need to check out?
When should we pay the bill?
What time is breakfast served?
Can I make international calls from my room?
Where can I buy a SIM card for my mobile phone?
Can you order me a taxi to ___, please?
Can you recommend any good restaurants near here?
Can we move to a room with a sea view?
The towels/sheets in our room are dirty. Can you change them, please?
Our air-conditioning isn’t working. Can you fix it, please?


English Russian English Russian
Bill Счёт Napkin Салфетка
Bread basket Корзина с хлебом Plate Тарелка
Chef’s specials Фирменные блюда от шеф-повара Service charge Доплата за обслуживание
Cutlery Столовые приборы Starter Первое блюдо
Delicious Очень вкусный Table cloth Скатерть
Dessert Десерт Table for two Столик на двоих
Expensive Дорогой Tasty Вкусный
Fully booked Полностью забронированный Tip Чаевые
Glass of wine Бокал вина To be overcharged (for) Слишком много заплатить за что-л.
Main course Основное блюдо Waiter/waitress Официант (-ка)

Possible questions:

Can I book a table for three, please? (…tomorrow evening at 7pm under the name of Ivanov.)
Are you ready to order?
Would you like to hear the chef’s specials?
Can we have this dish as a starter (instead of as a main course)?
Can you bring us an extra plate/glass/fork/etc., please?
Can we have a look at your menu, please?
This dish is cold. Can you heat it up for me, please?
This isn’t what I ordered! Can you bring me the ___?
Can we have the bill, please?
Can you check the bill again? I think we’ve been overcharged.


English Russian English Russian
Beach mat Коврик для пляжа Snorkel Трубка (для подводного плавания)
Beach towel Полотенце для пляжа Sun lounger Лежак
Danger! Опасно! Sunburn Солнечный ожог
Flip flops Сланцы Sunglasses Солнцезащитные очки
Flippers Ласты Suntan lotion Лосьон для загара
Mask Маска Swimming costume Купальный костюм
Parasol Зонтик (от солнца) Swimming trunks Плавки
Sand castle Замок из песка Tide Прилив и отлив
Seagull Чайка To sunbathe Загорать
Shade Тень Wave Волна

Possible questions:

Excuse me. Is anyone sitting here?
Do we have to pay to use these sun loungers?
Where is the best beach near here? How do I get there?
Excuse me. Could you watch my things while I go swimming, please?
Where can I buy an ice cream (cold drink/beer/etc.)?
Is there a shower on this beach?
Where is it safe to swim?
Can you recommend a good place for fishing?
Where can we take a boat ride and how much does it cost?

OTUK offers a special online English for tourism course to prepare students for speaking English on holiday. This intensive course runs over several weeks and is designed to build vocabulary and fluency in key situations for tourists abroad. We also offer more advanced courses for those working in the tourism and hospitality business. Contact us today to request a trial lesson!

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Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

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