ESL Travel and Tourism Vocabulary

↓ Practice these English expressions with ESL worksheets below ↓
Travel agent

This is the person that sells or arranges a trip for an individual or a group. The travel agent will help you plan your trip and find the best deals in terms of airfare and lodging.

“We’re going to need a travel agent if we want to plan that big of a trip.”

Package Tour

This is a vacation put together by the travel agent. The price includes travel, lodging and food. It usually works out cheaper to plan a trip this way although you do have less flexibility.

“My sister and her husband went to Greece on a package tour. They didn’t want to try to set everything up by themselves.”

All Inclusive

This is a term that describes a resort or hotel in which everything is covered by the price you pay per night. The food and drinks will be included in this price.

“Let’s stay at the all inclusive Ramada on the beach. We won’t have to ever leave the hotel.”

Peak Season

This is the time of year when the most people are traveling. The rates of the rooms will be the highest and the chances of the hotels being booked up will be the highest. Peak season is usually during the times when kids are off of school.

“If we fly during the peak season we’re going to pay a lot of money.”

Off Season

This is the opposite of “peak season”. During the off season not too many people are traveling. You can get cheaper rates for everything.

“Going to Florida in the summer will be hot, but it will be cheap. The summer is the off season for resorts in Florida.”

Group Rate

If you book your vacation and you have a larger than normal amount of people traveling you can get a “group rate”. This rate will be cheaper since you are bringing in a lot of business.

“Last year my family and I went to Puerto Rico for a week. It wasn’t too expensive since we got a group rate. My company flew a bunch of us down there.”

Time Share

This is a room or unit in a resort setting that people buy for a certain amount of time. The time share will have several different families or individuals that pay money towards it. Each “owner” has a set amount of time that he/she can use it during the year. Having a time share is a way to have a place in a nice area without having to pay the full price.

“My parents have a time share in the Bahamas. They go down there one month a year in the fall.”

Gateway City

This is the city that a major airline has its headquarters at. If you are flying with a specific airline many times you’ll have to make a stop in the “gate way” city of that airline. Dallas/Fort Worth, TX is the gateway city for American Airlines while Atlanta, GA is the gateway city for Delta Airlines.

“If you fly with United Airlines you will have to stop in Chicago. That is their gateway city.”


If you are flying from one specific city to another at times there is not one plane that makes the trip without stopping. Many times you will fly to a city in between the city you are traveling to and the one from which you left. This stop is called a “layover”. Many times you will have to switch planes at the layover city.

“I’m flying from New York to San Francisco with a layover in Chicago.”

Spring Break

Spring break is when the public schools and colleges in the US have off for a week sometime in March or April. Many families go on vacation during this time. College students are infamous for heading to beaches in Florida or Mexico to party hard during spring break.

“My brother went to Cancun, Mexico for his spring break his sophomore year at Yale.”

Working Vacation

This is a trip that someone may take for business that also involves pleasure. A company may send an employee to another city for a conference. If the employee takes his family with him to enjoy the city during non working hours it is called a “working vacation”.

“I took a working vacation to Las Vegas. I had a business seminar on Thursday, but the rest of the weekend I spent with my wife in the casinos.”


These are areas that are well known and draw a lot of tourists in. A museum or amusement parks are examples of “attractions”. Any tourist destination will have two or three major attractions.

“The Statue of Liberty is a major attraction in New York.”

Tourist Trap

A “tourist trap” is a restaurant or an attraction in an attractive area of town that caters to people visiting the city. The prices are high to take advantage of the tourists who don’t know where else to go. Tourist traps are located near the major hotels.

“Go to Nathanial Hall when you are in Boston. It is a bit of a tourist trap, but it is still fun.”

Where the locals go

This is an expression that people use to describe places that people who are from the area go to. These are places that are not in the tour books and don’t have a lot of tourists.

“I’m sick of these expensive tourist traps. Let’s go somewhere where the locals go.”

Off the beaten path

Most major cities or areas that draw a lot of tourism have four or five different locations that every tourist goes to. Places that are less known to tourists are described as being “off the beaten path”.

“Sarah knows of a cute little Italian restaurant on the west side of the city. It is not near any of the major attractions so it won’t be crowded. It is off the beaten path.”


This is tourism that is for the purpose of seeing and experiencing the natural environment of an area. Special attention is made in not harming the natural habitat. Rainforests and natural parks are examples of ecotourism locations.

“Costa Rica is huge for its ecotourism.”

Theater District

This is an area of the city that is home to a lot of the cultural events like theater productions and symphony concerts. Most major US cities have a theater district.

“When you are in New York you need to check out a show in the theater district.”

Red light district

This is a section of the city that has prostitution and run down bars. Drug dealing and a lot of other criminal activity will take place here.

“Don’t turn down 57th Street. You will end up in the red light district.”