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Surprisingly, one topic that seems to confuse a lot of my students is holidays.

A simple question like ‘What’s your favourite holiday?’ often produces some strange answers.

This is partly because in different cultures it can mean different things.

In this blog post we are going to look at three different topics to do with holiday so you will be able to successfully talk about them.

Here are some of my other IELTS speaking Model Answers: friends here, phones here, and school here.

Be sure to avoid the mistakes that most students make on writing by signing up for my exclusive IELTS Ebooks here on Patreon.



1. To have a holiday:

Meaning: time off from working or studying. This might be a day, a week or even longer.

e.g. What do you like to do when you go on a holiday?

– I like to hang out with my friends/family…

– I like to have a party and invite my family and friends…

– I like to go to the beach…

– I like to travel somewhere new…

– I like to catch up on my sleep and just relax at home…

e.g. Do you like to have holidays?

– Yes, definitely. I like to spend it hanging out with my friends/family…

– Not really. I prefer just to work/study. I think holidays are boring…



2. National holidays

Meaning: a special day/time of the year, related to a festival e.g. Christmas, New Year, or an important day e.g. International Labor Day.

In some countries, people are given time off. This is a national holiday, or ‘public holidays (USA) /  ‘bank holidays’ (UK).

Every country is different. For example people in the UK don’t get a day off for International Labor Day.

And Valentine’s Day isn’t celebrated as a national holiday in the UK or the USA.

e.g. What’s your favorite holiday?

– My favourite holiday is definitely Christmas…

– I really like Lunar New Year…

– I love Valentine’s Day, even though it isn’t a national holiday in my country.

e.g. What are some important holidays in your hometown?

– In my country Christmas and New Year are the most important, but Easter and Mother’s Day are also important.



3. To go on holiday (UK) / go on vacation (USA)

Meaning: an activity when you travel and stay in another place for fun.

e.g. What was the best holiday you’ve ever had in your life?

– In 2010, when I went backpacking across Asia for 6 months…

– Disneyland, Paris…

e.g. Where do you normally like to go on holiday?

– I love going to the beach…

– I like going somewhere quiet…

– I love staying in a resort…

– I love going to Singapore…

– I don’t like going anywhere. I usually have a staycation…



Now it’s your turn! Put your answers in the comments.

What do you like to do when you have a holiday?

Do you like to have a holiday?

What’s your favourite holiday?

What are some important holidays in your country?

What was the best holiday you’ve ever had?

Where do you usually like to go on holiday?



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