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15 Holiday / Vacation Expressions in English

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

We all enjoy going on holiday and telling other people about our experiences and adventures. Here are 15 expressions to help you expand your travel vocabulary and speak about your holidays / vacations in English more skillfully.

Note: the term “vacation” is used in the US and “holiday” in the UK.




1. JOLLIES 🌴

Meaning: British slang term for a holiday/vacation.

I’m going on my jollies next week. I can’t wait!


2. A HIDDEN GEM 💎

Meaning: a place that isn’t well known, but has something special about it.

I like to stroll through the back streets on holiday, because it’s a good way to find some hidden gems.


3. UNSPOILED / UNSPOILT 🏖

Meaning: a place which still has its original beauty, without people changing or ruining it.

If you leave the mainland, you’ll find many unspoilt islands nearby.


4. TOURIST TRAP 🍧

Meaning: a very expensive place that is aimed at tourists, such as a shop, etc.

Central London is full of tourist traps!


5. A STONE’S THROW….. ⛵

Meaning: very near

The hotel is perfect! It’s only a stone’s throw from the beach.


6. OFF THE BEATEN TRACK 🏞

Meaning: few people live in or visit this place.

It was a bit difficult to find our accommodation, as it was off the beaten track.


7. OUT IN THE STICKS 🌳

Meaning: deep in the countryside; in the middle of nowhere.

We need to find a place to stay that’s quite central. We don’t want to be out in the sticks!


8. CHEAP AND CHEERFUL 😎

Meaning: not expensive, but pleasant.

The hotel isn’t anything fancy, but it’s cheap and cheerful!


9. HUSTLE AND BUSTLE 🚗

Meaning: busy and noisy.

The hustle and bustle of New York is so exciting!


10. TOP-NOTCH (informal) 😀

Meaning: excellent quality/standard

The entertainment was top-notch, including amazing live shows!


11. RUN-OF-THE-MILL 😐

Meaning: average; ordinary.

We went to a local bar that has rave reviews, but we thought it was run-of-the-mill.


12. NOTHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT 😐

Meaning: nothing special; interesting, etc.

The local cuisine wasn’t bad, but nothing to write home about.


13. STEER CLEAR OF.….. ⛔

Meaning: avoid something/someone.

When you go on holiday, always steer clear of the tourist traps and look for the places the locals go to.


14. RAVE (verb) 👏

Meaning: talk/write about how good you think something is.

Everybody that’s been to the Colosseum raves about it.


RAVE REVIEWS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Meaning: excellent reviews (“rave” is also used as an adjective).

We chose that hotel because it has rave reviews.


15. PACKED / HEAVING 😬

Meaning: extremely crowded; very full.

Spanish beaches are usually packed/heaving in summer.

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