ESL Travel Vocabulary: Word List & Games

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

ESL (English as a Second Language) students often find themselves in situations that require the use of travel-related vocabulary. This lesson provides teachers with word lists and activities intended for ESL classroom use.

Travel Exercises for ESL Students

Traveling can be stressful. Traveling and trying to communicate in English, which may be an ESL student's second or third language, can make the situation even more difficult. This difficulty can be mitigated by providing your students the following travel word lists and practicing with engaging and informative activities.

Word List 1 - Modes of Transport

  • Foot
  • Bicycle
  • Motorcycle
  • Car
  • Taxi/cab
  • Bus
  • Train
  • Airplane
  • Helicopter
  • Ship/cruise liner

Word List 2 - Common Travel Vocabulary

  • Airport
  • Bus Station
  • Train Station
  • Ticket/boarding pass
  • Passport/ID
  • Bags/baggage/carry-on
  • Check-in
  • Baggage Claim
  • Transfer
  • Shuttle

Travel Role-plays

Role-plays are advantageous because they can be either scripted or improvised. A simple script can help lower level students gain confidence and practice pronunciation without worrying too much about generating vocabulary. Alternatively, an improvised role-play can help higher-level learners practice using new vocabulary and grammar patterns. Depending on the size of your class, you can assign role-plays in small groups or as an entire class. In order to set the right tone, ask two students to perform the following role-play for the class.

Passenger: Good afternoon.
Airline Counter Attendant: Hello. How can I help you today?
Passenger: I have a flight booked for 2:30.
Attendant: Do you have a ticket number?
Passenger: Yes. Here it is.
Attendant: Thank you. I'll also need to see your passport.
Passenger: Okay.
Attendant: All right. Everything seems to be in order. Would you prefer a window or an aisle seat?
Passenger: Window please.
Attendant: Okay. Do you have any bags to check?
Passenger: Just one.
Attendant: Here is your ticket. You will be boarding at gate B12.
Passenger: Thanks for your help.

After the role-play demonstration, ask for brave volunteers to improvise a role-play in front of the class using one of the following situations.

  • On a cruise ship
  • Buying a bus ticket
  • Boarding a train
  • Asking for a ticket upgrade
  • A flight delay/cancellation

You can also put students into small groups and ask them to write their own role-plays to perform in small groups or for the room.

Book With Us!

In this activity, students will create travel brochures for a destination they are familiar with. It could be a place from their home country or another appealing location.

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