To Travel is To Live: A Comprehensive Guide Through English Vocabulary for Tourism

Elly KimRevisado porNataliia Afonina / más sobre Proceso editorial8 min
Creado: Jun 12, 2023Última actualización: Dec 27, 2023
Comprehensive Guide Through English Vocabulary for Tourism

Teaching English as a foreign language is an international concept peculiar to many countries worldwide. And the good news is that you can use it in any tourist destination, from the United States to Australia or Japan. Knowing at least basic words and phrases is essential to feel confident when communicating with English speakers. Today’s article will accompany you through the most important stops on your trip abroad. So buckle up as we are ready to start our journey!

English for Tourism: General Vocabulary and Phrases

Today, over 13% of the world’s population speaks English. Therefore, numerous phrases and expressions can be useful for locals and tourists. But before diving into more specific vocabulary, let’s learn some general terms for your travel adventures. Here are some of them:

  • Tourist – a person who travels for pleasure.
  • Attractions – places of interest visited by tourists, including landmarks, museums, theme parks, etc.
  • Guide – someone who provides information and assistance to tourists during their journeys.
  • Souvenir – a memento or keepsake people buy to remember their trip.
  • Itinerary – a planned route or schedule for activities.
  • Accommodation – a place where people stay overnight, including hotels, hostels, or vacation rentals.
  • Landmark – a well-known and easily recognizable feature or monument significant to a specific location. 
  • Guidebook – a book that provides information, recommendations, and maps for tourists.
  • Transportation – the ways of getting from one place to another, including buses, trains, or taxis.
  • Passport – an official government document that identifies a person and allows them to travel. 
  • Visa – an endorsement or a stamp in a passport that grants permission for entry into a specific country.
  • Currency – the particular type of money used in a country or region. 

These are just a few examples of English tourist vocabulary. However, many more terms and phrases can become useful depending on the context or specific travel destinations. Let’s learn the most common ones by entering every stage of a typical trip abroad. 

Air Travel and Transportation

Every journey starts with choosing the destination. And after finding out where you want to go, you immediately book the tickets and enter your adventures. Then, you arrive at the airport and investigate how to transport to your accommodation. Every step of this journey is accompanied by different words and new English phrases.

  • Booking and tickets.

Can I ask you to help me book a ticket from London to Paris, please?

What is the departure time for the next flight to New York?

Can I choose my seat, or is it assigned automatically?

May I see your boarding pass again, please?

  • Modes of transportation. 

Is there direct transport from Venice to Florence?

Where is the nearest bus station?

Could you help me, please? I need to call a taxi.

I’m looking for a car for a week trip. Where can I rent it?

  • Public transport. 

Which bus should I take to reach the city center?

What time does the next train to Edinburgh depart?

How much is the fare for a subway ride?

Is this the right subway line for the museum?

Checking in the Hotel

We all want to relax and lay down after a long flight or ride. And the best place to do so when traveling abroad is the hotel. But before entering your room, you need to communicate with the person at the reception desk. After saying “hello,” use some of the following phrases.

  • Providing information.

I have a reservation for /the number of nights/ from /the check-in date/ to /the check-out/ date.

I booked a /room type/ for my stay.

I requested a non-smoking room. 

I have a special request.

  • Identification and payment.

Here is my passport for identification.

Could you please provide me with the registration form to fill out?

What is the total cost of my stay?

Could I pay with cash/credit card?

  • Clarifying policies and services.

What time is the check-in/check-out?

Is breakfast included in my reservation?

What are the hotel’s facilities and services available for guests?

Could someone please help me with my luggage?

Ordering Food and Exploring Restaurants

Finally, when you’ve relaxed a little, it is time to find something to eat. One option is to order food from the hotel’s restaurant. But you can also use your knowledge after years of English learning for foreigners and look for some exciting restaurants. To make the process smoother, memorize some of these phrases.

  • Asking for recommendations. 

What can you recommend from the menu?

Could you suggest any popular dishes?

Are there any vegetarian/vegan options available?

Do you have any local or seasonal dishes?

  • Placing an order. 

I would like to order the /dish name/, please.

Can I have this /menu item/ with /specific customization/?

May I request /a specific dietary requirement/ for my meal?

Could you bring me a glass of sparkling water, please?

  • Special requests or modifications.

Does this dish contain any /specific allergen/?

Could I have the dressing/sauce on the side, please?

Can you make it a little less spicy?

Is it possible to substitute the /ingredient/ with an /alternative ingredient/?


English for International Tourism: Communicating with Locals

When you have covered your basic travel needs, it is time to explore the local attractions and landmarks. And, of course, it would be impossible without communicating with locals, so let’s find out how to do it in different circumstances. The best way is to memorize some of these English for tourist guides phrases.

Asking for Directions and Getting Recommendations

It is usually difficult for tourists to find the destination without asking any questions (unless you are a topographical genius). In that case, local strangers come to the rescue. They can also help you with unique places to visit and other helpful recommendations. But before asking them, remember that English for international tourism person is different than for native speakers. Hence, keep in mind some of these phrases. 

  •  Asking for directions.

Excuse me, can you tell me the shortest way to the /destination/?

I’m a bit lost. Could you please help me reach this place?

Which way is the nearest landmark?

I’m trying to find the /street name/. Could you please give me directions?

  • Getting recommendations.

I’m looking for a good restaurant nearby. What can you recommend?

What are some popular attractions or places to visit in this area?

Do you know any nice cafés or coffee shops nearby?

Could you suggest a local dish that I must try?

  • Seeking specific places or services.

Is there a pharmacy/bank/hospital near here?

Where can I find a grocery store/souvenir shop?

I’m interested in exploring the art scene. Are there any galleries in this area?

Are there any hidden gems or off-the-beaten-path places nearby?

Language for Shopping (and Bargaining)

We can’t speak for you, but one of our favorite things, after teaching English as a foreign language, is visiting local markets and small family shops when traveling abroad. These are the best places to communicate with people, practice speaking, learn more about the culture, and, of course, buy some nice souvenirs. If you like these things as much as we do, don’t forget to learn some of these phrases.

  • Inquiring about the products.

Could you tell me more about this item?

What are the features/specifications of this product?

Is this item available in a different size/color?

Is there a warranty/guarantee for this item?

  • Asking for the price.

How much does this cost?

What is the price of this item?

Could you give me a discount on this product?

Is there any discount available for this?

  • Bargaining and negotiating.

Is there any room for negotiation on the price?

Could you offer a lower price for this item?

I’m interested in buying multiple items. Can we work out a deal?

Would you consider a discount if I purchase this along with /another item/?

Nail English Speaking with Promova

At Promova, we believe that learning a language is the key to immersing yourself in the cultures you encounter while traveling. And we are here to empower you with different essential skills that will transform your tourism experience. With all the options available, you can definitely find the perfect solution for yourself.

Our team of professional tutors offers both one-on-one and group lessons tailored to your specific needs. They always ensure that you progress at your own pace while receiving personalized guidance. And the best thing is that we invite you to examine our free trial lesson. You can explore our teaching methods before making your final decision. Another amazing option is our online language courses that bring the classroom to your screen. 

But we know that learning a language is not just about the lessons – it’s about practicing and engaging with others. That’s why we offer you to join our free Conversation Club. Thereyou can meet fellow English learners, share experiences, and enhance your speaking skills in a supportive environment. Join Promova today and let your adventures truly come alive with the power of language proficiency.


To sum up, language is the ultimate key that opens doors to rich cultural experiences and amazing travel adventures. Whether you’re going on a solo expedition or joining a group of fellow wanderers, even basic tourism vocabulary can bridge the gaps and improve your communications. We believe this article will help you in your next journey. By the way, what is your favorite travel destination? Tell us in the comments!


Is it necessary to learn English for successful tourism?

While it’s not an absolute requirement, learning English can significantly improve your travel experience. Since it is a common language, it can help you communicate with locals, navigate unfamiliar environments, and access a broader range of services and information. You will easily interact with people from different countries, making your adventures more enjoyable and rewarding.

What are the best resources for studying English tourism vocabulary?

Since most travel words and phrases are very straightforward, you can start by expanding your general vocabulary. You can do it by practicing with professional tutors or reading books. For more specific terms, you can watch TV shows or movies dedicated to the travel topic, like Rick Steven’s Europe or Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives

What should I do if I don’t understand a native speaker?

Language barriers can sometimes pose challenges during your travels. If you can’t understand a native person, relax and don’t panic. Just kindly ask your interlocutor to repeat their line or, maybe, speak slowly. Don’t forget to mention that English is not your mother tongue – most locals will understand your situation and use more simple phrases and words.

Can my English fluency level negatively affect my travel experiences?

Although a lower level of English fluency may present certain challenges, it should not necessarily negatively impact your travel experiences. Traveling is about embracing new cultures, connecting with people, and exploring the world. Even with limited English skills, you can still navigate your way, interact with locals, and enjoy your adventures.