Describe a Travel Experience You Have Had: IELTS Speaking (2 Cue Cards With Example Answers)

Your examiner might ask you to describe a travel experience you have had in part two of your IELTS Speaking test.

Let’s take a look at the best way to answer this question. Below, you can also read a good example answer (go straight to the answer here).

What You Can Talk About

This is one of the easier part-two questions because you just need to remember an experience and tell the story. 

Make sure you choose a travel experience that’s easy to talk about. This might be:

  • A vacation you had recently or a long time ago
  • An amazing vacation you had as a child
  • A work trip you took to another city or country 
  • A longer-term journey you went on (for weeks, months, or years)
  • Some backpacking (cheap budget traveling) you did
  • A school trip you went on when you were younger
  • Any other traveling experience you can remember

You can then describe your trip. Here are some things you could focus on describing:

  • Interesting places you visited
  • Something interesting or exciting you did
  • A festival or traditional holiday you enjoyed
  • Interesting local food you ate
  • The hotel or apartment you stayed in
  • How you traveled there (car, train, plane…)
  • Who you traveled with
  • Who you met on your trip
  • Why you went there
  • How you felt on your trip
  • Something interesting you learned on your trip
  • Something that surprised you on your trip
  • A problem you had on your trip
  • Anything else that comes to mind

Use a Good Word Group

In part two, it’s important to use interesting vocabulary. One easy way to do this is to remember a few word groups. 

A word group is a collection of words and phrases that describe a certain feature of a place you visited, an experience you had, or an activity you did. 

For example, for this travel-related question, maybe you saw a festival in another country, and so you could use a ‘traditional event’ word group to describe that festival.

This ‘traditional event’ word group would include interesting words like: ‘customs, ancient, ancestral traditions, cultural heritage, passed down through the generations…’ and more. 

You could then use these ‘traditional event’ words in many different part-two questions, such as:

  • Describe a festival you like
  • Describe a vacation you went on
  • Describe your favorite country
  • Describe a place you’d like to visit
  • Describe a city you visited
  • Describe a historical event in your country
  • And many more part-two questions

Below, you’ll see an example answer using an ‘exciting activity’ word group. Or you can learn more about how to use word groups here

Use Apps to Memorize Faster

There are some really great apps that can help you prepare for IELTS Speaking. 

One perfect app for memorizing word groups is Anki App. This app uses spaced repetition to make sure you really remember the words and phrases well.

Some other good apps for IELTS Speaking are the Complete IELTS Full Skills app, Elsa app, and Cake app. 

Prepare Your Story Well

You should prepare a good short story for this question. 

It’s great to have a few travel stories prepared for Part 2 of your IELTS Speaking. This is because you can use these stories in your answers to many different kinds of questions.

Also, the more you practice preparing and telling stories, the better you become at using past tenses (primarily past simple, past continuous, and past perfect).

To see a word group and story in use, take a look at this example cue card and answer.

Travel Experience Cue Card

Describe a travel experience you have had.

You should say:

  • Where you had this experience 
  • What the experience was 
  • Who you did it with 

And say how you felt while you were doing it.

I’m going to talk about a really exciting, exhilarating experience I had when I was traveling in Thailand six years ago. I had just graduated from university, and I wanted to travel cheaply for six months. So I spent about three months backpacking around Thailand, which is a really wonderful country. And while I was there, I did a few extreme sports like zip-lining and bungee jumping. I did these things in Chiang Mai. 

Chiang Mai is a peaceful city in the north of Thailand. It’s filled with beautiful temples and surrounded by mountains and dense jungle. I traveled there with a good friend of mine, and also two other girls we had met in Thailand. One day, we all went to an adventure park in the jungle and I went zip-lining for the first time. I loved the sensation of flying between two huge trees above the jungle. It was a really heart-thumping experience. Totally out of this world. Adrenaline was pumping through me. I can still remember it really well. 

But the most hair-raising experience for me was bungee jumping. To be honest with you, I was quite terrified. My heart was beating out of my chest when I saw how high I was. But even though I was scared, I still jumped and I’m glad I did because it was a mind-blowing experience. And then I couldn’t wait to try it again. 

That whole day was an action-packed adventure. We also went white-water rafting in the afternoon, which was another rip-roaring adventure. I’ve never been much of a thrill-seeker before, so it was all a new experience for me. By the end of the day, I was buzzing with excitement. And I’d love to return to Chiang Mai one day and do it all again. 

(Word Group Used: ‘Exciting Activity’)

Thrilling, Exhilarating, Adventure, Mind-blowing, Heart-thumping, Action-packed, Thrill-seeker, A rip-roaring adventure, Hair-raisin, Breathtaking, Out of this world, I couldn’t wait to begin, I didn’t want it to end, I was on the edge of my seat, Gave me a real buzz, I was buzzing with excitement, Adrenaline was pumping through me, I was thrilled to bits, My heart was beating out of my chest, I was bored out of my mind, A big yawn-fest, It was about as exciting as watching paint dry, As dull as dishwater.

See more amazing word groups here. 

Now It’s Your Turn

Prepare to answer this question yourself.

First, think of a travel experience that’s easy to talk about. 

Then, think of a word group you could use to describe it. You can either create your own word group or use one already prepared for you here. 

Next, set a timer for one minute and ask yourself aloud to describe a travel experience you have had. 

Prepare your answer quickly, then start talking. Try to keep speaking for two full minutes (and remember to be careful with your past tenses). 

It’s best to record yourself. This way you can listen to your answer, notice any mistakes, and repeat the process a few times. 

Each time you do this, you’ll become better prepared for part two of your IELTS Speaking test.

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