Travel English: Holiday Accommodation

Whether you’re travelling to an English-speaking country to work, study, or play you’ll need a place to stay. Depending on your situation you might be looking for a hotel stay for quick weekend break or for an extended stay.

Whatever your circumstances we have a range of words and phrases to help you find the right accommodation for you.

All of these words and phrases will help you avoid ending up in ‘digs’ you don’t want. From finding a luxury suite to tracking down the cheapest hostel in town, add these to your vocabulary and your trip will go more smoothly!

Hotels and hostels

Twin room/double room – a twin room isn’t a room specially designed for twins! All it means is that room has two single beds in it rather than one double bed.

Do you have a reservation?” – you might be asked this by the receptionist when you check in at the hotel or hostel. In the hotel or hostel setting a reservation is the word given to the room that you have reserved, and may also be called your hotel “booking.”

Single supplement – this is something to watch out for if you’re travelling along. It’s a charge that some hotels still make if you’re a single person occupying a double or twin room. If you’re booking your trip through a holiday company you might find that the travel agent will also charge a single supplement. This is because holidays are usually priced per person based on two people sharing a twin or double room. When a single person books, tour operators add on an extra charge because they are passing on the extra cost charged by hotels for single occupancy of a double room. These are two words to look out for just so you know what you’re being billed for – and maybe you’ll want to consider finding alternative accommodation that doesn’t cost you extra for travelling solo.

Is there air conditioning?” – this one really depends on where you’re travelling to and the climate there. If you have trouble sleeping in the heat and you’re booking a room somewhere during the warmer summer months, this is a question you’ll definitely want to ask the hotel beforehand.

Could I have a wake-up call at … o’clock?” – another phrase that has another possible meaning! But this is the one to use if you need to be up early for any reason you might want to book a wake-up call. This is when the hotel reception calls you on your hotel phone at a certain time to make sure you’re awake on time. You can book one for any time.

The … doesn’t work” – hopefully you won’t have to use this phrase at all, but you might just end up in a hotel room that has a fault. This is the phrase to use to let reception know that something, be it your shower, heating, air conditioning, TV, isn’t working.

hotel neon

Accommodation and food

Some types of accommodation include the price of some or all of your meals too. Often the more meals that are included, the higher the price will be, but this isn’t always the case. Different phrases you might come across are:

Bed & breakfast – this is used to describe a room tariff that includes the price of breakfast as well as your room. Hotels will often give you the choice between a ‘bed only’ rate and a ‘bed and breakfast’ rate.

Bed & breakfasts are also a common name for a smaller type of accommodation in some English-speaking countries. Rather than being large hotels, bed & breakfasts are private homes that let out rooms to travellers. These are often cheaper than hotels, but not as cheap as hostels. Because they are smaller, you’ll also find them in more remote locations and in quieter parts of town, making them a good option for those looking to travel further afield.

Full board – when you see this rate advertised it means that not only breakfast but all meals are included in the advertised rate, as well as the cost of your room.

All-inclusive holiday – this is an increasingly popular type of holiday package, especially with families, as it is very easy to budget for. This type of holiday gives you a single price, which includes the cost of your flights, transport to and from the airport to your hotel, the cost of your room, and all of the food and drink you want for the duration of your stay. They are often targeted at families who may be too busy to book all of the different parts of their holiday separately, and they can also include the cost of some trips and excursions too. If you don’t plan on doing much besides lounging by the hotel pool while you’re on holiday then they can be a good option to help you save money.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a cheaper way to travel, you might want to look for accommodation that is described as self-catering. This means that you have to provide your own food, and is more often used to describe holiday apartments that have their own kitchen or cooking facilities rather than hotel rooms.

What time is breakfast?” – if you are staying in a hotel then here’s a question to ask at reception when you first arrive. Some hotels stop serving breakfast really quite early. If you’ve paid for bed and breakfast you want to make sure you get your money’s worth, and this phrase ensures you’ll know exactly how early you have to set your alarm during your stay.

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