Travel Idioms & Phrasal Verbs

Travel Idioms & Phrasal Verbs

“Adventure is worthwhile.”

Aesop /ˈiːsɒp/, a Greek fabulist and storyteller 

Do you have itchy feet*? Do you sometimes want to get away from it all*? If you have wanderlust, this post is for you. Read it to know useful travel idioms.

  • to have itchy feet – to have a strong desire to travel: 1) The trip gave me itchy feet and I wanted to travel more. 2) I have permanently itchy feet – I want to see as many places as possible.
  • to get away from it all – to go to a place where you are free from your usual work or responsibilities: 1) Let’s go to the beach. I just want to get away from it all. 2) We went walking to get away from it all for a while.
  • wanderlust /ˈwɒndəˌlʌst/ – a strong desire to travel: 1) Wanderlust has led him to many different parts of the world. 2) His wanderlust would not allow him to stay long in one spot.


After a year in which I’d been rushed off my feet at work, I decided I needed a comfortable break. I wanted a place where I could get away from it all – somewhere a bit off the beaten track.

I ended up in the Shetland Islands, which are 170km north of mainland Scotland and probably the most remote place in the British Isles.

The climate isn’t very hospitable, but it’s a fascinating place, with archaeological sites dating back thousands of years, spectacular scenery, and enormous colonies of seabirds. To get the most out of it, you really need to hire a car, and you can get around the different islands using the small car ferries.

I went to relax and wind down, but there was a surprising amount going on, and the people were very welcoming. It made a nice change, and I’m sure I’ll go back again.

from “Oxford Learner’s Pocket Phrasal Verbs & Idioms” by R.Gairns and S.Redman

  • rushed off your feet – extremely busy: 1) We used to be rushed off our feet at lunchtimes. 2) I’ve been rushed off my feet all morning.
  • break – a time away from work or your regular activity, or a holiday: 1) Take a couple of weeks off – you need a break. 2) We decided to have a weekend break in Paris. Time off is a period of time when you do not work because of illness or holidays, or because your employer has given you permission to do something else: 1) I need to take some time off. I’m so stressed now. 2) If I take a couple of weeks off, I’ll go to London.
  • off the beaten track – far away from other people, houses, etc.: 1) I love off-the-beaten-track destinations. 2) Getting off the beaten track can be such a rewarding experience.
  • to end up (somewhere) – to finally be in a particular place: 1) They’re traveling across Europe by train and are planning to end up in Kyiv. 2) After two weeks of traveling around Europe, we ended up in Paris.
  • to date back (some time / to…) – to have existed for a particular length of time or since a particular time: 1) This tradition dates back to medieval times. 2) The custom dates back 400 years.
  • to get the most (out) of sth. – to take full advantage of sth. because it may not last long: 1) I have a simple way to make the most of my trips and pull off a more enjoyable, less stressful vacation. 2) I get the most out of my vacations by planning them thoroughly. If you pull off something difficult or unexpected, you succeed in doing it: 1) Hanley pulled off a surprise victory in the semi-final. 2) It will be a very fine piece of mountaineering if they pull it off.
  • to get around – to go from place to place: 1) Madrid’s excellent transport system allows you to get around the city quickly and safely by bus, metro, train or taxi. 2) It didn’t occur to me that I would have to rely on public transportation as a way to get around the city.
  • to wind /waɪnd/ (wound; wound) down – to rest or relax after a period of activity: 1) When he goes on holiday, it takes him the first couple of days just to wind down. 2) Give me a minute. I need to wind down.
  • to make a change – used to say that an activity is enjoyable because it is different from what you usually do: 1) The holiday made a change. 2) The break will make a nice change.

Related: “Public Transportation English,” “Transport Idioms & Phrasal Verbs,” “Summer English” (for the difference between holiday and vacation), “Idioms About Rest & Relaxation

Let’s learn a bit more about the Shetland Islands by watching a video, shall we? The useful vocabulary is given below. Note that there is a preposition mistake made twice during the video. Can you catch it? Try to do it and leave a comment telling us if you’ve caught it or not. 😉

  • to stick around – to remain in a place for longer than you originally intended: We are not sticking around the city for long.
  • airstrip – a long narrow piece of land that can be used by planes for landing and leaving the ground: They found the village while expanding the airstrip in the 1970s.
  • to hold off on doing sth. – to deliberately delay doing sth.: We’re going to hold off on going to Viking history.
  • to make it to (a place) – to succeed in getting to (a place): We’ve made it to the northernmost fish and chips shop in the UK.
  • a bunch of trading – a lot of trading: There was a bunch of trading with Europe.
  • cod – a fish that lives in the North Atlantic Ocean
  • haddock -a fish that lives in the North Atlantic Ocean
  • scallop – a type of shellfish
  • mussel – a type of small shellfish
  • to resort to sth. – to do something extreme or unpleasant in order to solve a problem: When the trade fell off (= decreased), the locals resorted to fishing for cod and haddock.
  • hermitage /ˈhɜː(r)mɪtɪdʒ/ – the place where a hermit (sb. who chooses to live alone and far away from society for religious reasons) lives: There was a little hermitage here.
  • hoard – a large amount of sth. that someone has saved or hidden somewhere: They found a little treasure hoard back in the day (= in the past).
  • treasure trove – a collection of valuable, interesting, or useful things: A monk hid a little treasure trove.
  • to blow sb. away – to impress someone very much or make them very excited: I’ve been blown away by the scenery.
  • scenic /ˈsiːnɪk/ – providing beautiful views of nature: The place is extremely scenic.

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