This week's talking point is cheap holidays. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas come to mind more easily the day you get together with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.
Read some of the ideas for cheap holidays. Discuss the questions with a partner.
1 What do you think are the pros and cons of each idea?
2 Do you know anyone who has done any of these things? Were they happy with the experience?
3 Think of some other ideas for saving money on a holiday and share them with the members of your conversation group. Which tips are the most useful? Which ideas would you be more willing to try?
1 Go couch-surfing. On websites like couchsurfing.org, local people will let you sleep on their sofa for free. It's not luxury travel, but you'll meet friendly locals and see how they really live.
2 Swap houses. Exchange houses with someone in the place you're going to visit. You stay in their place, and they stay in yours. Websites like homelink.org can arrange this for a small fee.
3 Save on travel costs. Book early for good offers with low cost airlines. Use special services such as InterRail for travelling around Europe by train, or check out car-sharing websites like ridefinder.eu.
4 Eat street food. In many cities, even really expensive ones, you can find food which is both tasty and cheap at stalls in the street. For example, try crépes in Paris, kebabs in Istanbul, tacos in Mexico City. Most places have their own delicious specialty.
5 Try voluntourism. These holidays combine volunteer work and tourism. Help in an orphanage, work on an organic farm, and more — all for free. You'll save money and have experiences you'd never find on a package holiday.
6 Don't move from home: Staycation. A staycation is a period in which an individual or family stays home and visits places within driving distance, sleeping in their own beds at night. Staycations are usually organized around a theme: visiting monasteries, visiting cellars, doing advanture sports.
To illustrate the topic, watch this eHow video where writer Sophie Uliano tells us how to organise a staycation.
Hi, I'm Sophie Uliano, author of "The Gorgeously Green" book series, and today I want to talk to you about how to create a staycation.
Now, what is a staycation, and why on Earth do a staycation? Well, a staycation is as it sounds. You're going to stay at home in your own city instead of getting on a plane and traveling somewhere else.
Why on Earth do that? Well, two very good reasons. One, it's going to save you a tremendous amount of money, and two, it's also going to really reduce your carbon footprint because obviously you're not getting on an airplane and flying somewhere, which is always a very, very positive thing for mother Earth.
So what are the few things, a few key points that make for a very successful staycation? Number one is the planning. Now, make sure that you plan it as you would a regular vacation. So, on a regular vacation you're going to be getting on line and you're going to be picking your hotel. You're going to be picking your activities. You're going to be basically creating an itinerary. So, for your staycation, do exactly the same because if you don't plan an itinerary you're going to end up just slipping back to your hold habits. Oh, I'm just going to go to the office, I'm just going to check my emails, I'm just going to lie around vegging out. No, no, no, no, no, you've got to have that itinerary. So planning, very important, what day are we going to start it, what time of the day are we going to start as a family, two o'clock on Friday afternoon, and then you're going to start planning things like let's plan such and such a museum or art gallery. Let's go to a botanical garden that we've never been before, etc. Now, the next point is to be a tourist in your own city which is, this is what I really like because we never are, so maybe take a tour bus and go and look at sites that you would never even dream of going to see, really fun especially if you have kids. Go and look at local sites that probably everybody comes to your city to see but you never do.
Now I would say that one of the primary rules, there's only got to be one rule on this staycation, and that has got to be turn it off, and I cannot stress the importance of this because I find it's, obviously we all do. Now, it's so tempting just to check the BlackBerry and the emails or the computer, and I think that as a couple or as a family, you have to all sit down and say right, this is what we're going to do. We're going to pretend we're on, it's like a beach in Hawaii where we wouldn't be sitting, hopefully we wouldn't be sitting or checking things, and we're going to pick a time, two o'clock on Friday afternoon when everything will be turned off and phones will all be put away in one place. Now, good for you as a family if you can take three days with absolutely no switching it back on and if you can do that, I promise you you will have a sense of peace and wellbeing that you haven't had for a very very long time.
Now, if there are some really urgent concerns, if you have teenagers that say no way or you have a serious office emergency, then maybe plan a check in time, ten minutes a day when you'll all just spend that ten minutes to check in. So, these are some very simple things that you can do to create a very simple staycation.
Finally, just think about the exercise factor because in your own city or your own environment you can do things like take hikes that you've never hiked before. You can all hire bicycles and decide that for three days instead of even getting in your car you're going to bicycle around your city. So, to have a wonderful relaxing vacation you do not have to get on a plane or book an expensive hotel. Try having a staycation at home in your own city. So, I'm Sophie Uliano and you can always do things yourself for less money and do it gorgeously.