Well summer is here and it is probably high time for most of you to be off on a great summer holiday with a warmer climate and clean sandy beaches. Many travellers who have a good command of English still encounter problems with a few key terms that continually seem to create confusion. That is why we have decided to help untangle these terms with…. CLARIFICATION OF SOME TRICKY HOLIDAY TERMS.
Should we get all-inclusive or full board or half board?
The difference between these different boarding arrangements is generally accepted although individual hotels can sometimes manipulate the terms of what they ‘actually meant’ so be careful when booking. Typically:
- Full board =3 meals with water and fizzy drinks (breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets)
- Half-board = only breakfast and dinner with water and fizzy drinks WITHOUT LUNCH.
- All-inclusive = all meals (at designated times) and all drinks (alcohol included) at all hours of the day.
Individual hotels have been known to invent small variations of these arrangements by offering all alcoholic drinks all the time but only served in tiny white plastic cups. Or they will offer a ‘soft all-inclusive’ which is only soft drinks and for alcohol only domestic wine. The point is to choose your type of board carefully and ask about the details.
The entertainment staff were outstanding!
Very often speakers of European languages who learn English use the term ‘animator’ to describe hotel staff who are solely responsible for entertaining guests and organising fun activities for their children. To be very clear, in English an animator is SOMEONE WHO DRAWS CARTOONS (animations) and nothing else.
The people at a hotel who have the very fun job of making sure everyone is having a great time while they’re on holiday is referred to as ‘a member of the entertainment staff’, ‘a hotel rep’ or perhaps ‘a hotel entertainer’.
Is it possible to reserve a beach chair/deck chair?
- A chair designed to be carefully positioned under an umbrella so you can lie on the beach next to the water is called…..surprise….. ‚a beach chair’.
- The horizontally positioned chair remarkably similar to a beach chair only found next to a swimming pool on the hard terrace, usually with a strip of material to support you while you drink cocktails is called….. ‚a deck chair’.
Avoid an international crisis when on your hols! Rituals connected to the reservation of these precious objects seem to differ from country to country and when people from various countries convene there can sometimes be minor disputes. Some believe that the physical presence of a body is necessary to occupy/save a deck chair. Others believe that a beach towel is simply enough to safely reserve an otherwise empty deck chair for the better part of a whole day.
One simple but effective solution that I have seen involved giving chairs to guests who first provide a refundable deposit. This system is a bit more complicated but definitely prevents the frivolous treatment of deck chairs!
I have a lot of suitcases/luggage/baggage/ bags/ briefcases?
So many words for the same thing? It is true there these words are extremely similar but they are all used slightly differently.
- SUITCASES – this is a countable noun and therefore collocates with ‘are’ and can have an ‘s’ at the end or even be just one. A (one) suitcase.
- BAGGAGE / LUGGAGE – these are basically interchangeable without any misunderstandings but one must remember that they are uncountable e.g. ‘I haven’t got much baggage’ or there is a lot of baggage. From a grammatical point of view, there will never be a ‘s’ at the end of these two words.
- BAGS – can colloquially refer to your luggage but it can also be used as open type containments not specifically designed for travel. i.e./ shopping bags.
- BRIEFCASES – are not exactly connected to holiday travel but they may be connected to business travel. A briefcase is something that a business person may take as a carry-on on the plane. It can have a handle and even a combination lock.
- CARRY-ON – as the term might suggest is a type of luggage you intend to take on board the plane.
Want even more help with your English before you go on your travels?