June 9, 2013

Free English Lesson! 5 Common Travel Idioms You Really Should Know

2 minute read

Idioms can make the English language sound completely crazy, so to get to grips with learning English, we’re going through some common idioms. Take a look at some travel themed idioms you might hear when you’re out and about.

1. Right up my alley

This means that something is just what you wanted, or appeals to you strongly. You might use it if you see something you like.

E.g. “That movie looks like it’s right up my alley, I’d love to go and see it.”

2. Whatever floats your boat

This is used as a response to some choices you may be given, where you are happy to go with whatever the other person wants.

E.g. If you are asked, “Shall we eat in, or get a take away?” you can respond, “I don’t mind – whatever floats your boat.”

3. Jump ship

This means to reject or abandon something, especially if you have been involved in it for a long time. It suggests there is no chance of changing your mind or going back to it.

E.g. “The tour didn’t take place in the end, because the main leader decided to jump ship.”

4. Train of thought

This describes the sequence of thoughts in your mind, especially if it is quite complicated. You often use this phrase when you are interrupted and forget what you were thinking about.

E.g. “I completely lost my train of thought when the phone rang.”

5. Step up a gear

This is used when an action needs to be intensified or improved, such as telling someone to work harder or faster.

E.g. “You need to step up a gear if you want to get dinner ready in time.”

Quick Practice

Which idioms would you use in the following events?

  1. Your friends ask you where you want to go out, but you don’t really have a preference.
  2. Your boss has suddenly announced they are leaving the company.
  3. You have got a lot of homework you need to catch up on, and you are falling behind.
  4. You see a book in your shop that your mother will really enjoy.
  5. The best man at a wedding stops halfway through his speech.

Your Turn! 

Write a conversation between a group of friends, and try to use at least one idiom for each person. Thinking about how to use phrases in the right context is the perfect way to understand and remember them.