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See the world - English idioms for travel

As the effects and consequences of COVID-19 seem to be close to going away, myself and a lot of people are starting to think about travel again!

In the past, we could just check out flight tickets, ask for time off work, and off we went! In the last two years, things have obviously been very, very different. For younger people growing into their 20’s during this period, not being able to move, to travel and experience new places has been particularly hard.

So today let’s have a look at some interesting travel based idioms, so you can get ready for your next trip like a native English speaker!

At RKA Valencia we love to show you how English is used by native speakers, in their day-to-day lives. It’s not just about passing Cambridge English exams (although that is important), and we focus on teaching our students how to speak in real life situations too.

Hit the road

This is a fun, light and exciting idiom that means to leave, and start your journey. Hitting the road means to get travelling, to start a trip and to leave somewhere.

It comes from the time of horse travel, when travelling meant your horses’ hooves ‘hitting the road’ every step, so you would actually have a very auditory sense of travelling!

“Are you ready to hit the road Rob, we’re going to be late if we don’t leave now?”

“Let’s hit the road, it’s quite a long way and I don’t want to drive at night”

Live it up

This is another inspirational idiom, which we can use with a lot of energy and positivity. To ‘live it up’ means to have fun, to celebrate life and to enjoy yourself.

We often use this idiom to talk about doing something different or special, that we wouldn’t normally experience in our daily lives.

“We’re only in the USA for 2 weeks, let’s really live it up!”

“He looks like he’s living it up to the maximum on this trip"

Call it a day

When we are tired, exhausted or simply have had enough, we can ‘call it a day’. This idiom means to stop what you are doing, and relax or rest. We normally use it when we have been doing an activity or a task for quite a long time, and we still haven’t finished.

It’s connected to the idea of a ‘work-day’ where you stop what you are doing, go back to your social or personal life, then continue the task on the next day. We can use this to talk about a difficult task, an unsuccessful attempt at something or a habit/regular activity we are not going to continue.

“I’ve tried my best, but I’m calling it a day, let’s try again tomorrow”

“OK let’s call it a day, have a relaxed weekend and come back on Monday with more energy”

Running on fumes

This idiom has a connection to the previous one, as it talks about being tired and not have any energy left. It comes from the idea that when you are driving a car, and you don’t have any petrol/fuel left, the car is ‘burning fumes’ (fumes are gases) instead of the liquid, which is gone.

We can use this to talk about how we don’t have any energy or motivation to continue doing something, or if we look or feel very tired.

“I’m running on fumes, so let’s stop now and come back to it later"

“Jack looks like he’s running on fumes, this project has been difficult for him”

Cool your jets

This is a flight-based idiom, that comes from the engines that planes use in the modern day. Jet engines obviously get very hot when they are powered up for a long time. To ‘cool your jets’ means to take a break, relax and try to be calm.

We can use this to tell people to not be so emotional and upset, or to get people to slow down and be more patient.

“Tom, you need to cool your jets, otherwise you’ll say something you will regret”

“OK let’s all take 10 minutes, cool our jets, and try again with a bit more patience please”


For any students who want better quality English classes, taught by native English experts, then find out more about us here. We teach online, in person, or you can choose when you visit us at our Valencia English academy.

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