What do you usually take with you when you go travelling? Do you change money before visiting another country? What is the longest journey you've ever made? How do you usually spend your time? What is the best and worst thing about travelling?
Read the conversation between a European person (Emily) and a Chinese person (Irene). It may give you some travel ideas as well as inspiration.
Pay close attention to word combinations. You can also take notes in your notebook.
Emily: What do you usually take with you when you go travelling?
Irene: I always take my camera as well as make-up and clothes. I love taking photos when I travel.
As far as shopping, I prefer paying by card. I know that some people prefer changing money before visiting another country which is quite a good idea. I like buying local souvenirs because they remind me of the places I've been to. Having a guidebook is also essential for me. It helps me during my trips and I make sure I don't miss anything. Sometimes I bring my laptop with me because I can find information online and Internet access is really important when travelling. You can check hotels and book tickets as well. Electronic devices are definitely a must.
Emily: Do you usually travel with your family or your friends?
Irene: Most of the time I travel with my family, but sometimes I travel with friends.
Emily: What is the longest journey you've ever made?
Irene: I usually travel for about two weeks, sometimes even one. I've been to Canada, France and Spain and I spent two weeks in each country.
Emily: What's the best place you've been to?
Irene: Definitely Europe. I love France and Spain. I hope to have the opportunity to visit other European countries in the future.
Emily: Chinese people love Europe so much. What do you like most?
Irene: The architecture, the food and the people are amazing.
Emily: What is the best and worst thing about travelling to a new country?
Irene: The best things about travelling are experiencing a different culture and trying local food. The thing I worry the most is safety. I always consider that before travelling and when I choose what countries and cities to visit. I also think about the language. When I went to France and Spain, for instance, I couldn't communicate with local people because of the language barrier. We rented a car but when we went to a petrol station, we didn't know how to fill up the tank ourselves. It was a self-service petrol station. Everyone knew how to do it but because we didn't know how to ask them in their language, we just waited there. This happened in a small town in France and people there didn't speak English. Some people didn't know how to ask us, but finally a couple who spoke English helped us fill up our car. I still remember them and the way the helped us.
Emily: Oh, that's really kind of them. Well, it's always challenging to do something for the first time, isn't it?
Irene: Yes, that's true.
Emily: When you travel, how do you spend your time?
Irene: My husband and I have different interests. I prefer going to cities with long history, magnificent architecture, and I also enjoy visiting museums, whereas my husband and my son prefer places with natural beauty. Or they go to beaches with beautiful sea views. They can lie on the beach all day long. They never go anywhere else. Sometimes we go to beaches in Thailand. For me, it's a terrible thing. Why would someone stay at the seaside all day long? It's so boring. You can go to other places, communicate with local people and try delicious food. I like to explore the city I go to whereas my husband and my son only want to relax. They like sunbathing and sitting around doing nothing.
Emily: I see. I also do quite a lot of sightseeing. The most important thing is that you all have a good time. Let me ask you something. Who in your family travels the most?
Irene: I like travelling the most, but maybe my parents. After their retirement, they travel several times a year. Sometimes they travel within China and sometimes they go abroad. They have a lot of free time.
Emily: This reminds me of a question regarding pensions. When Chinese people retire, do they get enough money?
Irene: Not all elderly people, but if those living in the cities had a stable job before retirement, after that they have enough money for travelling. Most of them have savings and they can afford it. My parents seldom go shopping. They don't buy anything special. They travel for the experience and they don't spend much when travelling.
Emily: What was the last place your parents visited?
Irene: They went to Egypt several months ago. Last month they went to a city in China with beautiful natural scenery. Recently they went to a valley nearby Shanghai. I encourage my parents to travel as much as they can. They usually travel in a group. It's more convenient for them.
Emily: Do you sometimes travel all together? I mean, your family and your parents.
Irene: Several years ago we travelled together, but recently my parents started travelling in a group. They think it's better for them. If they travel with us, we sometimes go to places they don't like. Another thing is that when we travel abroad, we do it during the summer holiday. At this time of the year, the airfare is higher. My parents don't necessarily travel in the summer because they have plenty of free time and they can choose another time of the year. They can travel on working days when the airfare is cheaper.
Emily: Where would you like to go on vacation?
Irene: I always feel excited before I go on vacation. I think that if you choose the right person to travel with, it doesn't matter where you go.
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