Philip: Holidays. I love holidays. Where shall we go this year?
Anna: I don’t know. What do you fancy? The beach? A city? The countryside?
Philip: We did the beach last year. How about a city break?
Anna: Ok. Somewhere old and cultured, or new and exciting? A tour, or by ourselves?
Philip: By ourselves, of course. I think we can find a mix of all of those. I’ve heard Tokyo is very popular, and Seoul is interesting – a mix of old and new.
Anna: Let’s go to Seoul. I’ve heard it is easy to get out into the hills and countryside from there too, so we can also get some fresh air.
Philip: Excellent. It’s a plan. Right, where shall we stay? Hotel? Hostel? Camping?
Anna: Camping? Are you out of your mind? I’d like a 5-star hotel, but I think a budget hotel is fine.
Philip: Cool. Ok, you look into the hotel, and I’ll book the flights.
Philip: Hello. Are you staying at the hotel too?
Hotel Guest: Yes, I’ve been here since Tuesday.
Philip: Is it Ok?
Hotel Guest: I’ve not had any problems. Oh, there was no hot water on Wednesday morning, but that has been the only problem.
Philip: How are you finding Seoul?
Hotel Guest: Really good. The people seem friendly – although I can’t speak Korean – and it is really clean. It is also walkable: things are close together, and the streets aren’t too crowded.
Philip: Anything you recommend?
Hotel Guest: I think you should go to Hongdae for the food. And visit the Seoul Tower. Those have been my highlights.
Philip: Ok, we’ll give those a go. I had better go find my girlfriend, but very nice to meet you. See you around.
The most popular places on Earth to have a holiday in 2012 were: Paris, London, New York, Antalya (in Turkey), and Singapore.
However, people from different countries have different holiday habits. For people in Britain, Spain is one of the most popular places, whilst Japan was named in 2012 as British people’s favourite foreign country.
Apart from Canada and Mexico – America’s neighbours – Americans like to visit the UK. Speaking English is probably important.
A lot of Australians holiday in Australia (it is very far away from other countries), but New Zealand, Bali (in Indonesia) and the USA are also popular.
People in Spain and Portugal often go to countries that speak the same language, so South America is a top holiday spot: Brazil speaks Portuguese, and the other countries in South America speak Spanish.
Most people think holidays are about going to the beach, or taking a city break; however, some people like to take strange holidays.
– A lot of people like to go swimming at the beach, or in the hotel pool, but some people like to go on swimming holidays. These are a lot of hard work: every day the swimmers swim several kilometers.
– In Stockholm, Sweden, people can go for a rooftop tour. This is a tour in which people can go around the city not on the streets, but by walking across the roofs of the houses. In Lisbon, Portugal, you can go on a blindfolded tour. This asks that you smell, feel and listen to the city. In London, England, a flirting tour takes you around the city while flirting with local people.
– People who like scary things can go on ghost hunts. Visit old castles, places where people died, and try not to get too scared.
– Storm chasing is when people go looking for dangerous weather, such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Often people drive cars, trying to get as close to the storm as possible.
– On the Mexico-America border, it is possible to go on an ‘illegal border cross’ tour. A guide will take you illegally from one country to the other. The tour becomes more fun if border control guards try to chase you.
– War zone holidays are strangely popular. Some people like to go to the most dangerous places on Earth because these are exciting and very few people will visit them. Some wars actually happen in very beautiful parts of the world.
– If you have a lot of money, you can even go to space for your holiday (or the edge of space). Planes fly straight up and take you to the thin blue line where the Earth’s atmosphere finishes.