Planning a trip: a conversation lesson

One of my favourite things about being a CELTA tutor is working with people who are talented and highly motivated. Ana Paula is one such teacher. When I read her skills assignment, I told her the text would lend itself really well to a conversation lesson.

Today’s lesson, then, is now my own, but Ana’s. It is aimed at upper-intermediate adult students and will certainly generate some interesting discussion.

Ana Paula is a freelance teacher who has been in ELT for over for 4 years, working in Guarujá and São Paulo. She has also lived in New York – United States and holds the CELTA and ESL from Borough Of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). She will have graduated in Pedagogy by the end of this year.
Finally, I highly recommend checking her YouTube channel and Facebook page.


The steps below are based on a PowerPoint presentation a you can download  here on Dropbox and here on Google Drive.


[Slide 1]

Show students the picture and elicit what it is about/what the people are doing (planning a trip).

Show the question and ask students to discuss it in pairs. After a few minutes elicit ideas and ask students to justify them.


[Slide 2]

Show students the Facebook post and, in small groups, ask students to discuss the questions. After a few minutes, collect some feedback and board their ideas.


[Slide 3]

Show the question “Which of the benefits you mentioned in the previous discussion appear in the video?” and refer back to the ideas you have boarded. Play video once and let students compare answers. After that, check with the whole group.

The video is available on the PowerPoint presentation and has been edited and shortened. You can watch the original one below.


[Slide 4]

Show follow-up questions for students to discuss in pairs/small groups. After a few minutes, collect feedback from the whole group.


[Slide 5]

Tell students they are going to read a text from Nomadic Matt, a website which gives tips and suggestions for travelers. Do not show the title of the text.

Tell students to read the text quickly and decide if the author likes planning his trips or not.

You can find the original text here and my adapted version here.

After checking students’ opinions, show them the specific information questions and let students read the text again.

Answers for specific information task:

1. Has Nomadic Matt never cared about planning a trip? NO – He cared about it in the beginning: “On my first round-the-world trip in 2006, I knew where I was going, staying, for how long, and how I would get there.”

2. Has Nomadic Matt seen people because it was unplanned? YES: “I changed my plans to meet a friend on an island in Thailand and stayed for a month. Another time, I met a girl in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, delayed my departure a few days, and we ended up traveling and dating for five months.”

3. Would the author would have had better memories if he had scheduled some events? NO “I wouldn’t have had those or many other experiences if I had rigidly kept to my planned itinerary.”

4. Do the majority of people have an effective way to travel? NO: “most new travelers are the opposite – they over plan their trips. Their entire route is scheduled, sometimes down to the specific hour. Two days here, three days there. (…) It is a race against the clock.”

5. According to him, should traveling be totally unplanned? NO: “I think the best “trip planning” is to figure out the general path you want to take, book the first few nights of your trip, and let your travels unfold from there.”

Give them a chance to compare answers and then check with the whole group.


[Slide 6]

Get students into new groups to discuss the follow-up questions. After a few minutes, collect feedback from the whole group.


[Slide 7]

Go over the pronunciation of the words in bold, then get students to guess the meanings based on the context.

After a few minutes, elicit their ideas and ask CCQs to double-check if students know what the expressions mean.


[Slide 8]

In pairs, students answer conversation questions. After a few minutes, collect feedback from the whole group.


Thanks for reading and if you liked this lesson make sure you thank Ana too!

7 thoughts on “Planning a trip: a conversation lesson

  1. Your lessons are just spectacular. Thank you so very much for this beautiful work of yours. Every lesson is just amazing, they work so well with the students plus the timing is perfect for the class. Thank you so very much! Keep doing this job, it helps a lot of ESL Teachers.


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