10 Idioms Tour Guides Use

Not every tour comes with a translator. Tour guides may use English expressions that you don’t understand. Here are 10 to learn before you sign up for a tour.

1. travel light: Don’t pack a lot of items. Bring only what you need.
Please travel light tomorrow. We have a lot of walking to do.

2. hit the road: Depart. Begin a tour.
We’ll hit the road as soon as the bus driver arrives.

3. off track OR off the beaten path: wrong way; away from the main road or route
Don’t go off track. There are some dangerous areas in this city.

4. watch your back: be careful; pay attention to people around you
Keep your wallet in a safe place and watch your back on the subway.

5. call it a day: finish an activity or tour; go home or back to the hotel
You all look tired. Let’s call it a day.

6. get a move on: go more quickly
We’ll need to get a move on if we want to catch the four o’clock bus.

7. a full plate: a full schedule; no free time
We have a full plate tomorrow, so get a good rest tonight.

8. bright and early OR first thing: very early in the morning
We’ll need to leave bright and early to catch the first ferry.

9. hang on or hang tight: wait patiently for a moment
Please hang tight until the driver returns.

10. If worse comes to worst OR If all else fails…: introduces the action to take when no other option is successful.
If worse comes to worst, call the police.

Learn more idioms in the reference section
Study English for Tour Guides

Survival Challenge: Which of the 10 idioms above would you use to complete this sentence?

Tour Guide: “Please _____________. The museum will be opening in a few minutes.”

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub | August 2009
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.


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