Vacation has been covered on this blog more than once, but this subject — and activity — is something I’m ready to revisit at least once a year. First, a post from a couple years ago given a nice overview of the general vacation vocabulary. In this post, I would like to concentrate on what, in my experience, is a preferred vacation type for many Russians – namely, the seaside vacation.
Choose your destination
Every summer, thousands of Russians try to поехать на море (go to the beach). Море is technically the sea as opposed to an ocean, but people don’t usually say поехать на океан, even if that’s the case. I will give the vocabulary as it is used in the travel context, so don’t be alarmed if you see a “weird” Russian word for an English one whose translation you thought you knew.
Турция (Turkey) is a top vacation destination for Russians, followed by Египет (Egypt) and Греция (Greece). Over 3 million Russian tourists visited Turkey in 2013. This can probably be explained by good value for money and lack of visa restrictions.
Explore the amenities
Part of the reason Turkey and Egypt are so popular with Russian is the fairly high level of service they provide for the money. These countries are known for their all-inclusive resorts (“всё включено“), where guests don’t need to spend another cent once they set foot on the hotel’s large and often fenced-off premises. Popular food options are полупансион (half-board) and полный пансион (full board), often with a full buffet (шведский стол) for the guests.
Hotels try to keep their guests entertained with анимация — daily athletic and kids’ activities and nightly entertainment by the аниматоры. It may include аквааэробика (aqua aerobics), конкурсы (contests), дискотеки (dances), etc.
Other sell points for hotels include вид на море (ocean view), бесплатный трансфер из аэропорта (free airport transfer), кондиционер (AC, which may be a given for Western travelers, but not always so for Russians), and экскурсии на русском языке (tours in Russian).
Book your vacation
First and foremost, you need to book (забронировать) your trip. This can be done in a number of ways. Some people prefer package deals, so they бронируют путёвку (book a package). Путёвка may include a combination of things like перелёт (flight), проживание/размещение (accommodation), трансфер (airport pickup), питание (meals), and экскурсии (tours; day trips).
A synonym for путёвка is тур (a tour). Тур will most likely involve visiting multiple destinations or, if one destination is involved, a trip to that destination with a specific purpose. Some examples are автобусные туры (bus tours), where you visit multiple cities on a bus, or шопинг-туры (shopping tours), where you take advantage of the lower clothing prices in the US or Italy, as the case may be.
However, if you prefer to travel independently, you will need to book your hotel (забронировать отель/гостиницу; better still, забронировать номер – book a hotel room) and buy your train/plane tickets (купить билеты).
Get settled in
If you haven’t booked airport pickup (трансфер), you may need to ехать на такси (take a taxi) or добираться на общественном транспорте (take public transporation). Once you are in the hotel, you will need to check in (зарегистрироваться) at the reception (unfirtunately, there is no universally accepted Russian term, and you may hear ресепшен or even рецепция).
If there are any issues with the room, you may need to ask the hotel to move you to a different room (переселить в другой номер). Other questions may include missing towels (полотенца), using the pool lounge chairs (лежаки), and the timing of the meals (завтрак – breakfast, обед – lunch, ужин – dinner/supper).