How to Talk About Vacation in Russian: Words, Phrases, Examples

Planning a vacation is an exciting time, full of possibilities and adventures waiting to be had. But if you’re traveling to a Russian-speaking destination or simply want to discuss vacation plans with Russian friends or colleagues, it’s important to know the right vocabulary and phrases.

In this article, we’ll cover the essential Russian words and phrases you need to know when discussing vacations. From basic vacation terms to descriptions of activities and accommodations, you’ll build a solid foundation to communicate about this beloved topic. Let’s dive in and get you ready for your next grand adventure!

Talking about vacation in Russian

Basic Words for “Vacation” in Russian

Before we dive into more specific vacation vocabulary, it’s important to understand the core Russian words that refer to the concept of a “vacation” itself. These terms have slightly different shades of meaning and usage:

отпуск [ot-poosk]

This is the most common word for an official paid vacation from work. It refers to the extended period of time when employees are away from their job duties to rest and travel. For example:

Сколько дней отпуска тебе положено в этом году? (How many vacation days are you entitled to this year?)

У меня отпуск две недели в августе. (I have a two-week vacation in August.)

Я недавно вернулся из отпуска. (I just came back from vacation)

It collocates frequently with verbs related to taking, going on, planning or spending vacation:

брать отпуск – to take a vacation

Каждое лето я беру отпуск на две недели. (Every summer I take a two-week vacation.)

уходить в отпуск – to go on vacation

Завтра наш начальник уходит в отпуск. (Tomorrow our boss is going on vacation.)

планировать отпуск – to plan a vacation

Мы планируем семейный отпуск на августе. (We are planning a family vacation for August.)

проводить/провести отпуск – to spend a vacation

В прошлом году мы провели отпуск в Турции. (Last year we spent our vacation in Turkey.)

Some common collocations:

ежегодный отпуск – annual vacation

оплачиваемый отпуск – paid vacation

отпуск за свой счёт – unpaid leave

декретного отпуска – maternity leave


После декретного отпуска она вернулась на работу. (After maternity leave, she returned to work.)

So in summary, отпуск refers to an official extended period away from work duties, usually paid, that employees take annually for vacationing.

отдых [ot-dih]

A broader term meaning “rest” or “leisure time.” It can refer to vacations, but also to more casual downtime away from responsibilities. For instance:

После тяжелого рабочего года мне нужен хороший отдых. (After a tough work year, I need a good rest.)

Этот курорт идеально подходит для семейного отдыха. (This resort is perfect for a family vacation/leisure time.)

Во время отдыха я полностью расслабляюсь и забываю о проблемах. (During leisure time, I fully relax and forget about problems.)

Отдых бывает активным и пассивным. (Rest/leisure can be active or passive.)

The noun отдых conveys the idea of respite, unwinding, recreational time away from work/responsibilities. It’s a broad term that can encompass vacations, but also more casual downtime.

There is also a corresponding verb – отдыхать (to rest).

На выходных я люблю отдыхать на даче. (On the weekends, I like to rest at the dacha.)

каникулы [ka-nee-koo-li]

Specifically refers to school holidays or academic breaks from studies. This term is used for the vacation periods students get throughout the year. For example:

Летние каникулы начинаются в июне. (Summer vacation starts in June.)

It’s helpful to understand the nuanced differences between отпуск, отдых, and каникулы in typical usage. Mastering these core terms provides a solid foundation for further vacation vocabulary.

See Also: Essential Russian Vocabulary for Travelers

Essential Vacation Vocabulary

When discussing vacations in Russian, it’s important to have a solid grasp of the key vocabulary related to different types of trips, accommodations, transportation, and activities. Let’s explore some essential Russian words in each of these categories.

Types of Vacations:

активный отдых – active recreation

пляжный отдых – beach vacation

горнолыжный отдых – ski vacation

дайвинг – diving

отдых с детьми – vacation with children

Accommodations and Transportation:

отель – hotel

остановиться в отеле (stay at a hotel)

курорт – resort

отдыхать на курорте (vacation at a resort)

хостел – hostel

палатка – tent

разбивать/ставить палатку (pitch a tent)

самолёт – airplane

лететь на самолёте – to fly by plane

поезд – train

ехать на поезде – to go by train

автомобиль – car

на собственном авто (on one’s own car)

автобус – bus

туристический автобус – tour bus


экскурсия – excursion

прогулка – walk

поездка – trip

шоппинг – shopping

спа-процедуры – spa procedures

рыбалка – fishing

Learning and using these Russian words will allow you to discuss all aspects of vacations, from the type of trip you’re taking to the accommodations you’ve booked, how you’ll get there, and what activities you plan to enjoy. Build up your vacation vocabulary, and you’ll be ready to fully immerse yourself in the travel experience.

See Also: Transportation Vocabulary in Russian

Useful Phrases

In addition to vocabulary, it’s helpful to know some common phrases for talking about vacation plans, describing experiences, and expressing preferences.

Asking about vacation plans:

Где вы планируете провести отпуск? – Where do you plan to spend your vacation?

У вас есть планы на отпуск? – Do you have any vacation plans?

Как долго вы будете в отпуске? – How long will you be on vacation for?

Describing vacation experiences:

Мы провели отпуск на море. – We spent our vacation at the sea.

Мы останавливались в чудесном курортном отеле. – We stayed at a wonderful resort hotel.

Самым запоминающимся моментом была поездка на остров. – The most memorable moment was the trip to the island.

В следующем году я планирую поехать за границу. – Next year I plan to go abroad.

Expressing preferences:

Я предпочитаю активный отдых. – I prefer an active vacation.

Мне больше нравится отдыхать в горах. – I like vacationing in the mountains better.

Having these conversation phrases at the ready will help you seamlessly discuss vacation topics like making plans, sharing highlights, and voicing travel preferences as you put your Russian skills into practice.

See Also: 50 Easy Dialogues for Beginner Russian Learners


Discussing vacations is a delightful way to connect with others and share the thrill of new experiences. With the vocabulary and phrases you’ve learned in this article, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate conversations about travel plans, accommodations, activities, and memorable moments in Russian.

Don’t be afraid to use these words and phrases in conversations with Russian speakers, whether you’re swapping stories with friends or asking locals for recommendations. Immersing yourself in the language will not only improve your proficiency but also deepen your appreciation for the rich culture surrounding vacations in the Russian-speaking world.

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