Love travelling? Chances are you’re almost guaranteed to end up visiting somewhere where you don’t speak the local language at some point or another. Here are some very useful tips for visiting a country where you don’t speak the language!
Learn a few phrases before you go
If I could just give you one language tip for when you’re visiting a country where you don’t speak the language, it’s this: learn the basics before you go. There are four words I absolutely recommend learning before travelling to a place where you don’t speak the language and they are: “please”, “thank you”, “sorry” and “hello”. Just learning these four simple words and phrases will go a long way!
Bring a phrasebook
Although you could probably just save a few phrases to your phone, when you’re travelling technology can (and often does) fail you. Smartphones run out of battery (especially since the invention of Snapchat and Instagram Stories) and chargers often break. If in doubt, go old-school and pick up a phrasebook to carry on your travels with you. Alternatively, jot a few phrases you think you’ll need down (e.g. please, thank you, hello, etc.).
Planning is key!
When it comes to travelling to a country where you don’t speak the language (or indeed, travelling anywhere) planning beforehand will ensure less stress and more enjoyability on your trip. Plan itineraries in advance and print them off to carry around in your bag. Having addresses etc to hand will also help you point to places where you need to be and make getting directions when you don’t speak the language that much simpler.
Your smartphone is your friend
Technology! Today, there are plenty of apps and translation tools that can be reached at the swipe of a smart screen. Download a few apps before you go to practice your knowledge of the local language, and to help you out when you get stuck on a sentence or phrase!
Use Body Language
Never underestimate the prompt of body language. Whether it be hand gestures or finger pointing, small uses of body language can go a long way in getting your point across (particularly when your accent skills aren’t ‘on point’ at all!)
Smile and be kind
Just like using body language, the power of a smile goes a long way when you’re asking someone for help. Be kind and you’ll find people are a lot more willing to help you!