Tips For Travelling When You Don’t Speak the Language

Travelling abroad is always an exciting experience. But, it could be a little frustrating when you are visiting a country where you don’t understand the language.

Here are a few things you can do:

1. Learn the basics

You don’t have to become a pro at speaking Mandarin or Spanish but you could learn the basics. Learn simple words such as “please”, “thank you” or “Do you speak English?” Not only will it help you navigate within your new environment, locals will be happy you made an effort.

2. Get a translation app

Apps such as Google Translate, Ultralingua and YandexTranslate may not be 100% accurate  but would certainly get the job done. Moreso, you can use these apps offline so you don’t have to worry about connecting to the Internet to use them.

3. Be nice

It’s simple, but it goes a long way. If you make a mistake, people will be more forgiving when you’re gracious about it.  

Mt Trebevic

4. Use sign language

Don’t underestimate the power of hand gestures and pointing. Ensure you do some research to ascertain that specific gestures are not offensive in your host country.

5. Always have the address of where you are staying

Taking a business card from your hotel or writing your address in a notepad could may save the day. Atleast you would find help by showing your taxi driver the address or asking for directions if you get confused or lost.

Travelling to a strange place  is a risk because you are moving out of your comfort zone, nevertheless, it is a risk worth taking. Therefore, don’t let the language hold you back from seeing the world.

“If we were meant to stay in one place we would have roots instead of feet”

Ever had to travel to a place where you couldn’t speak the language?How did you deal with it?

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2 comments

  1. This is a must do list as most travel destination do not speak the same langauge and then there is the issue with accent.

    1. Language barrier is usually a challenge that comes with traveling. Sometimes, I have to change my accent to be clearly understood.

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