Como se Dicé? The Best Tips for Traveling When you Don’t Speak the Language

Is it impossible? No! We can’t speak all the different languages in the world even if we spent all our life learning them, but there are ways to communicate with people who speak a foreign language. For some languages, although you don’t know them, because they are close to your native language, you might be able to pick some words up and understand the basics. Same with a language you have learned in high school. Many languages have the same root or share some vocabulary. Even if the alphabet is different, and the language doesn’t ring any bell, it doesn’t mean you can’t travel to a country that speaks a different language. It can be intimidating but don’t worry, everything will be alright. Let us give you some tips to help you make this trip abroad a huge success!

Find a guide

A guide is not necessary, and you don’t have to get one simply because you don’t speak the language. Depending on how rural your destination is, it might come in handy to have someone walking you through the history, monuments, and more.

You can easily find guides online, and you can ask for recommendations on the forum. It’s good to compare prices and activities they offer, so send them an email beforehand. Meet with your guide, ask questions about how long they have been doing it, and ask for recommendations.

Quick learn basics

It’s never too late to learn a language! You don’t have to become fluent in the language of your destination, especially if it’s a whole new alphabet or sounds. What can come in handy is to learn the quick basics of the language.

Get an app and read your guide of useful vocabulary. Learn the essential words to be polite; “hi,” “thank you,” and “bye.” You can also learn the most useful sentence like “how much” and “I would like…” It’s never too late to learn, even if you start at the airport or during the flight.

Watch and learn

You didn’t have time to learn the basics, you don’t have a paper guide, or a tour guide? No problem at all! You have got this. Simply watch and learn. It might sound overly basic and not helpful, but think about it for a minute.

Most people, especially when traveling, do the same thing: get a ticket for a monument, order food, and visit shops. Copy and paste. Hear what they say and repeat; they do something peculiar when visiting a monument? Copy that too, it might be a custom you are not aware of. This is the easiest way to blend in.

Stay patient and be creative

You don’t speak the language but need to interact with a local? Try saying it in your language, mimic the action, use Google Translate, and ask for help around you. Despite the language barrier, people will do what they can to help you.

Don’t forget to stay patient – it might be frustrating not to be understood. Stay relaxed, everything will be alright. Be creative, try explaining things differently, and maybe even draw if that helps! It might take time, but it will work.

Sign up for Airport Jams Newsletter

Related Posts