Do you Need to Learn a New Language to Travel?

The world is filled with all kinds of wonderous history, customs and cultures. Although, what unites people the most is interaction and communication. No matter what language you speak, people can connect easier than ever today. However, with so many different unique languages spoken around the world, people often choose their travel destinations by finding a country in which travelers can get by using their native language. Even with language barriers, do you need to learn a new language to travel?


Benefits to Knowing a Second Language While Traveling

As expected, there are many benefits to knowing multiple languages when traveling the world. Being able to communicate with locals more easily allows you to meet more people and feel less like a tourist. Locals can also point you to hidden gems such as exciting locations or tasty food spots. In fact, we have found many a hidden food truck or family owned restaurant by being able to ask the locals for their advice. No matter where you go, knowing the native language wherever you go can help you gain a deeper perspective of the people and their culture.

Speaking the native language can also help you out in a jam, whether its by reading road signs or even the menu at a restaurant so you can actually order what you want. Have you found yourself with a little extra time on your hands? We recommend using language learning programs such as Duolingo, Rosetta Stone or Fluenz to name a few!

Read more: 5 tips for how to be a sustainable traveler.

Here are our top 10 words or phrases we recommend learning before you travel:

  • Hello
  • Goodbye
  • Excuse Me
  • Thank you
  • Sorry
  • Help
  • How do I get to…
  • Can I have…
  • Do you speak…
  • I didn’t understand

Have trouble picking up new words? Lucky enough, there are other forms of nonverbal communication travelers can utilize to help get around outside of simply talking. Actions such as making facial expressions, body movements, posture, touch, gestures and eye contact are all things that can help get your intended messages across to others who don’t speak the same language as you. In fact, nonverbal communication is more important to any interaction than you might initially think.

While not the perfect translator, phone apps such as Google Translate are other great options to help you interact with the locals wherever you go. Google Translate also allows you to use your camera to focus onto foreign text, helping you translate anything you see around you.

Even though, of course, it is extremely helpful to know a second language when traveling abroad, you do not need to learn a new language to travel. Thanks to nonverbal communication and impressive technology available today, you can still enjoy your experience abroad no matter what, so go out and explore the world when it is safe!

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