We all love to travel, but I’m sure we’ve had our share of traveling blues just because we couldn’t speak the native language. It’s not necessary to learn the language; however, you shouldn’t go completely unprepared or rely only on your dictionary to get you through your whole journey. There is a standard checklist whenever planning a foreign trip like having a list of important phone numbers, having copies of your passports and visas, having adequate international travel insurance, carry some passport sized pictures, having travel vouchers instead of carrying cash and so on. Also, before travelling abroad there are some phrases you should learn to help handle common encounters.
Greetings like “Hello” and “Goodbye”
No matter what part of the world you are in, greetings are gestures of friendliness and politeness. You need to learn them so you can be courteous in any situation, and these kinds of greetings are the perfect ice breaker.
Remember to be grateful with a “Thank You”
Again, no matter where you are it’s essential to always mind your manners. You don’t want to seem like an ungrateful snob, and just saying thanks can get you a long way with natives. Remember that a smile is a universal language and can get you on anyone’s good side.
I can’t emphasize this more, once again, mind your manners! This phrase is particularly important, as it can be used to get someone’s attention when you need them.
Learn to Ask “Where is the Bathroom?”
This is a very important phrase you should learn. Make sure you know this phrase so you can ask a native to point you in the right course when you need to go. You must also know how to say “him” and “her,” and “man,” and “woman,” in the local language. You might not always find pictures on the restroom doors.
You should be prepared for emergencies by learning this phrase. Not just for emergencies, you can use it even when you just need a little bit of assistance. While you’re at it, learn to say “please,” too.
Asking for Directions
You may have to travel by public transport at some point in your journey, and you might need to ask for directions to get to your destination. Learning to say “where is” will help you in many situations. Then, learn things like “bus station” and “restaurant” to help you find your way around.
“How Much Does this Cost?”
Foreign trips usually include lots of shopping, and whether you’re at a market, local shop or eatery, you will need to ask the price of what you are planning to buy. It’s also a good idea to learn basic numbers, and perhaps even some simple phrases like, “I want (insert number) pieces.”
Just in case: “I’m Lost”
Navigating isn’t easy especially in an unfamiliar place where you don’t know the native language. If you feel you have lost your way back to your hotel or another place you’d like to be, getting help will be much easier if you can explain to a local precisely what your predicament is.
Paying the bill with “May I Have the Check?”
Though “check, please” will be adequate, you need to learn the phrase to ask for it. Some countries won’t bring you the check or bill until you say you’re ready for it.
So try to work on learning those words and phrases. Commit to memory as many as you can memorize. It can be a lot of fun and will make your trip much more enjoyable. You’ll see that the natives are usually very appreciative when you try to speak their language, and this gesture on your part makes them quite willing to help you out. All the best for your journey and as the French say, “Bon Voyage!”