Wherever and whenever you set out on your adventures, it is always good to be a little prepared, and that includes knowing a little of the language of the place you are visiting. Even just some basic vocabulary can make all the difference and with so many language learning services and tools around such as Duolingo or Language Trainers, there’s no reason as to why you shouldn’t prepare yourself. In the meantime, knowing what you want to learn is half the battle. See which words and phrases you should learn that will surely come in handy no matter where you are going or what you are planning to do.
Let’s start with the airport. Most airports have signs in several languages, but knowing the words for luggage reclaim, security, gate, and so on can still give you a little reassurance anyway. Is there Wi-Fi? might be important if you need to get in contact with someone, and once you are through, words for the various forms of transport or nearest station will help your transfer to your hotel or onward destinations be smoother.
Now on to your holiday:
Hello is a good place to start, and you probably already know a few ways to say this, whether it’s hola in Spanish or bonjour in French. Excuse me is an important phrase because you can use it before any question. Followed by I’m sorry if you bump into someone or don’t understand — or even the phrase I don’t understand to diffuse those awkward encounters.
Manners are always good, so ways to say please and thank you will stand you in good stead and yes and no will always be helpful words to know. This is an underrated, useful word; if you can’t remember the name for something then pointing and saying this might get you through!
Again, please or more slowly, or please will be useful if you get stuck trying to understand once you have asked your initial question. Can I have, how much does it cost, and possibly anything cheaper? are good to know, particularly in places where tourists are likely to be charged higher prices.
The moving around
Where is… will be essential anywhere, whether you are in a sprawling city or navigating your way around an amusement park. A few basic food and drink words might help you get what you want if you are looking for refreshments — or even just the words for eat and drink themselves. And essentials like pharmacy and toilet are always good to know.
If you want to attempt starting a conversation then phrases like I am… and what’s your name? are good starts, along with nice to meet you and this is… if you are introducing your friends or family. Any variations on goodbye, or see you later might also be things you consider learning.
Why is any of this helpful? Well, firstly to give you a more immersive experience so you can get to know the people and places you are visiting better and secondly to give you confidence when you are travelling. And on top of that, language learning can be fun! Imagine teaching your children the words for various animals in a zoo, or basic vocabulary to do with a city like road, bridge, traffic lights, and so on, and giving them a little education while they are sightseeing at the same time. Language classes are an easy way to make your survival guide.
In short, learning a little language wherever you are going will help you be as prepared as you possibly can be!