11 Phrases You Should Know Before Traveling To A New Country
By Bianca Lambert
When packing our bags to head abroad, most of us make sure we have a few key items. Passport. Check. Cell phone. Check. A fly wardrobe. Check.
While it’s important to make sure we have all our physical necessities, there is one valuable, intangible piece we should take with us as well — the native language. Or, at least the basics. Apps like Duolingo, Memrise, and Drops make it easy to learn these phrases on the go!
Here are eleven phrases to pack in your memory bank the next time you travel abroad.
Do you speak English?
If you find yourself needing information quickly, start with this phrase.
How do I find the train/metro/bus?
One way to get to know a new city is to get lost, but if you find yourself unable to navigate your way to public transit — knowing how to ask for directions will be an asset. Keep apps like Duolingo on standby just in case you need a little help communicating with the locals.
Hello, Goodbye, Thank you, and Excuse me
Learning basic greetings not only ensures you take your manners with you on your journey, but you’ll be able to have helpful interactions with people, from the hotel staff to a stranger, that’ll help you get to your next destination.
Count to ten
Are you catching a cab? Knowing how to say numbers up to 10 will ensure you don’t end up knocking on the wrong door or wasting money on the fare.
Know how to make an emergency call
We don’t travel thinking about the prospects of an emergency, but it’s important to be prepared. Since dialing 911 isn’t the same in all countries, be sure to bookmark this list to use as a resource.
I need a doctor
Again, we’re not banking on needing a doctor while vacationing. But in case of an allergic reaction or a more serious medical emergency, the ability to communicate that you need help could save your life — or someone else’s.
How much is this?
Money matters even when you’re living your best life on vacation. Knowing how to ask the price of a meal or an item could save you a few bucks (especially while bartering). Be sure to keep a currency converter app on hand, too.
My name is…/I’m from…
If you strike up a casual conversation with someone while you’re exploring, be sure to introduce yourself formally. It’s a great way to make a new connection and ask locals about must-try spots in the city.
Where is the restroom?
Learning how to ask this is important for obvious reasons.
I would like to order…
Hand gestures might cut it here, but why not learn to order your new favorite dishes in the country’s language?
Do you take credit cards?
Since payment options may vary from place to place, it would be wise to be able to ask this upfront.
As they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do — and if you get stuck, know that there are language apps to guide you.