How to overcome language barriers when traveling

Dear Reader,

Many of you are probably scared to travel due to the language barrier. You want to travel to another country, but you are afraid to get stuck in a situation and cannot talk to any of the people around. Not every country is good at teaching foreign language so this is a realistic concern, although easier to get over than you probably think. Here are some of my tips and tricks about communication in other countries.


Today’s world makes communication so much easier. Europe just removed all the roaming charges, and many countries sell sim cards already in the airport. You can very easily get access to internet and use any and all types of translation apps and websites. This was very typical in Asia, especially Japan, China, and Korea. Many people will just talk into their phones and the app will translate it in real time. It is amazing new technology and especially useful when the country you are in doesn’t use the same alphabet that you are, and therefore you cannot even read anything around you. This would also make typing into a phone harder.


Now, this is the old version. Many travel guides have useful phrases and words in the local language. Just learning “hello”, “thank you”, “please”, can get you further than you might think. Normally you can pick them up quite easily, especially when the language is close to yours. Of course, it may take you a bit longer to learn “Annyeonghaseyo” (hello is Korean) than “Buenos Dias” if you are from Europe. Try not to carry the phrasebook around all the time and look like a proper tourist. Learn them, use them, and then if you want to forget it, that is fine. You will be surprised¬†by how happy the locals get when you can say these simple words.

Hands and Feet

If you do not have any of the other methods, this one is very popular and works most of the time. It is hard to believe how creative one can get if you have to explain something to someone who does not speak your language. You can point at objects in a store, you can point at items in a menu. If you need to say one, two, tree, you can use your fingers. There is so much you can explain with your hands, body, sounds, and anything else you can think of.

All I can say is, do not let language barriers stop you from traveling. You will always find a way to communicate your needs to the other person and vice-versa. If nothing else, you will learn a few words in a new language. If you need inspiration for your travels, check out these amazing weekend getaways for Europe here.

Enjoy your travels!



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