If you are about to embark on your first solo journey it can be a daunting time, as well as an exciting one. You’ve probably done a lot of planning, double checking routes, flights, and accommodation numerous times. But what about learning a language? Here are some reasons why you should work learning languages into your travel plans.
Peace of mind
We know that many airports the world over have announcements and information boards in numerous languages, including English. And we have also come to expect that many hotels, restaurants, taxis, and so on will have staff that at least have a basic grasp of English. But what if they don’t?
Think of how much more secure you will feel if you have at least a little vocabulary in the language of the country you are traveling to. Phrases and words surrounding the basics of travel like departures, arrivals, gate, security and so on will make you feel more confident in an airport. Similar might come in handy for train or bus stations. Direction words for getting in a taxi or finding your hotel will give you confidence when you step into a new city. Especially considering how easy it is to grasp basic vocabulary with apps like Duolingo and FluentU. The possibilities are endless!
Ever feel like the fact that you’re a traveler makes you a target for being ripped off? Have you watched a taxi driver’s eyes light up when they realize you don’t speak their language, and know for certain they’re taking a much longer than necessary route but can’t say anything to object? Well, with a little language to make small talk in, watch the light in their eyes fade. By learning just enough to make a conversation with Listen & Learn or Rosetta Stone you could deter many attempts to take advantage!
Equally, by having a little of a language to give you confidence, you can avoid getting yourself into situations you might otherwise avoid. Be that for transport and accommodation or to avoid unwanted attention as you explore, at least a few words so that you don’t appear hopeless can make a huge difference to your trip.
The best experience
Sometimes when we travel it’s obvious we only get to see a part of a place. When we visit monuments or museums the plaques aren’t always bilingual, and tour guides might only give the briefest of details meaning there is so much you are missing out on. By having some language skills before you travel you are already enhancing your trip.
The same is true for ordering food, shopping, buying souvenirs, getting deals on accommodation, and so much more. Entire parts of a city might open up to you purely because you understand some of the language.
But perhaps more important than any of these things is what language learning does for your communication. Waiting at a bar to be served could mean striking up a conversation with another person waiting. Asking for directions to a place might be how you discover an easier route or better alternative. In short, learning a language before you travel can mean the difference between a good vacation and one of the most memorable experiences of your life. So where are you headed? What language are you going to learn?
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