• Culture

The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad

List RulesUpvote the most important and useful phrases to learn in the native language of the country you'll soon be traveling to.
Maybe you don’t have time to learn fluent Japanese, Swedish, or Italian before your trip, but learning key phrases in a foreign language will help quite a bit when traveling internationally. In many cases, being polite, knowing basic phrases, saying “please” and “thank you,” and knowing the proper way to regard people will get you far (even in France). Your intent is just an important as what you say.  
 
If your smartphone fails you and your Google translate isn’t there for you, learning how to ask for basic but important things can alleviate a lot of stress while traveling. Foreign language for travel doesn’t need to be complicated. Think food, transportation, accommodation, phone, water, and where to get a drink.  
 
At first, you may feel foolish saying new words out loud but after a little practice in the mirror, or out in the real world, you’ll be speaking common foreign phrases like a champ. If you lock down those key words and phrases before you travel, study the culture, transportation system, and basic no-no’s, you’ll be relaxed enough to pick up new things while you’re there.  
 
The best advice for travelers is to learn specific colloquial phrases and greetings. But also follow that up with, “That’s all I know! I’m still learning” in that particular language. Just an attempt to learn is often appreciated and many people find it charming. In most cases.
 
Phrase books might not help out in rapid fire exchanges, but they can be helpful visuals when trying to search for a word or phrase. Pointing to words or pictures on your cell phone, or guide book quickly cuts to the chase. Also, try to learn smooth phrases and not just words. Learning phrases like “Where can I…” or “Where is the…” is better than speaking like Frankenstein to strangers.  
 
Before you invest in that Rosetta Stone, make a list of the basic phrases you’ll need to learn first before you even think about trying to conjugate all those verbs. If you start with “Do you speak English/Spanish/French?” and you find someone who knows the language, awesome. But don’t expect people to speak your language in their country. Represent your home country and learn as much as you can before the trip.
 
Which phrases are the most important when traveling? Ones regarding transportation or biergartens? Hospitals, hostels, or hotels? Upvote the most important and useful phrases or words to learn below. Don't see the ones you use here? Add your phrases (in English) that should be learned in other languages and let’s build a helpful guide for world travelers. Gracias, merci, go raibh maith agat, and salamat!
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    29
    1

    "Yes" and "No"

  • 2
    26
    1

    "Where is the restroom or toilet?"

  • 3
    27
    2

    "Please" and "Thank You"

  • 4
    23
    1

    "Do you speak [my native language]?"

  • 5
    22
    1

    "Hello" and "Goodbye"

  • 6
    19
    1

    "I don’t understand."

  • 7
    18
    1

    "Where is the…"

  • 8
    17
    0

    "How do I get to…"

  • 9
    17
    0

    "I need help."

  • 10
    17
    1

    "How much does this cost?"

  • 11
    15
    1

    "Which way is…"

  • 12
    14
    1

    Numbers 1 Through 10

  • 13
    14
    1

    Emergency / Doctor / Hospital / Medicine

  • 14
    14
    4

    "Can you repeat that, please?"

  • 15
    12
    1

    "I'm lost."

  • 16
    12
    2

    Authorities / Police / [Your Country’s] Embassy

  • 17
    10
    2

    "I’m allergic to…"

  • 18
    9
    2

    "May I have bottled water?"

  • 19
    9
    4

    "My name is…"

  • 20
    9
    4

    "Where can I…"

  • 21
    7
    1

    "I’m just looking for now."

  • 22
    8
    4

    "Do you take credit cards?"

  • 23
    7
    2

    "Where is the… train station / cab stand / airport / bus / sar?"

  • 24
    8
    3

    "Where can I find a city map?"

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    5
    0
    syringa44 added

    Please help me!