culture The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad  

Lisa Waugh
275 votes 83 voters 1.1k views 30 items Embed

List Rules Upvote 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!
list ordered by

1
16 0
"Where is the restroom or ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Where is the restroom or toilet?"

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2
21 1
"Please" and "Than... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Please" and "Thank You"

3
11 0
"How do I get to…" is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"How do I get to…"

4
22 2
"Do you speak [my native l... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Do you speak [my native language]?"

5
20 2
"Yes" and "No" is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Yes" and "No"

6
7 0
Emergency / Doctor / Hospital ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
Emergency / Doctor / Hospital / Medicine

7
7 0
"I’m allergic to…" is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"I’m allergic to…"

8
15 2
"Hello" and "Goodb... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Hello" and "Goodbye"

9
11 1
"Where is the…" is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Where is the…"

10
11 2
"I don’t understand." is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"I don’t understand."

11
8 1
"Which way is…" is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Which way is…"

12
8 1
"My name is…" is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"My name is…"

13
8 1
Numbers 1 Through 10 is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
Numbers 1 Through 10

14
9 2
"How much does this cost?&... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"How much does this cost?"

15
10 4
"Can you repeat that, plea... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Can you repeat that, please?"

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16
5 0
"I need help." is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"I need help."

17
5 0
Authorities / Police / [Your C... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
Authorities / Police / [Your Country’s] Embassy

18
8 3
"Where can I…" is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Where can I…"

19
6 2
"Where can I find a city m... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Where can I find a city map?"

20
5 1
"Do you take credit cards?... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Do you take credit cards?"

21
5 2
"I'm lost." is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"I'm lost."

22
5 2
"Where is the nearest / be... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Where is the nearest / best / cheapest place to eat?"

23
4 1
"I would like to…" is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"I would like to…"

24
3 0
"Where is the nearest hote... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Where is the nearest hotel / hostel / place to stay?"

25
3 0
"May I have bottled water?... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"May I have bottled water?"

26
2 0
"May I use your telephone ... is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"May I use your telephone phone / mobile phone?"

27
2 0
"Where is the… train stati... is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Where is the… train station / cab stand / airport / bus / sar?"

28
2 0
"I’m just looking for now.... is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"I’m just looking for now."

29
2 1
"My blood type is…" is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"My blood type is…"

30
2 1
"Will you write that down ... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Important Phrases to Learn Before You Travel Abroad
"Will you write that down for me, please?"