Looking forward to a long-overdue getaway? No matter whether it’s a weekend city break or a months-long road trip, you can significantly enrich your experience by brushing up your foreign language skills prior to boarding the plane. Learning a new language will not only make it easier to order in restaurants and haggle over prices at the bazaar, but it can also dramatically enhance all aspects of a vacation.
Even if the departure date of your trip is fast approaching, it’s not too late to get to grips with a new language. Planning a short trip to Paris? It’s easy to find an online French tutor to help you brush up on the fundamentals. Jetting off on your journey with more than a basic phrasebook to hand will leave you primed and ready to experience the best of what your destination has to offer.
Avoiding the Usual Tourist Traps
In 2019, almost 45 million Americans travelled overseas. If you’re visiting a particularly popular destination during peak time, you’ll find yourself dealing with heaving crowds. A visit to at least a handful of world-famous attractions are staples of any travel itinerary, but waiting in endless lines for admission can quickly eat away at your vacation time.
Being able to speak the native language will provide you with the freedom to explore off the beaten track. You can consult with locals for suggestions on hidden spots and points of interest not covered by the usual tourist literature and guide books.
Navigate Unexpected Emergencies
Travellers relying on public transport to get around during a vacation can also benefit from an in-depth knowledge of the local language. Phrasebooks can go a long way in acclimatizing you to basic terminology, but if you want to avoid spending hours wandering aimlessly on a foreign metro system, you’ll need to understand how to simply ask for directions.
If you’re hiring a car abroad, there’s always the possibility of an engine breakdown or other vehicle emergency. Many car rental companies will have multilingual staff on hand to assist customers, but you can make life easier by understanding how to communicate beyond basic phrases yourself.
You also need to be prepared for the worst when travelling further afield. Travel insurance goes a long way in protecting you financially if you encounter any health issues or fall foul of criminals, but dealing with the situation as it arises will be less stressful if you can communicate with emergency personnel in their language.
Networking and Pursuing Professional Opportunities
One of the most rewarding aspects of travelling to faraway climes is the luxury of being able to meet new people. If you’re keen to make long-lasting connections and build firm friendships, speaking in your native tongue will make an instant impression.
If your travels are part of a career break, you can also leverage new language skills for networking purposes. With an intimate understanding of a foreign language, you’ll be able to keep an ear to the ground when it comes to potential job prospects and freelancing opportunities.
The Confidence to Explore
Confidence in communicating in a foreign language is also going to make you more eager to travel. While many monolingual tourists have little concern about heading to foreign destinations with nothing but English at their disposal, many others resist international travel entirely because of the language barrier.