7 tips to travel when you don’t speak the language



7 tips to travel when you don’t speak the language

  • Be practical:

You don’t need to be bilingual to travel around, but make sure you pack a phrase book and take note of emergency telephone numbers and important addresses, in case you get lost or need some help.


  • Ask for help:

Don’t be afraid to approach the locals and ask them for help. In general, people are usually willing to help; even if they don’t speak your own language, they’ll try to understand and help where they can. Give it a go: you never know who you’ll meet!


  • Use sign language:

You’ll find yourself pointing at everything: when ordering food, asking for an address, shopping… But be careful with hand gestures: some of them have different meanings around the world.


  • Don’t say yes to everything:

When we’re in a place where we don’t speak the language, we sometimes tend to say “yes” a lot. But this isn’t always the best option. What about smiling and seeing if you can understand something else?


  • Louder isn’t always better:

Most of us are guilty of it… when you’re talking to someone and they don’t speak your language, you speak slowly and loudly. Extremely loudly! This can come across as patronising – they can hear you just fine thank you very much.


  • Learn some key phrases:

Take a look at our travel course and learn the essentials! Prepare yourself for when you get to the train station, or the coffee shop, and you need to ask for help. The locals will appreciate you making an effort to speak their language. This can help you to meet new people and discover amazing places.


  • Don’t get too frustrated:

Not speaking the same language means that you’ll need to come up with creative solutions to communicate in different ways. But don’t focus on how difficult it is; try to find a solution! Getting to know people will enrich your experience!


See you on busuu  🙂 

Eleonora was an Italian Language Expert at Busuu. She spent her early years in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where her parents are from. She loves all kinds of Latin dancing, travelling and can't go a day without eating an avocado!


  1. the email address is in my office and I wanted to get some information and maybe learn Spanish but it will not register me as the email address is already registered

  2. There’s free course on location I don’t know why can not allowing internal that’s location. Sorry about my comments because I don’t write well

  3. I’m learning Spanish with Busuu’s mobile app. I got notified that someone corrected my writing exercise but the “See comment” email link opens Busuu.com and I cannot log in. SO, I can’t get the benefit of the correction. There should be a way for me to see corrections through the mobile app. Otherwise, am enjoying the lessons!


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