5 tips for learning a language on your next trip

Posted on 14 April 2024 By Savanna Douglas

Flight booked, and stay sorted? Time to tackle the language of your destination. Even if it’s last-minute, you can still pick up some of the local lingo to enhance your trip. Here’s how to go about it:

Set realistic goals for learning a new language 

You might not get every word, especially the local slang and dialects, and that’s totally fine. Focus on a few achievable language goals like learning to introduce yourself, asking important questions, and understanding key words you’ll see on menus and signs.

Start speaking now

The trickiest bit is usually speaking. Start by practicing at home—chat with your friends, your pets, or even yourself. Don’t worry about nailing the accent right away; it’s all about making yourself understood.

Boost your vocab

When you’re travelling, the right words are often more crucial than perfect grammar. Keep track of handy phrases and words; jot them down, make flashcards, or leave sticky notes around your house. You’ll find these particularly useful in everyday scenarios like asking for directions or ordering food.

Learn important phrases according to itinerary

Adapt learning a new language to fit your travel plans. Identify the specific words and phrases you’re most likely to need. For instance, if you’re vegetarian, know how to spot the words for different meats on a menu. Focus on functional knowledge over comprehensive language skills, like mastering basic numbers instead of worrying about complex ones.

Use the basics

Rely on the level of language you feel comfortable with. If you’re not up to speed on past tenses, use simpler constructions that get your point across. Use language apps like Duolingo to learn the basics. It’s about communicating effectively, not perfectly.


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