Planning the Perfect Vacation: A Travel and Tourism Blog

A vacation should be a place to relax and get away from it all, but unfortunately, many vacations are stressful. There's a lot of planning involved, and regardless of how much time you spend planning, some of it can be derailed by full airplanes, late trains or overbooked hotels. During the trip, there can also be budgetary pressures. Hi! My name is Miranda, and I've dealt with all of that. However, I've also found fun strategies for avoiding those issues and hassles. In this blog, I am going to share all the travel and tourism tips I've learned through the years, and I hope they help make your next vacation more fun.

Tips For Getting Around In A Foreign Country When You Don't Speak The Language


Whether you're exploring your roots or celebrating your honeymoon and the beginning of a marriage, planning a trip to a foreign country is an exhausting and fulfilling experience. However, once you step foot off the commerical plane or charter flight you booked, you might be confronted with a problem you may have underestimated: feeling completely lost when you simply cannot communicate. If you're visiting a foreign country and don't speak the language, here are a few tips to help ensure you don't become overwhelmed, frustrated or miss out on amazing experiences:

Before You Leave

Whether you have months to prepare for your journey by taking proper foreign language classes, or are leaving on the spur of the moment in a few days, it's still vital to get ready for your journey by learning a few key phrases and words, including:

  • Hello and Goodbye
  • Thank You
  • Help/Call a Doctor or the Police
  • How Much Does This Cost?
  • Water

In addition, it's vital to learn how to ask two critical questions: "Do You Speak English?" and "Where is the Bathroom?" If you're having trouble retaining even the simplest words or phrases, create a picture book with universal representations of everyday needs. Cut out from pictures from magazines or print simple images off the internet instead of relying on your questionable artistic skills.

Smarter Travel also urges travelers to ask a concierge to write down the name and address of your hotel in the native language. If you become hopelessly lost, you can simply show a stranger or taxi driver the address and get back to your hotel safely!

Communicating With Ease

Unfortunately, all of the preparation in the world often isn't helpful when you're faced with a different language spoken quickly in an unfamiliar accent. While you navigate foreign streets trying to find a tourist attraction, restaurant or your way back to the hotel, here are a few things you can do to get around like the locals:

  • Hire a Tour Guide – If you suddenly come to the realization your plans of seeing a foreign city on your own terms aren't working out, it's not too late to hire a tour or travel guide. Ask the hotel's concierge or contact a travel agent to help you find a reputable guide in the area.

  • Use Your Hands Wisely – A seemingly-innocent hand gesture, such as pointing in a certain direction or showing approval with a thumb's up, can mean something totally different in a foreign country. To be safe, ask the concierge or a hotel employee to show you hand gestures that might get you in trouble.

  • Listen For Your Language – While you're shopping in a busy marketplace or touring a famous attraction, listen for other people who speak your language. Don't be afraid to walk up and ask if they know the local language or culture. You might be surprised to learn the person is more well traveled and can provide you with a few tips.

  • Grab and Pen and Paper – When all else fails, don't be afraid to simply draw a picture of what you're looking for. If you know a few words in the language, but are having trouble with pronunciation, Smarter Travel recommends writing out the word on paper, instead.

Finally, if you're struggling to get around and are beginning to feel overwhelmed and frustrated, don't take your anger out on the locals. It's easy to raise your voice or become belligerent – which will only escalate an already tense situation and could result in you being asked to leave the establishment. Remember, you're visiting their hometown and should represent your country and culture in a positive light!


5 August 2014