Do You Need To Speak A Foreign Language To Travel? The Answer Is No!!!
Many people are nervous about traveling to a foreign country where they don't speak the local language. We get it, you are in a new environment and it can be challenging if you need directions or help. We also think that the fear of not knowing the local language is a bit overblown in some people's minds as well.
Living and working in DC, we have quite a few foreign tourists ask us for directions and help on a daily basis and we are always willing to help if we can. In general, we think most people are friendly and are happy to share information about their city and country. Additionally, most places you'd frequent as a tourist have English speakers at hotels and restaurants so you can always ask around for help.
Of course a good attitude and even a few basic phrases can help. If you find out where you are going, you can always use a few handy phone apps to learn some basic phrases and words. We especially like Duolingo and Busuu (both of which are free). Additionally, you can download the offline languages in Google translate and use that in a pinch. Pro tip: If you have a food allergy, it is also definitely worth it to learn the words for whatever you are allergic to or even have someone that speaks the language well write it down for you. Lastly, many guidebooks have a useful phrases section so you can pick one up at the store or borrow one from your local library.
What we really wanted to emphasize though is that fear of not knowing the local language shouldn't be a reason to not go somewhere. With a smile and a few handy apps (like Google translate) you should be able to get by and maybe even make some new friends! To get started on your own exotic adventure, start by filling out our trip survey!