Anytime you travel to a country where English is not the national language, it's important that you are able to communicate effectively with locals. Not only will this make your trip smoother, but you should be able to help you get the things you need, find what you're looking for, and may even earn you some credibility points with locals. It's always good to have some kind of translation method available, be it a small book or app on your smartphone. In order to save time and maybe win over the locals, you should attempt to learn a little of the language while you are there. Here are the top ten phrases you should learn ... language for travelers that can keep you out of sticky situations.
P's and Q's
The basics of language will almost always start out with learning how to say please and thank you. You might want to also learn a polite way to begin a conversation, such as 'Excuse me' or 'Pardon me'. Avoid phrases like 'hey there' until you are familiar with the person.
Being able to greet your hosts graciously is important. Many languages have similar formal and informal greetings, that each have typical responses. You will want to learn the proper reply to each one, and maybe something funny you can add if you're in informal settings. Avoid open ended greetings like 'How are you doing?' You may end up with more than you bargained for.
Key Phrases to Memorize: Good morning/evening/afternoon.
Nice to meet you.
I'm Not From Around Here
You may need to assert yourself as not understanding what people are saying, or have someone speak just a hair slower. You'll be glad you know these phrases.
Key Phrases to Memorize: I don't understand.
Do you speak English?
Speak slower please.
You're going to need things, so it's best if you know how to ask for the basics. You don't need to understand everything under the sun, but knowing how to find a restroom, public phone, or taxi cab can be a great skill to have.
Key Phrases to Memorize: Where is the restroom/public phone?
How do I find a Taxi?
I need the police/an ambulance/embassy.
I have an emergency, can you help me?
Buy the Numbers
You're going to want to buy things, and not all merchandise is always marked. You may need to haggle, as it is common in some cultures. You should probably learn how to count to at least 10, if not 100 in the local language. This makes everything from directions, to prices, to keeping track of time easier.
Key Phrases to Memorize: I would like to purchase this.
How much does this cost?
Sorry, that's too expensive.
I will offer...I would like to order...Check, please.
What key phrases do you think are important to know in your travels?