Although language is integral to everything we do in our daily lives, many don’t notice it until we’re thrust into a situation where we don’t understand it.  There are benefits to giving yourself the chance to explore new areas and go further than you have before, but many people are too scared to try it.  We shouldn’t fear it!  Instead, here are the best ways to make the most out of traveling to a country with a foreign language.

Pay Attention To Facial Cues

Speaking a language makes things more comfortable, but there are physical cues that tie us together for most languages.  We can almost always tell when someone is happy or angry; emotion is universal.  When trying to speak to someone you don’t understand, look at their body language and facial expression to see if they’re willing to help.

Get To Know The Bare Minimum

Although most trips get planned and executed faster than the time it takes to learn a new language, you can make the most out of your time by learning the bare minimum.  Get to know simple words and phrases like ‘I need help,’ or ‘where’s the bathroom?’ that you know you may need to use every day.  Although your dictionary of words and phrases that you know will be small, it’s better than not knowing anything at all.  This isn’t the time to learn things like how to say ‘I’m looking at Chicago houses for sale,’ or other complex sentences.

Download a Translator On Your Phone

There are hundreds of thousands of applications available on smartphones.  Translation apps are among the most used because of the new technology for them every day.  You can use brands you recognize, like Google or Apple, to listen and translate anything you hear or say.  Look for applications that have a lot of good reviews.  Look for an app that will also work for typing or reading text.  Language isn’t just spoken, and not being able to read signs and menus can feel isolating.  

Don’t Travel Alone

You don’t have to travel with someone fluent in a language, but you should find someone who can travel with you and is flexible.  If you both don’t speak the language, it can be fun to get to know the locals and the language they speak together.  You’ll feel less isolated, and you’ll have someone to talk to if you ever feel the need to chatter.  There’s no concrete reason why you shouldn’t travel alone if you feel comfortable doing it. Still, the connection of having someone else there with you to experience everything for the first time can be beneficial. 

Be More Patient

It’s vital to learn how to be more patient with yourself and everyone else around you if you go somewhere that you don’t know the language.  There’s no reason to punish yourself or anyone else for getting something wrong, but it’s a normal feeling.  Instead, put that energy into ensuring the mistake doesn’t happen again and move forward with your trip.