Talk like a local, wherever you are on holiday

Talk like a local wherever you are

Please, thank you, hello, goodbye...if you’re visiting another country, even a simple grasp of its language will get you far! And these days, you really don’t need to take classes to become proficient in another language. We’ll take you through the latest tips, tricks and technology that will help you go from clueless to conversational in no time.

Concentrate on the important stuff

There will be certain words and phrases you’ll have to use a lot on holiday. They depend on where you're going, but some examples include "Where is...", "How much does this cost?" and, of course, "the cheque please!" Knowing these in advance will immediately make you feel more confident. A good old-fashioned phrasebook will provide a helpful starting point, but online language programmes geared towards travellers will get you learning the important stuff weeks in advance.

Take an online course

You don’t have to head to class to learn a language anymore. Now, you can pick up the basics on your daily commute, at the gym or while you’re doing household chores. Download Rosetta Stone, Babbel or Busuu on your phone a few months in advance of your trip and you’ll be speaking like a local in no time—just don't mind people looking at you funny if you find yourself repeating phrases out loud in public!

Talk to native speakers

You probably know a few people who speak different languages—perhaps they've come from countries you're planning to visit. If so, take advantage! Ask if you can meet up with them over a drink or meal to practice your conversational skills. You'll learn to speak more naturally and your friend will hopefully dispense some handy suggestions that you won't find in a phrasebook. Alternatively, you could download the HelloTalk app and converse with native speakers using a messaging service. 

Make a game out of it

Many apps now make language learning a whole lot more addictive than it used to be! Duolingo and Mindsnacks both set enjoyable tests for users that disguise just how much you're picking up along the way. You could also combine your love of internet memes with your goal to brush up on vocabulary with Memrise, which uses funny flashcards and memorable word association to help certain phrases stick.

Perfect pronounciation

Wondering exactly HOW to say a certain word? Use (How to) Pronounce, which plays the word slowly enough so you can really get the knack of it.

Watch and learn

Watching foreign films and TV isn't just fun—it'll help you immerse yourself in another language too. Swap your usual TV choices for a film in your chosen language and you'll be learning without even realising it. Keep the subtitles on at first, but eventually, you'll be able to get the gist of what's happening without them!

For more tips on making the most of your travels, check out our advice for avoiding travel sickness and our guide to the best underrated destinations