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The Benefits of Learning a New Language For Travel (And How to Pickup The Basics)


For many people, planning and preparing for a trip can be its own adventure. Before you even get on the plane, you can spend weeks (or months) planning which cities to visit, learning the local customs, researching food spots, and deciding on transportation. Well, we’re going to make the argument for taking it one step further by learning a new language before you go traveling. Keep reading for the complete breakdown of the many benefits of learning a new language for your next trip. And, tips on how to quickly pick up the basics of any new language!

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Pumping Yourself Up For The Upcoming Trip

The anticipation of an upcoming trip is unbeatable. You probably find yourself daydreaming about what you’ll experience, who you’ll meet, and what memories you’ll bring home. Learning a language for the trip will pump you up even more! As you practice, you’ll be transported in your mind to all the things you will do on your holiday. You probably don’t need the extra anticipation, but it’s a pleasant benefit!

learn the Spanish language for travel

You’ll Get To Practice, And Improve, In Person

A motivating incentive for you to learn is that you’ll be able to practice your new talent in person with people in their native tongue! Immersing yourself in a country is one of the fastest ways to pick up a language. When you’re forced to speak the language with other people constantly, your skills advance quickly. You’ll come back from your trip more fluent than before. 

And, people love it when you can speak in their native tongue! Even if you do butcher it a little, it’s the effort that counts.

Taiwan sidewalk

Avoiding Cultural Missteps

When traveling, everyone usually does their best to respect the local culture and norms. Even with extensive research, cultural faux pas can happen when you’re on vacation. But, when you learn a language, many cultural rules come to light from the language itself. For example, if you tackle French, you’ll learn the difference between the formal and informal ways of addressing people (Vous/Tu) and instances when you should use each. Or, when learning Spanish, you’ll know the masculine and feminine rules for nouns. These can help you avoid small embarrassments while traveling.

Foreign language graffiti

Embracing Culture

You may choose to advance your language skills by immersing yourself in the country’s movies, music, and literature. This will help you become more fluent, as well as, teach you about the culture of your destination’s country. Understanding the culture can help you appreciate small details you may have missed or taken for granted on your trip.

Foreign language newspapers

Broaden Your World

When you travel your exposed to different beliefs which can help to broaden your perspectives. Interestingly enough, the same happens when you learn a new language. As one writer explained in an article for Medium.com, “The way we view the world is closely tied to the language we use to discuss it.” So, people that speak more than one language have the ability to view the world from multiple perspectives. This is both beneficial in your travels and your everyday life. It can make you more open and understanding to different customs when you travel. And it can also make you a more open person at home. 

Female market vendor

A Better Holiday

You will also experience the benefits of your new skill while you’re on vacation. You will be able to read local signs, ask for directions, and communicate with local people. This can make navigation and exploration much less stressful. 

learn a new language for a better holiday

How to Pick Up Language Basics Quickly

Everyone learns differently, but some proven techniques for learning a language quickly are:

  • Make it a priority to practice daily. 
  • Start by learning the most commonly used words first.
  • Learn cognates.
  • Learn the words and phrases you would use while traveling.
  • Immerse yourself in the language with online courses, watching movies, listening to music, and reading books. Children’s shows and movies may be particularly helpful as the dialogue tends to be slow and simple.
  • Don’t be embarrassed about having an accent and practice speaking right away. 
  • Make a schedule for yourself: How long until you’re saying full sentences? How long until you’re able to read and write basic sentences?

There are plenty of free resources, so you can start learning a new language immediately. 

Whatever you do, remember that learning a language should be fun! It’s a challenge that has rewards that can last your entire life. And, being able to communicate with local people when you travel is an irreplaceable experience. 

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