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How to Learn a Language While Travelling

Before you head off on your trip, are you one of those that likes to familiarize yourself with the local language first? A recent report from Travel Supermarket has revealed that 59% of British tourists are actively trying to use their new found linguistics while abroad - and they're pretty good too!

However, ten percent of Brits still believe that learning a new language is unnecessary as "œmost people abroad speak English." Although some countries do speak English as a second language, it is important to remember that depending on where you are travelling to this is not always the case.

This is especially applicable if you're planning a gap year, longstay or backpacking holiday - you may be visiting countries that speak little to no English at all! Learning some of the language will always have its advantages.

If you're heading abroad, check out our language learning tips below:

Do you know your "œParlez-vous anglais?" from your "œDos cervezas por favor"? Start with key words such as 'please', 'thank you', 'hello', and 'goodbye'. Learning how to pronounce numbers will also be helpful.

Once mastered the basic words, you can then begin to learn phrases that you may need to use whilst on your trip. These can include how to ask for directions to certain locations, where the train station/bus/airport is and departure times, where the nearest public medical facility is, and how to ask for the restaurant bill.

Identify key phrases that might be useful to you such as 'I'm a vegan/vegetarian' and 'Where can I smoke'. If you are allergic to certain foods or medicines it is strongly recommended that you learn the phrases for these too alongside how to pronounce them correctly.

Online forums, audio books and CD's can be a great resource for learning a new language.

Perhaps you have a friend or know someone that can speak a foreign language fluently - why not ask them if they can help you practice your pronunciation?

Continuing to practice your language while on holiday is a great way to improve your skills.

Remember, if you can't think of the right word, don't be afraid to ask for help - 1 out of 4 Brits regularly ask hotel staff for help with words and phrases whilst abroad.

Great for looking up words and phrases quickly! Why not try this tip: keep bright markers in the pages to tab important phrases by section. Colour coding and categorizing them enables you to find things quicker.

A good alternative are language learning apps; some allow you to take photos of foreign words, such as menus and signs and translate them for you.

It is important to realize that it will take time to learn another language. You won't be fluent overnight but with a little commitment and perseverance you will get there.


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Heading abroad for a long stay trip? Alpha Travel Insurance offers cover for long stay and backpacker travelers. Check out our Longsaty policy which offers cover for 18 months, two 21 day return trips home included as standard, and much more!

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