17 Phrases That Are ESSENTIAL To Know When You Go Abroad
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17 Phrases That Are ESSENTIAL To Know When You Go Abroad

If you don't speak the language of your destination, make sure you at least have the translations to these key phrases, words, and questions.

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Traveling to a foreign country is one of the most exciting adventures anyone can ever take. It gives you a whole new set of experiences, perspectives, and memories that have the capacity to change your life. However, traveling abroad is not a task to be taken lightly. It requires preparation and planning, and will often require a lot of dedication towards learning about your destination. This includes learning basic phrases in a language you may or may not be familiar with.

There's often not enough time to learn a whole new language, especially for one trip. But it's always useful to at least know certain useful phrases. This makes traveling in and around the location itself much easier, and also shows respect towards the culture you are visiting.

As someone who has traveled to different countries myself, I've learned that making sure you are at least aware of how to say these 17 phrases will make your travels will be easier, more fun, and much more interesting.

1. "Thank you"


Personally, I believe this is the most important phrase to know in another language before traveling. It can be used in almost any situation, and is a great sign of respect, especially if you use the native language.

"Takk"--"Thank you" in Norwegian

2. "Please"


Chances are, if you are traveling to a country you've never visited before, you will need to ask for help. The best and most respectful way to do that is to use this word.

"Por favor"--"Please" in Spanish

3. "Do you speak English?"


Or, whichever language you are most comfortable speaking. This is helpful if you need to have a long and important conversation with someone from another culture.

"Vous parlez anglais?"--"Do you speak English" (formal) in French

4. "Hello"


Simple, and universally effective. If you want to sound more literate, maybe consider learning "Good morning"/"Good afternoon"/"Good evening" as well. But usually knowing "Hello" will suffice for any situation.

"你好" (pronounced "nee haow")-"Hello" in Chinese

5. "Yes" and "No"


While you can probably indicate these ideas with a nod or a shake of your head, it is much more polite to say the words. Plus they are often easy to remember and are great to have in your back pocket.

"نعم" and "لا" (pronounced "naam" and "la")--"Yes" and "No" in Arabic

6. "You're welcome"


Once you learn how to say "thank you", you might as well have this phrase in your back pocket as well. While you may not use it as often as "thank you", it's still polite and often easy to learn.

"Prego"--"You're welcome" in Italian

7. "I'm sorry" (expressing regret or making a mistake)


Definitely know this phrase before you travel. Making mistakes is a natural part of traveling, but you don't need to be rude about the aftermath of any mistakes you make.

"Entschuldigung" or "Das tut mir leid"--"I'm sorry" in German (follow the link to learn the difference)

8. "Excuse me"


Sometimes this can be the same phrase as "I'm sorry" from above, but sometimes they are both distinct. Make sure to know the difference!

"すみません" (pronounced "Sumimasen")--"Excuse me" in Japanese

9. "What is your name?"


This is great to use in another culture, especially if you are interacting with someone you will likely see again.

"Как вас зовут?"--"What's your name?" in Russian

10. "My name is..."


You never know who you're going to meet abroad, and you want to be prepared to introduce yourself in the same way. Traveling is a great way to make life-long, wonderful friends.

"저는 (name)입니다" (pronounced "Jeoneun (name)-imnida")--"My name is..." in Korean

11. "Where is..."


If you've never been to a particular location before, it is likely that you'll get lost and need to ask for directions. Start by saying "excuse me" from above, then use this phrase when you see a passerby or someone who can help.

"Onde é?" or "Onde fica?"--"Where is..." in Portuguese

12. Numbers, "1-10"


These are useful to know, not because you'll have to show off computing skills or anything, but because numbers are everywhere, especially in cities. Street addresses, monetary amounts, room numbers, etc. are all things you will most likely come in contact with.

"noll, ett, två, tre, fyra, fem, sex, sju, åtta, nio, tio"--"zero-ten" in Swedish

13. "I would like..."


This phrase comes in handy whether you're ordering food, buying souvenirs, or even asking for directions. Also consider learning "Can I have...?" for these situations if the two differ in your target language.

"मुझे यह चाहिए" (pronounced "Mujhe yeh chaahiye")--"I would like this" in Hindi

14. "Help"


Hopefully you'll never have to use this word for anything extremely serious but just in case, it's a good idea to know it in your target language.

"behulpsaam"--"Help" in Afrikaans ("hulp" is the noun)

15. "Bathroom"


You should probably know this word too, especially in combination with "where is..." from above.

"seomra folctha"--"bathroom" in Irish

16. "I don't know"/"I don't understand"


Because in all likelihood, you won't.

"δεν ξέρω"--"I don't know" in Greek

17. "Goodbye"


Once you know "Hello," definitely learn "Goodbye," it's another word that can be used in almost any situation.

"Head aega" (formal) or "Nägemist" (informal)--"Goodbye" in Estonian

I hope this list helps! I included links to where I got each definition, and you can follow them if you want to learn more about each individual language. This is in no way an exhaustive list, but knowing these phrases in your target foreign language will make traveling abroad much easier.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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