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I’m a native English speaker.
When I travel the world, I bring phrase books.
Part of the fun of travelling, is being part of the culture.
When in Rome, do as the Romans.
On my first trip to Paris, I bought an English-French phrase book.
Much to my dismay (check the dictionary here), everybody spoke English to me!
English is the language of travel.
In large cities throughout the world, English has become the language for travelers.
This is also true in smaller, touristic cities and sites.
In hostels, I’ve been surrounded by people from different countries, and they’re all speaking….you guessed it…..
For better or for worse (Ingling dictionary) English is the #1 language travelers use to communicate.
How to Travel the World, Speaking English
To travel using English, you have to learn a lot.
Think of all the situations you might be in while travelling…..
- Check-in to a flight
- Check-in to a hostel or hotel
- Negotiate tour prices
- Meet roommates or fellow-travelers (ingling dictionary)
- Order food
- Talk to fellow travelers at a bar
- Take public transportation
- Cross borders
- Talk to police
- Meet host families
- Find work
These are just a few of the many situations in which you might need to speak English.
Multiply this list by 1000 if you are going to an English-speaking country.
Step One:Buy a Phrase Book and an Online Course
A phrase book will be your life-line out in the wild world.
It will be what you reference in the moment.
An online course will help you prepare before you go.
It also helps with pronunciation.
First let’s look at the phrase book:
Now, not just any phrase book will do….
You need one that:
- Fits your needs
- Is small and lightweight
- Has pronunciation tips
Fits your needs
Not every phrase book is equal.
Some are written for young people, some for families.
Who are you?
Figure out some words that describe you and search “English phrase books for ……”
Examples might be:
- Business People
See what comes up in google.
What is your native language?
You probably need to find a phrase book that is in your language, depending on your level.
Is small and lightweight
Your phrase book should go everywhere with you.
You never know when you might need it!
So you have a couple of options:
Paper is a normal book. If you choose this option, it should be a small book.
Electronic can be your phone, kindle, or tablet. Warning: travelling with expensive electronic devices can be dangerous. However, this can be a good option if you are going to bring your phone anyway.
It has pronunciation tips
Pronunciation is key.
You will need to be understood….or nobody will understand you.
This is where having a book in your native language comes in handy (ingling dictionary). Often, phrase books give pronunciation explanations in your own language.
Check out our 160 Travel Phrases in English. Because this guide was made for anyone needing to travel using English, pronunciation guides are not included. However, the document has a link to a private YouTube video where I pronounce every phrase for you.
Now let’s talk about Courses
You can find courses about absolutely anything.
And millions of people are buying courses right now.
What makes them so popular?
Unlike traditional school, courses teach practical skills.
From one person who knows something, to another person who wants to know that something…..
Ok that was a confusing sentence.
A well-organized course can help you learn real-life knowledge.
Afraid of speaking English while traveling?
Imagine negotiating a taxi ride in English, or passing the border as the scary border police stare at you from their little desk!
You can learn EXACTLY what to say while traveling by taking a course.
Luckily I have one that I trust for my students!
Take a look at this awesome course, Survival English for Travel and Holidays.
Learn to survive while travelling!
Step Two: Study Before You Go
Once you get your phrase book, or your online course start studying.
Hopefully you have enough time to really learn a few things.
So, let’s talk about how to study well.
- Study essential things first:
- Essential things are life-and-death type stuff. Do you have a food allergy? A medical condition? Study and memorize how to communicate your basic needs in English.
- Then study phrases like “Call the police!” or “Help! I’m being robbed!”
- Or perhaps “Where is the nearest hospital?” or “Help! I’m really hurt! I need a doctor!”
This advice might seem a little scary, but these are the types of things that you won’t have time to look for in your phrase book.
I sincerely (ingling dictionary) hope nothing like this ever happens to you….and it probably won’t.
However, these phrases are very important for your safety!
- Study things that happen quickly:
Before you study phrases for a restaurant, study for situations that tend to happen quickly. For example, when you have to ask for directions.
When you ask the person for directions, they are going to answer you quickly. They will say something like “take this street…turn left…a hundred feet….blah blah blah” It all happens very fast.
On the other hand (ingling dictionary), if you are in a restaurant or checking into a hotel you will have more time to look at your guide book.
Examples of situations that may happen quickly:
- Asking for a taxi driver
- Asking for directions
- Buying a ticket to something
- Getting on or off a train or metro
- Taking a tour (asking things about the tour stops)
- Buying food in a grocery store
- Food in a fast-food restaurant
- Buying something in a busy shop
- Changing airplanes in the airport
All of these situations might require you to be able to speak quickly. So learn a few phrases before your trip.
- Learn Pronunciation:
Correct pronunciation is vital (ingling dictionary) to travelling with English.
Everyone must understand what you are saying.
Otherwise, you will have learned the travel phrases for nothing.
Finally, in English there are two types of pronunciation: Native and Non-Native.
Travelling is one of the few situations in which your pronunciation does not have to be native-like.
This is because you will probably be speaking with other non-native people…depending on the country you visit.
So while correct pronunciation is vital (see 6 lines up), you do not have to worry about linking or reductions for the moment.
Unless, of course you’re travelling to a country that primarily speaks English.
If you’re interested, Ingling is offering a free mini-phrase book with 160 useful phrases. In the document there is a link to a secret YouTube video. In the video you’ll get to meet me, and hear how to pronounce the phrases.
Also! An online course will help you with your pronunciation! Check out Survival English for Travel and Holidays.
- Learn to talk about yourself:
Don’t worry I don’t think you’re self-centered.
It’s just that when you travel people are always asking you where you’re from, and what you do.
Part of the richness of travelling is meeting people from all walks of life (ingling dictionary).
You meet dentists, artists, college students, and newly divorcee’s.
You’ll meet people from Brazil, Thailand, Germany, and of course Australia.
And believe me the travelling community are very open, friendly people.
They are going to want to know you too! That way they can say….”I met this girl from Spain who took these really amazing photos of flowers!”
So get ready to start talking about yourself.
- Your name
- Your country of origin
- Where you’ve been
- How long you are in your current destination
- Where you’re going after your current destination
People are going to ask you these things…it’s a given. So get your answers ready…and of course learn how to ask them the same questions.
Final Helpful Hints
- English changes based on the country or the region.
What I mean is that, British English has different vocabulary and pronunciation than North American English.
So think about where the country is in the world, and which country it might get English from.
For example, India was heavily influenced by the English. Their version of English is more British than North American.
France may also be more likely to speak British English, since they are neighbors.
- Idioms, and slang may not be useful to study.
In most cases you will be doing business transactions.
So even though you might love idioms like “to come in handy” or “for better or for worse,” they probably won’t be very relevant for your travels.
Think about what will be useful for you.
- Learn small talk, and how to ask people to hang out.
Chances are you will meet some pretty amazing people while travelling.
Don’t let your English stop you from meeting them!
I suggest you learn some pieces of small talk like: “have you been to (insert tourist attraction here) yet?” or “where are you travelling to?”
These little pieces of conversation will help you meet people, find out where they are going, and make connections.
Also you should learn to invite them places….if you like them that is!
“You wanna grab a drink in the hostel bar tonight?”
“I might be going to see the (insert tourist attraction here) tomorrow, would you like to come along?”
Having these little phrases in your memory will help you to make friends, and enjoy your trip 1,000,000 times more!
Well….if you’ve made it this far…congratulations!
You deserve a free gift…How about a free phrase book, and pronunciation video!
Check out these 160 Useful Phrases…and it comes with a SECRET YouTube video where I help you with the pronunciation of the phrases!
Just enter your email below.
And it’s TOTALLY FREE!!
Thanks for stopping by, and as always….
Get the FREE 160 Phrases
Plus get the super secret YouTube video!