The 9 Biggest Travel English Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid


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I was 18.

I had never left the United States.

All I had, was a backpack and a map.

It was around 6 in the morning, and there was fog over the city.

Frankfurt, Germany.

I stepped off the train, and into a foreign country for the first time in my life.

The long flight, hunger pains in my stomach, and the fact that I had no hostel to stay in…none of it mattered.

This feeling was all that mattered. The feeling of flying as you walk, and having a huge smile on your face, with no apparent reason (dictionary).

For the longest time I had been saving money, dreaming, and planning (oh so much planning!).

But this was the moment I stepped into the real world. The moment that everything amounted to (dictionary), the moment I realized I was a grown-up (dictionary).

After about twenty minutes that feeling went away.

And I was faced with reality.

I was in a foreign country, and I had nowhere to stay.

The joy of travelling cannot exist without the realities (dictionary).

My hope is to help you sort out (dictionary) the realities of your trip….the English you will need to speak!

So if you need help with your travel English….keep reading!

The 9 Biggest Travel English Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

1.       Not getting a phrase book.

You need one! I promise. Unless your English is perfect, you will need to look in your phrase book VERY often.

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:

  • Students
  • Families
  • Beginners
  • 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
  • Electronic

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 (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.

2.       Not learning polite words.

There is a saying in English: “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” (dictionary). This means the nicer you are, the better others treat you. If you want to do well travelling with English, it is best to learn a few polite words or expressions:

  • Thank you
  • Please
  • May I have
  • Excuse me

3.       Being too timid to speak

If you don’t speak English at all….that is a mistake. When you travel you will meet a lot of new people. If you are too shy to speak to them you will lose a great opportunity.

So how do you become confident? You need to practice before you go. And you need to memorize a few phrases to start talking to new people.

An online course is a great option for learning the phrases necessary to introduce yourself and start talking.

Also, If you practice saying these phrases you will be less shy when you want to say them.

Is a course all about travelling the world, speaking English. It includes a section about meeting people, as well as sections about crossing the border, eating in restaurants, and the airport.

4.       Not learning emergency travel English.

What is something bad happens while you’re travelling? I really hope it doesn’t! But you never know. Once on a trip in Valparaiso, Chile a friend of mine was robbed! The guy took her camera and ran away. If something like this happens to you, be prepared!

So how do you get prepared? Look up words and phrases concerning emergencies and write them down. Practice saying them and repeating them, until you remember them perfectly.

Examples of emergency situations:

  •  Being robbed
  • Getting hurt
  • Getting sick
  • Falling
  • Getting lost

5.       Living in your phrase book.

I said before, you NEED a phrase book. And you do. But you don’t want to stay hidden in your phrase book. You need to get your nose out of your book (dictionary) and look at the real world.

How do you do this? You should memorize phrases to use on your trip. Memorize them so well, that you can say them at a moment’s notice (dictionary). An online class that prepares you before you go is a great option. If you take an online class, you can learn the phrases you absolutely need for your vacation or holiday.

This online class has a ton of great information for you to memorize.

6.       Not learning how to talk about yourself.

As you travel, people are going to be asking about YOU! They will ask you:

  • “Where are you from?”
  •  “How long are you here for?”
  • “Where have you been?”
  • “What do you do?”

 All these questions and many, many more. You should practice your answers to these questions and watch how fast they say, “wow! Your English is really good!”

7.       Not preparing to cross the border.

Customs…..the worst ten minutes you’ll spend in the airport. And we are talking about a place with long lines, terrible food, and uncomfortable chairs! Plus…this is the person who decides if you can enter the country or not.

How to prepare? You need to:

  • Have all your documents ready
  • Learn how to explain yourself

You need to know the phrases to explain your trip, and who you are. This can be very scary. So to make it less scary prepare yourself with an online class. The course I’ve been talking about in this post has a section entirely dedicated to crossing the border. Prepare yourself and feel confident!

The 9 Biggest Travel English Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid image 1

8.       Not practicing pronunciation

Part of speaking English means that people can also understand you! Your pronunciation does not have to be perfect. Most of the time you will be speaking with other non-native people. But you do need to make sure they can understand you enough to help you or talk with you.

9.       Not learning words in the native language of your destination

English is used all over the world while travelling. You will speak English in countries that don’t normally speak English. France for example uses English in hostels and hotels. So apart from preparing yourself to cross borders, and eat in restaurants, in English….you should learn some polite words in the native language of the country.

A good “gracias” or “merci” goes a long way (dictionary) when you’re travelling!

Thank you so much for reading! I wish you all the luck in the world on your trip.

Don’t forget to check out this online class to help you prepare for your next trip.

Happy Learning!


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