Travelling abroad should not only be about drinking fabulous cocktails by the pool, viewing spectacular landscapes and wandering the fascinating streets of an unfamiliar city. Mingling with locals and learning a few essential words in the local language will help make your next trip abroad that extra rewarding.

No one is telling you to learn a whole language, that would be crazy and on most occasions near on impossible. But to learn a few essential words in the language of the country you are visiting, could help avoid a few awkward moments and create a few laughs amongst the locals, as you mince up the words in an embarrassing attempt to speak with the foreign tongue.

In this article, I have come up with ten words/phrases you should learn in the local language, from a friendly greeting to a confused, “I don’t understand.” From there, with this list of words, all you need to do is google the language you need to learn and practice those pronunciations. All the while, you can have a bit of a giggle as you stumble those strange words.


local language

Talk to the locals.



Ten phrases to learn in the local language when travelling abroad

  1. Hello: An obvious choice for number one, but in this world, there are a lot of ways to say “hello” and learning this word will go a long way in any local language. There is no better way to start any experience with the locals with a cheerful hello.
  2. Goodbye: A cheerful “goodbye” or “see you later” after hopefully a pleasant experience, is a great way to end any conversation.
  3. Thank you: Manners is important any language and “thank you” will be used a lot in the foreign tongue. Make thank you for a priority when travelling abroad.
  4. You’re welcome: After a simple thank you, typically comes a friendly “you’re welcome.” The locals will probably say it to you a fair bit and vice versa when you learn the word of course.
  5. Excuse me: Sitting in the restaurant and in need of another beer, a polite “excuse me” will help you get the attention of the bartender, it’s a very useful word in the local tongue.
  6. I’m sorry: Bump into someone, accidentally break an item, a good “I’m sorry” will go a long way to make peace in an awkward moment. Fair to say that “I’m sorry” will get a good work out on any adventure.
  7. I don’t understand: Speaks for itself this old phrase, because it’s bound to be needed on several occasions in a foreign country when you’re not entirely understanding a sentence.
  8. How much is that?: A useful phrase when shopping the markets of any city around the world. It usually is the only way to find out how much the item cost. Then the bartering begins, probably a good thing to learn a few numbers too.
  9. Where is the bathroom?: In the streets of a crowded city and human nature starts calling you. “Where is the bathroom” will help you in any sudden toilet emergency.
  10. Yes/no: Two words, two opposite meanings but very common in any language. They usually are the most basic words to learn in most languages and will be easily remembered and used frequently.

There you have it, a useful list of words in any local language that will come in handy when abroad. Now all you have to do is go and learn those tricky words from an appropriate language website. Have fun and good luck, but you will be proud that you made an effort.

Check out Innovative 101 when finding and wanting to learn a local language.



local language

Learn the local language when talking to staff while abroad.

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