Learning the Language of the Country You Visit
When going to a new place, I like to learn a few phases of the language. At the very least, I want to know how to say hello, thank you, I like this, and how to order some food. It's a bonus if I can learn to converse a bit. I've been multi-lingual my whole life, growing up in Germany and spending most of my life in the States, so learning a new language is less daunting for me, but it still pays to have ways to absorb and learn a new language quickly. Learning some quick phrases is pretty easy, but becoming fluent in a language is an entirely different ball game and can take years. Focus on what you can before your trip.
BEFORE YOUR TRIP
-If you're intimidated by new languages I encourage you to watch Benny Lewis (the language hacker's) Ted talk (15 min) for inspiration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZqUeWshwMs
-One easy way to get started is to download language translation and language learning apps onto your phone. Language learning apps are a fun way to dabble in a new language. Try Duolingo, Babbel and Memrise.
-Try googling the language you want to learn, i.e. 'Croatian for travelers' or 'Croatian language booklets' You can print out some phrase sheets or booklets to practice with and bring along on your trip.
WHILE YOU'RE TRAVELING
My favorite translation apps are itranslate and google translate. These apps will teach you common phrases and can be helpful when traveling and having difficulty communicating. Having a translator in your pocket is a game changer. I remember traveling with a dictionary and looking up words. Anybody else remember trying to talk that way?
55 BY 55 TRAVEL TIP
Here's a new way to think about language learning. I like to practice the language by watching Netflix in that language. For example I'm heading to Mexico and will plan to watch some telenovelas in Spanish before heading there. Hearing the language in different voices, emotions and settings helps teach me the language in a way that the language learning apps do not.
I'm going to Croatia for the first time in June and want to learn a few phrases so I can have some conversations with locals. Again, I'm not trying to become fluent, I just have some fun with it. Good luck with the languages you're learning and have a great trip!