Communicating with other people while you are travelling is an essential part of your journey. It helps you get by when you’re lost or need help in finding your hotel, and simply adds new impressions and valuable experiences. However, meeting new people when you travel, either other fellow travelers, or locals at your travel destination, may not always be easy. Even if you are not too shy and have no problem starting a conversation, there is always a language or cultural barrier that you need to overcome.
Here are a few tips on how to successfully communicate with local people on any topic.
Top Tips on Communication While Travelling
Learn a few phrases of the local language. Some basic things like “Hello”, “Thank you” and “Goodbye” will sure be enough, but you may try and go beyond that. You’ll be surprised how far a few phrases will get you. People will be more open to you and will be more likely to engage in a conversation, because you show interest in their culture. It is also a fun way to entertain people, since most likely your pronunciation will be far from perfect at the beginning
Read about DOs and DON’Ts in that country. It may particularly useful if you travel to a country whose dominant religion or culture differ significantly from yours. If you live in the USA and travel to Saudi Arabia, reading about local customs and traditions is a must. What is normal Arabs or Hindu people in everyday conversation and behavior may not be ok for you, and vice versa. Read about cultural differences in communication and Grandcraps co uk before going on any trip.
Use gadgets to communicate. You can download a few apps that will ease your communication with locals. Some apps provide you with useful phrases while on a trip, while others help you translate unknown words from photos. Apart from instant translation, you can also use your gadget to draw something you need people to give you. While talking to others about yourself, your job or your family, use your gadgets to show them photos or your social network profile. An iPhone can surprisingly be a conversation booster.
Use gesture language. Gestures are as effective as words, or sometimes even better. However, gesture language also requires research and some discreteness. For instance, in some cultures, like Russia, pointing finger may be rude. Learn the basic “no-no” gestures and don’t let the absence of verbal vocabulary stop you from having a conversation.
Draw pictures. Having a notebook or a sketchbook with you could ease your communication, because you will always have a visual tool at hand. And it is not just useful for drawing a toilet sign in case of urgency. Using drawing while communicating with people of other cultures promotes connection and understanding, and can create a variety of funny situations you will remember for the rest of your life.
Yes, talking to locals while travelling may require you to step out of your comfort zone. But it is worth it. The thrill of being understood and liked in another part of the world can hardly be compared to any other travel experience, and you will appreciate the memories you’ll ultimately get.