9 Simple Tips for Overcoming Language Barriers While Travelling

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Many people travel without even knowing foreign languages fluently. However, some of them feel uncomfortable and want to be confident in a foreign country, especially if they are travelling alone.Tourists can be overtaken by many fears. What if they or their suitcase get lost? What if there is confusion with the hotel reservation? After all, it can be difficult to make a purchase in a store or order food in a cafe without language knowledge. Don’t be afraid to travel just because you don’t know English or any other language. The language barrier can be overcome without any problems even in a country where they do not know or understand your native language at all. Here are some tips how to overcome language barriers.

The problem of barriers in communication in a foreign language is a combination of psychological and linguistic factors and it is very individual.

Most often, a language barrier is encountered in the process of learning a first foreign language or in the case of incorrectly selected teaching methods, when a person realises that studying does not provide real preparation for communicating in a new language. The psychological factor is also very important. More open, emotional and sociable people, who are less likely to feel constrained, are less likely than others to encounter a language barrier.

In a word, you definitely shouldn’t be afraid of difficulties in communicating with foreigners in advance. You can only understand whether you have to learn how to overcome language barriers by first trying to communicate in the foreign language you are learning.


Modern Technologies

Being the happy owner of modern gadgets such as a smartphone or tablet, a tourist will feel at ease in any country like a fish in water. Today there are a lot of language applications that allow you to translate the necessary phrases into hundreds of world languages. Electronic and online phrasebooks will allow you to quickly translate the necessary words and even texts, and will also provide a huge number of ready-made useful phrases intended for various situations.

person on phone


Ignorance of the language should not become an obstacle to travelling around the world. On the contrary, travel should become an incentive to study languages, as well as the cultures of different countries.


Language Learning In Advance

Before real practice while travelling, it is better to study at a language school with native speakers.

Classes with a native English teacher will help you improve your level of foreign language proficiency and become more confident in your abilities. Studying in high-quality foreign language courses has the following advantages:

  • proprietary system, according to which students are studying successfully;
  • a program designed specifically for travellers. There you will go through all the current topics that may be useful on your trip;
  • constant speaking practice and video lessons, which allows you to spend time with the teacher speaking and improving your level;
  • the opportunity to learn different languages: English, Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian;
  • additional lessons on films, books, TV series;
  • training on its online platform, where you can pre-register, familiarise yourself with the format and watch free materials.

computer on desk

Vocabulary And Grammar

It is important to constantly expand your vocabulary. Thanks to a large vocabulary, you will choose words faster, speak more accurately and understand your interlocutor better. Knowledge of grammar is no less important. It will allow you to accurately and specifically express your thoughts and correctly understand what is said to you.


Rehearse In Advance

Before you find yourself in a foreign language environment, practice everyday situations. Speak typical dialogues on the topics “get directions”, “make an order in a cafe”, “check in at a hotel”. Practice should be oral: this way you will accurately enter the necessary phrases and formulations into your memory, and then remember them automatically. Prepare for predictable circumstances, and then the unexpected will be easier to cope with.


Don’t Be Shy About Your Speech

Imperfect knowledge of a foreign language is not a reason to be ashamed. Yes, now your grammar is imperfect, your pronunciation is lame, but this is a mandatory step on the way to a higher level. The same goes for accent: it’s not a mistake, but just a feature of your speech. Native speakers will certainly react favourably to your mistakes and hesitations, and most likely, they will not pay attention to them at all. Your foreign conversation partner will be more likely to appreciate your enthusiasm, be responsive, and help you throughout the conversation.

people chatting over a table - how to overcome language barriers


Repeat And Ask Again If Necessary

You shouldn’t give up on situations if something goes wrong. Repeat your words loudly and clearly if you were not heard, or restate your thoughts if you were not understood. When your interlocutor speaks too quickly, do not be embarrassed and ask him to speak more slowly. Such requests are always treated with understanding.


Take Advantage Of The Moment And Appreciate It

Remember that communicating in a new environment is a unique experience. The opportunity to speak with native speakers of a foreign language does not come around very often, and such practice is invaluable. Knowledge gained through personal experience will give a much more effective result than a theory from a textbook.


Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Challenge yourself to practise even more. Instead of silently poking at a menu item in a cafe, try making your order verbally. Use your navigator less and ask passers-by for directions more often. Initiate as many communications as possible, because the practice of communication is your main task.


Don’t Panic And Stay Calm

This advice may sound trivial, but it is one of the most important tips for overcoming the language barrier when travelling. When you are stressed, scared or upset, it may be much more difficult to formulate your thoughts and understand the person you are speaking with. When communicating, it is also important to maintain a favourable attitude, because it will be much more pleasant to communicate with a smiling speaker than with a frowning and nervous one.

people smiling and talking



Anyone who wants to speak confidently in the language they are learning faces the question of how to overcome language barriers. You can only cope with this problem in a real environment, when you have direct motivation to obtain the necessary information. Foreign language courses are the most effective way to deepen your knowledge and immediately apply it in practice.

Barriers to learning a foreign language are a common problem. Feel free to follow the tips above. They will definitely help you cope with how to overcome language barriers and overcome the fear of communicating in a foreign language.


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