The truth is there are lots of things I always do before travelling. One of them is to clean my house from top to bottom so that I come home to a blissfully clean house. It helps to stave off the post-holiday blues for sure. (You can read more about what I do before a trip to make coming home seem a little bit easier here).

But, there’s one thing that’s directly related to my travels that I always do before I go anywhere…

I try to learn a few words of the local language wherever I’m travelling to.

I’m not saying you need to be able to have a conversation in the language (but if you can that’s amazing!), but even just knowing a few words will make all the difference.
what do do before travelling

In general, people are friendlier and more helpful if they can see you’ve made an effort so by learning how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ they’ll know you’ve tried.

There’s nothing worse than people who choose not to learn anything in the language of the place they’re travelling to and they just awkwardly talk in English really loudly and slowly in the hope they’ll be understood.

Expecting everyone to speak English wherever you go in the world is ignorant and misjudged. We need to be prepared that people won’t always be able to speak and understand English and instead should take the time to be respectful and learn a few words in the local language of where we’re travelling to.
what to do before travelling

If you feel a little bit shy and nervous when putting your newly learned words into practice (I know I always do!), it’s important to remember most people aren’t going to laugh at your accent or attempt to speak the language. Most people will just be happy you’ve tried to learn a few things and will likely be happy to help you learn a few more words or improve your accent.

The longer you’re planning to spend in a place, the more words you should try to learn. Listen to the locals around you and try to pick up a few words or phrases here and there.

I’m not trying to be some kind of travel elitist and suggest that people should be able to speak the language of everywhere they travel to. Instead, I’m just suggesting learning how to say ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and anything else you think you can manage.

Do you try to learn some of the local language before travelling?