10 Top Phrases You Need to Know to Survive in a Foreign Land

Isn’t traveling exciting? It definitely is! Wandering around the world is fun and it’s an opportunity for you to learn new languages, experience new cultures, and meet new people. In many non-native English speaking countries, people expect you to understand their language, or at least they expect you to know a few expressions that should help you get around.

For example, if you are planning to visit Germany, learning their language will make your trip a much pleasurable one.  In general, people from Germany know English but they will be more intrigued by someone who speaks their language.

Communicating with the locals can open up new opportunities and experiences – or at least keep you on track in case you are lost. So, dear traveler, here are ten basic phrases that you should grasp in order to ensure a great traveling experience on a foreign land.

John Lewis, Ph.D. Etymologist at Aussiewritings.com, suggests that “Learning how to communicate with non-English speaking individuals by using their own language, makes a great difference when trying to establish a personal rapport.”


What’s better than being able to greet everyone with a warm salute in their own language? Throughout each country, you will encounter different social and cultural customs. Your ability to properly greet someone will be beneficial for the time you spend there. For example, if before going to Korea or Thailand you learn these basic words and phrases, there’s a good chance that you’ll impress the locals and therefore turn them into friendly helpers.


Humbleness and manners can really make a difference when you are traveling abroad. This happens especially when you are not accustomed to their language.  This is one of the expressions that you will use the most throughout your traveling journeys. Even if you are not pronouncing words and expressions in the proper manner, locals will still appreciate it. The fact that you are trying will immediately make you a more agreeable person.


People really appreciate when someone knows when and how to apologize for something they did wrong. When you are in a foreign country and you don’t know their habits and traditions, showing humility and assuming responsibility for your actions will make you a great person to be around with.


There’s no doubt that you will have to buy food or spend money on different things in order to survive. Therefore, making sure that you know how to properly ask for the price of a product is essential. Knowing how to ask about the prices should also keep you away from paying more than you should.


It will make you a great service knowing how to articulate your confusion. It also saves you from odd situationsthat you may come across.


It is crucial for you to be able to ask for help in case it is needed. More than that, locals will be more eager to give you a hand if you are asking in their native language.


Being familiar with the phrase “where is…” will come in handy when you’ll need directions to various locations or when you’re just looking for the nearest bathroom. Moreover, you will also save time.


It’s similar to the phrase “could you help me?” or simply said “help!”.  As soon as you are able to let people know that you are lost, they should – most probably – try to help you get back on track. Telling it in their native language will raise the chances of even getting a new traveling companion.


Imagine that you just finished eating at a restaurant and you want to leave. Gesticulating at the waiter will probably get the job done. However, asking nicely and elegantly for the check will definitely give you the appearance of a knowledgeable person.


In many countries, English is a second language learned at school. Therefore, initiating a new conversation using this phrase should be a good idea because it gives you the chance to address that person in English.


Keep in mind –Managing to grasp the previously mentioned expressions should be very helpful to you, especially when you are visiting a foreign country. Don’t be afraid to learn new words and don’t be scared to pronounce them using a weird accent.

You can only give natives reasons to smile because of your funny accent, so don’t even think about hesitating. You’ll probably even make some new friends along the way. So just like that, learning these phrases will make your “surviving” a more pleasant experience.

About the Author

Olivia is a journalist who is always ready to experience new things and share this experience with others. She is passionate about art and writing. Therefore, she usually spends time writing new articles or travelling around the World. Follow Olivia on Facebook and Twitter.