Traveling to a new country is a wonderful way to practice your English skills, but sometimes speaking English in a foreign country can be a little daunting—and an English dictionary can only help so much. That’s why we’re sharing these three traveling tips: try them the next time you travel to an English-speaking country, they’re sure to make communicating in English with others more interesting and fun!
Learn how to “break the ice”
While you’re exploring, you’ll likely come across strangers you might want to “break the ice” with or speak to. A simple “hi” or “hello” along with telling them where you’re from is a great way to start a conversation. Next, ask them for “insider tips” about their city, like their favorite places to visit or not-to-be-missed restaurants. If they seem friendly and are willing to share more information, make sure you ask for their name, and use it when asking more questions. Most people appreciate it when others call them by their names in conversation!
Learn how to ask people for help
Let’s face it, you’ll probably get lost during your trip, but that’s okay—it happens! Most English-speaking countries will have tourist centers near popular destinations with trained staff that can help you with any questions.
If you can’t find a tourist center quick enough, approach a friendly-looking person (students with backpacks are a pretty safe bet!) and use the skills that you’ve already learned about approaching new people. You can include additional questions like “I’m lost, could you help me?” or “Do you know where I can find _________?” to let them know that you need their help. It’s also not uncommon for strangers to come up to you—especially when you’re carrying a map and look lost—to ask if you need help finding your way.
Learn to express gratitude
You will surely be thanking many people during your travels—like the new friends that just helped you when you were lost—and there are many ways to express gratitude.
Saying “thanks!” or “thanks so much!” is an informal form of “thank you” in many English-speaking countries. You can also add the phrase “I appreciate it” or say “Thank you! I really appreciate your help!” if the person you are thanking did something really special for you, like helping you out with directions.
For some people, talking to someone you don’t know—especially in English if it isn’t your native language—can be a little scary, but don’t worry most people will be pretty responsive to you. In fact, many people welcome visitors to their cities with open arms, just remember to be polite and have a smile on your face when approaching them.