Language. This is one of the main reasons people don’t travel to foreign countries. What if you don’t speak the language? What if you can’t understand? How do you communicate? The list goes on and on. Our friends at Tropic of Candy Corn have addressed this issue amazingly on their site but we wanted to add a few thoughts.
- Keep a good sense of humor. Seriously, you have to laugh or you won’t get though some of the communication issues you go through. Especially if you spend extended amounts of time in a country.
- Business cards are priceless! Especially in China, Japan and Korea, business cards will help so much! When I moved to China I didn’t speak a word of Chinese. I kept with me a business card holder full of all the places I went often so I could show my taxi driver where to go. Now days, most restaurants, hotels, and tourist destinations have websites so you can print off the names and addresses of where you need to go before your trip, which makes it super easy!
- If all else fails use the hotel concierge. When I lived in China if I really didn’t know how to get where I wanted to go I would go into the hotel next door and ask the concierge to help me. Hotels are a great resource to help you get to where you need to be.
- Try to speak the language. Even if it's only a few words. Lonely planet makes a great small language books in most languages with basic key travel phrases. Try to learn a few things before your trip so at least they know you are trying. People are a lot nicer when they know you are making an effort.
Foreign travel is exciting and fun! Just remember to laugh at yourself and enjoy the journey.