How to Learn a Language while Exploring the Globe: Multilingual Traveler

Adult women, learning foreign languages.

Learning a new language can seem like a daunting task, but there is no better way to do it than to learn while exploring the globe. For multilingual travelers, language learning can be an integral part of the travel experience. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, learning a new language can open up a world of possibilities. It can also make your journey more enjoyable and exciting, as you explore all the different cultures and customs in each country you visit.

Why Learning a Language is Beneficial for Travelers?

Throughout history, language has always been central to the global traveler’s experience. From the ancient Greeks to the Phoenicians to the Vikings, all of them sailed the seas in search of knowledge. Language was often essential for them to communicate with different cultures. For both business and leisure travelers alike, knowing how to communicate in multiple languages is as vital as it has ever been. 

Learning a new language allows travelers to gain deeper insight into their destination’s culture and its people. It also gives them a greater understanding of the local environment and facilitates connections with locals that they would otherwise not make.

On a practical level, learning another language opens up new possibilities by improving communication while abroad. Language skills are essential for finding accommodations like booking a hotel room, traveling with friends while dining, and visiting attractions.

Learning a language is beneficial for travelers because it gives them access to unique experiences that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to enjoy. It also helps create meaningful connections with local people and gives travelers insight into unfamiliar cultures that can be life-changing.

What Language Should I Learn?

When choosing a language to learn, it’s important to choose one that is most relevant for you. Look for the language spoken in the places you want to visit and consider which country speaks it. If a certain language is open to two or more countries, then pick the one you plan on visiting first. Alternatively, if you plan on living in the country for an extended amount of time, that may be the best option.

Remember that there is a difference between a regional dialect and an official language. For instance, many Latin American countries have Spanish as their official language, but within each of them, there are local dialects unique to that region. Also consider if you will be taking trips further into other parts of the world, as this can make your choice even more complex.

For those looking to travel around while learning a new language, do not feel pressured to learn just one. Feel free to pick up different languages along your language journey. Many languages share some common roots and aspects, so understanding one can often help with picking up a few extra words from another.

Tips for Learning a Language on the Road

Learning a language while traveling can open many doors for you. It’s often easier to learn by talking with locals as opposed to having to study on your own. To make sure you make the most of the language-learning process, here are some tips that will help you become a multilingual traveler:

  • Find Friends: Speaking to locals is one of the best ways to learn a language and practice it at the same time. Make sure you look for people who are willing to teach and be patient with you. You can use social media and travel forums to connect with like-minded people who will provide invaluable guidance and support.
  • Listen and repeat: Conversation is key when trying to master a foreign language. Listen carefully, then respond using the same words or phrases you heard. This is an effective way of getting used to pronunciation, new words, and sentence structure.
  • Use flashcards: Technology has made it much easier for travelers to learn a language on the road. Take advantage of this fact. Invest in an app that contains flashcards or download audio recordings of vocabulary lists to help you memorize words faster and more effectively.

Mobile Apps and Technology to Help you Learn

For language learners who are looking to learn while they travel, there are countless mobile applications and other pieces of technology to help.

    1. Language Learning Apps: Apps such as Duolingo, Babbel, and Memrise offer courses in over 20 languages to help beginners practice speaking and listening comprehension skills. These apps provide interactive activities that allow users to practice their speaking and listening comprehension skills, as well as grammar and vocabulary.
    2. Language Exchange Platforms: Language exchange platforms like Tandem or Italki are also great tools for language learners on the go. Through these platforms, native speakers can provide language that helps you in exchange for speaking with them. This is an ideal way to practice speaking with a real person outside of the app environment.
    3. Translation Tools: Translation tools such as Google Translate can also be helpful when traveling. These tools offer instant translations that can be invaluable when trying to communicate with locals whose language you don’t understand. Many translation apps also offer voice recognition, which can make understanding people much easier.

Finding a Language Exchange Partner

The most effective way to learn a language quickly is to find a local language exchange partner. Through this, you can practice the language with someone native to that language, who will be able to explain unfamiliar words and give you tips on how best to learn them. You can find language exchange partners in a variety of ways during your travels:

  • Ask around. Start by speaking with locals in the area and asking whether anyone is interested in exchanging languages. If you happen to be staying in an area for long enough, someone may be willing to establish a more permanent language exchange relationship with you.
  • Join social networks or dedicated websites that specialize in connecting people who want to learn or teach new languages.
  • Search for language schools or workshops, as they often provide casual classes and activities after the formal instruction is complete; this is where you can meet people who share your interests.

Regardless of where you choose to look, take initiative and take advantage of the resources available when searching for those who are interested in learning a foreign language while traveling.

Making Time to Practice and Living Your New Language

Exploring new cultures can be exhilarating, but it can also be daunting if you don’t know the language. However, with a few simple steps and some practice, you can become a multilingual traveler. It will not only make your trip easier, but it will also be an incredible learning experience.

One of the best ways to learn a language while traveling is to make time for practice sessions. Rather than just listening or reading in the native language, actively speaking with locals as much as possible is key to mastering the language. Take time out each day to practice speaking and do activities such as:

  1. Watching movies or TV shows in the target language.
  2. Taking local classes in the language you are trying to learn.
  3. Keeping a journal in the new language so that you can track your learning progress.
  4. Listening to podcasts in the target language.

Fully immersing yourself in the target-language culture is another great way to pick up a new dialect while traveling. Talk to locals and try out your new skill whenever possible. You’ll find that they are usually happy to help and encourage non-native speakers who are making an effort to communicate in their own unique way.

Motivation to Learn a Language While Traveling

Learning a language while traveling is a great way to make the most of your trip and gain insight into the culture of a different country. With motivation and dedication, it is possible to learn the basics of another language while exploring the globe.

  • Start with the Basics: Start by learning some basic phrases like greetings, numbers, and polite phrases to help you get around. This can be done before your trip so that when you arrive, you already have an idea of what to expect and can start conversing with locals immediately.
  • Use Apps and Software- There are many language-learning apps available that help make language learning easier, even on the go. Use these tools to learn useful phrases for specific situations, such as ordering food or asking for directions. Audio-based apps are particularly helpful for listening and pronunciation practice.
  • Connect with Locals: Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with locals, no matter how shy you may feel.  After all, it is the best opportunity to practice your newfound language skills. If you are too shy to talk out loud in another language, write a few sentences down in your phrasebook – most locals appreciate any attempt at their native tongue. 

Learning a new language while traveling is an adventure that can deepen understanding between different cultures as well as build new relationships across continents.

Tips for Retaining the Language When Learning Locally

If you’re serious about learning a language while traveling, it’s important to take steps to retain the language rather than simply pick up some basics while on the go. Here are some tips to help you retain your new language skills:

  • Immerse Yourself: The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it. Whenever possible, try to live with locals who speak the language and communicate only in that language. Or, join a conversation group or find other people who are also learning the language.
  • Practice Whenever You Can: One of the best ways to retain a language is to practice it whenever you can, even when you’re not actively in another country. If attending one-on-one classes or conversation groups isn’t an option, try downloading a language-learning app that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
  • Use Mnemonic Devices: Mnemonic devices are fun and helpful tools for learning and remembering new words and phrases. An example of this could be musical rhymes, visuals that pair words together, or even acronyms composed of words associated with each other. These devices will help with recall when needed.


Learning a language while traveling is a great way to make your journey more meaningful, impactful, and enjoyable. It can give travelers an insight into the culture of the places they explore as well as allow them to truly engage with the locals. It doesn’t require a commitment to one language, either; travelers can gain proficiency in multiple languages that they encounter while on the road.

To make the most of any language learning experience, travelers should be sure to make the most of their opportunities while on their journey. Speak with locals, take a class, and immerse yourself in the language and the culture. By doing so, travelers can gain a greater appreciation for the world through language learning.