Overcoming Communication Barriers When Travelling

Are you concerned about visiting a foreign nation without knowing the language? One of the reasons why some individuals do not want to travel overseas is because of communication and linguistic issues. It is stated that travel increases your understanding of the diverse cultures and tongues spoken around the world. However, you can only pick up a new language when you travel to a different nation.

Communication is crucial, especially while traveling to a foreign nation because it will enable you to explore the area, go shopping, and utilize services. If the people around you do not speak the same language as you, how can you communicate with them?

One of the most famous advice pieces is to familiarize yourself with vocabulary before leaving. Alternatively, you can benefit from a variety of free internet translation resources to assist you with speaking your native language. The majority of well-known tourist attractions also have workers who speak English.

Remember that there are “other languages” you may utilize even if you do not speak the native one. Be ready to communicate nonverbally. Despite the language hurdles, the following advice can help you have a better vacation.

a couple of colleagues having a conversation in the street near the cafeteria

What are communication barriers?

Even the most effective communicators occasionally make mistakes. When the communication is not received as the sender intended, something occurs.

For instance, you did not communicate that you wanted to travel in a jeepney by waving your hand at the driver. You do not get to take the ride as a result. You are late for where you were going. Or perhaps you circulate a note to your workers and do not receive the feedback you were anticipating. These are instances of misunderstandings.

Miscommunication is a result of communication obstacles. We are unable to grasp messages in their intended context because of them. Miscommunication could also result from a lack of empathy and insufficient information. Sometimes, these issues might be brought on by poor communication abilities.

a woman talking outside

How to overcome it?

Point To the Things You Care About

Speaking is less effective than pointing to something that matters to you. A very straightforward gesture can also swiftly get the point across. For instance, pictures of the cuisine the restaurant serves are frequently included on the menu. Additionally, you may use the map to point at things in the shop or other locations so that you can make purchases or travel to tourist attractions. Do not be scared to ask for assistance from locals because they are frequently quite welcoming.

It is crucial to remember that there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to point with your fingers toward things, people, and other items. Shaking your head indicates “yes” in Bulgaria whereas nodding indicates “no”. In the United States and other nations, this is the reverse. Or, although pointing with the index finger is acceptable in certain nations, doing it with the entire hand is acceptable in others.

Improve language and cultural competence

Cultural background differences are the cause of many communication obstacles. Working on expanding your understanding of various cultures will help you resolve this. Watch movies and documentaries on various cultures. Learn a new language, keep up with world events, or make friends with internationals.

Learn as many languages and cultures as you can to improve your ability to communicate. Be patient since it will not happen immediately.

Be an active listener

One of the finest methods to enhance communication is via active listening. Pay close attention to what is being said so that you can decide how to answer them most effectively. This enables you to comprehend one another.

A sign that you appreciate someone’s time is making an effort to hear what they have to say and understanding what they are trying to say. By doing this, you may increase the level of respect, trust, and transparency between you and other people. Building successful interpersonal and professional connections requires a commitment to these ideals.

Download The Map Application And Activate GPS On Your Phone

Even while the Internet is widely used in many tourist spots, there may be places where you are without Wi-Fi. You must download and save a map of each location on your itinerary on your phone. You can still find your way around if GPS is unavailable due to a lack of Internet access since you have an offline map in a language you can comprehend.

Don’t Forget To Be Polite

You can still make a few minor errors even if you are well-versed in the traditions and customs of the nation you are visiting. Regardless of how well you plan, there may still be times when you are unsure of what to do or say. Being courteous is all that is required.

You may manage difficult circumstances by being nice. Even if you do not speak their language, the people will be kind and smile at you. It is preferable to master the fundamental sentence structures in their language, such as “Thank you,” “Please,” “I’m sorry,” etc.

Remember to say “good morning,” “good afternoon,” “good evening,” “good night,” “goodbye,” and “see you again.”

Additionally, keep in mind that the simplest method to leave a positive impression on others is to constantly smile pleasantly at them. Additionally, by doing this, you can meet new people.

Ask The Locals for Directions

Ask young individuals since their English may be better than that of older people if you live in a nation where English is not the primary language. Additionally, you may visit any hotel or restaurant to receive instructions quickly; the personnel will undoubtedly be able to assist you.

Learn Culture

Even if the language is too challenging to master, you still need to be familiar with the local way of life. Every nation has its traditions and customs, which the natives expect visitors to be aware of and respectful of. When you are aware of them, such as when to eat, when to touch, when to pat someone on the head, when to wear suitable clothing, etc., you won’t make mistakes. For instance, you must be able to bow in Japan.

Bring The Map to the Local Language

You will frequently receive a map of the area from the hotel front desk. The locations you want to visit should be circled or marked. This is straightforward, yet it allows you to get to your goal faster. Sadly, it is also simpler to receive assistance from the locals if you become lost.

Additionally, you may use your smartphone to take images of the junctions, structures, and signs along the way to assist you in remembering your route. You also benefit greatly if you unavoidably get lost.

Find Natives Who Want to Practice English

You should visit universities, colleges, or gift stores if you want to find native English speakers. They will be delighted to assist you.

Practice empathy

The capacity to experience and comprehend another person’s feelings and emotions is known as empathy. Be more considerate while speaking to a coworker who is dealing with personal difficulties by changing your attitude. Be tranquil rather than abrasive. Use expressions such as “I’m sorry you feel this way.”

You may ask questions to get clarity and understanding, and learn to watch, listen, and put aside your personal biases on a topic; this will increase your capacity for empathy and improve your communication.

Clarify and confirm understanding

One of the first steps in avoiding communication obstacles is asking questions. You are more able to comprehend the message’s intended meaning. The sender will then be able to determine whether the recipient understood the message as intended.

A crucial component of overcoming communication hurdles is asking questions, in addition to learning non-verbal clues and listening. To prevent misunderstandings entails being inquisitive, maintaining an open mind, and asking questions.


In conclusion, effective communication is essential when traveling to foreign nations, even when language barriers exist. Miscommunication can arise from various factors. To overcome these barriers, travelers can employ several strategies. By embracing these approaches, travelers can enhance their ability to navigate and connect with people in foreign countries, enriching their travel experiences