If your wanderlust has gotten the better of you, you’re not alone. As summer approaches and lockdowns ease, our minds are turning to what's next — and for many of us, that means dreaming of travel.
Want to make the most of your dream destination? Learn a bit of the local language! Even basic conversation skills can make your trip more memorable and rewarding. We’ll help you gear up for your travels with tips for packing in language practice before you depart.
How to pack in language practice
It may sound like common sense to familiarize yourself with the local language , but not all travelers are prepared. Our 2017 survey found many travelers actually increase their learning after they return from a trip. Learners were so inspired by their travels, imagine how much more they could have enjoyed their trip with some language skills under their belt!
So, to avoid missing out, and to get ahead of the pack, our advice is to start early! Set a daily goal and stick to it.
You can also try lots of fun ways to accelerate your learning and solidify the skills you learn with Duolingo! To get to know your destination, immerse yourself however you can before you travel.
- Turn on the TV. Start watching TV shows and films (with subtitles on, obviously). Money Heist in Spanish, Lupin in French, and Gomorrah in Italian will help you pick up on the culture and the lingo.
- Live the language. Write down key phrases on sticky notes and put them around your house in the weeks before you leave. Toilet paper = χαρτί υγείας, could be invaluable when there’s an emergency in that Greek Taverna.
- Take a walk. Duolingo Podcasts are a great way to pass the time on your daily walk and prepare you for a trip. The new series of French podcasts focuses on travel, so it will perfectly complement your holiday adventures.
- Eat your way in. Cuisine is a delicious way to familiarize yourself with a destination. Get a local language cookbook and assemble some dishes before you go. Double up on your learning and expand your culinary horizons at the same time!
You can check out more fun ideas for sharpening your language skills, plus tips for learning Spanish and tips for improving your long-term memory of new words.
Investing in future adventures
Building up new language skills (or dusting off old ones) is an investment for this summer and future travels. Learning Portuguese unlocks Portugal now, and Rio next year! Learning Spanish? It’s Barcelona this summer and Buenos Aires next. French? What about Marseille this year and Montreal next spring. For Game of Thrones fans learning High Valyrian, you can even find destinations as diverse as Malta, Northern Ireland, and Croatia.
A little lingo goes a long way
It's hard to learn every word you'll need on vacation, but there are some basic phrases you can rely on. We partnered with Travel Noire to create a few language cheat sheets you can keep in your back pocket (er, phone) if you’re visiting…