As you continue to prepare and get excited for your trip, chances are, you’ll be visiting a country where you will not know the language. Depending on what country you’ll be visiting (if it’s an international tour), here are a few tips and tricks to get you started on being able to speak the basics and beyond. A bright spot to having a postponed tour is that there is a lot more time to educate yourself and learn as much as you can. Once you learn a language, it will most likely stick with you fo your entire life. How cool is that?

Utilize your local library

As our wonderful libraries begin to open back up (check yours for rules or restrictions), one of the richest resources for learning is at your fingertips. Most libraries offer a multitude of language books from beginner to advanced. If they don’t have the language you’re looking for, there’s a great chance the book can be ordered. The best part is-it’s all free! If you don’t want to visit the library physically, most things can also be borrowed online.

Try a free phone application

In this day and age, many people like to use their phones for a variety of things, including educational tools. Downloading a free language app is a great way to stay closely connected to learning your language of choice. Try Duolingo, for example. Short, daily activities and quizzes can keep you on top of your language learning game. Even using the ubiquitous Google search to find key phrases and often used words is extremely helpful.

Start speaking the language immediately

It’s one thing to read books and study words and phrases, but it’s even more important to start SAYING these things out loud. Become familiar with the pronunciations and using words and phrases correctly. It will help ingrain the language in your brain. Whether you are alone or with peers who will be touring with you, immersing yourself into the language is a sure fire way to help things stick. Setting small weekly goals is also helpful; try focusing on learning several new phrases or ten new words. Speaking of peers…

Enlist the help of friends and peers

Gathering a small group of friends who will be traveling with you who are also interested in learning the language of choice is another great option. This is a wonderful way to keep each other accountable and sharp. Quiz one another on words and phrases. Create games and make learning as fun as you can. If you’re going to Italy, for example, watch an Italian movie with your friends. Turn on the subtitles. See if you can recognize words. Utilize the pause button to listen closely and repeatedly to how things are being pronounced.

These are just a few simple ways to begin your language journey. Not only does learning a language shape us into more of a well-rounded person, you will feel so much more equipped and confident when you visit your chosen country. It will be easier to converse with locals, read signs, menus, etc. Dedicating some time and energy into your language learning project NOW will be make your upcoming trip that much more enjoyable.