Why Learning a Language is the Best Friend of Solo Travelers

Preparing for a long trip can feel as though it is never ending…shopping around for the best flight prices, coordinating different places you will stay, navigating the visa guidelines, the list goes on. It may be tempting to cut corners in some areas of preparation when you are caught up in the process. After years of solo traveling one of my best pieces of advice to offer is to not skip over learning the language of the country you are traveling to.


  • You do not need to be fluent before taking that flight but learning the basics of the native language can make a substantial difference in your experience and safety. Being a solo traveler is exciting and liberating, it also means you are solely responsible for navigating your new country.
  • Many native English-speaking travelers brush over learning much language when traveling to busy tourist cities because they think it’s not necessary when many locals in tourist destinations may speak some English. While you may find that your bartender during your travels speaks your language, there is no substitution for the difference of experience in understanding and being able to communicate in the native language. The ability to read street signs, successfully tackle public transportation, and talk to taxi drivers will give you the confidence to explore more and fully relax.    
  • Language is the best safety precaution you can take in your travels. Quick and clear communication in an emergency – or recognizing one before it begins, is a vital piece of feeling secure as a solo traveler. Not only for physical safety, but you will also feel self-assured in speaking up about medical or diet needs.  

Think back to your goals in planning your slow travel.

Understanding the native language during your trip provides the most fulfilling and individualized experience. It will give you the independence you seek to discover the hidden gems you won’t read about in any travel guide. Locals will notice the effort you make to communicate, and it will reflect in the relationships you make. Transformative travel does not happen without seeking connection.

Learning a new language doesn’t just give you phrases to speak – you’re discovering the nuances, beliefs, and values of the culture. It can save you from unintentionally showing disrespect if you had not otherwise been aware. Understanding a new culture creates a feeling of mutual respect that you will feel in your interactions. Think of this as the difference between visiting a country as a tourist and being immersed into that country.   

There is no replacement for fully immersing yourself into a new culture and the traditions that it comes with. Language is the best tool you have to create the richest, most authentic slow travel experience.

If you’re looking for support in developing a new language, click here to see how you can confidently speak in 30 days or crash Italian/Spanish for your trip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *