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A Quick Travel Phrase Tutorial: Guest Blogger

For June, our theme is wanderlust and we could think of no better person to wax poetic on foreign adventures than Kate Thorman, a professional travel writer. Kate’s impressive credentials include being an editor for Mr. & Mrs. Smith as well as the host/producer of the web-based travel and food program The Innocents Abroad. (In fact, she’s actually the cofounder of the show’s production company Abbott & West.) If you think you had the itch to explore before, we can guarantee that you’ll be ready to pull the trigger and book your next plane ticket after reading her travel-savvy posts this week. 

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One of my most terrifying travel memories remains the moment, on the train from Paris to Köln, when I realized the only thing I could say in German was ‘auf Wiedersehen.’ ‘Good-bye’ is definitely the most useless travel word ever.

As soon as I met up with a friend in Berlin, I asked her how to say a phrase I’ve discovered to be one of the most important in my travels: ‘I don’t speak [insert language here].’ I even know two ways to say it in Turkish, just in case they don’t believe me the first time (which has happened before – in multiple languages).

It might sound ridiculous, but once you’re off the beaten tourist path, people will just repeat themselves louder and more slowly as the few words you’ve picked up suddenly escape you and you find yourself staring like an idiot.

To make sure you can at least somewhat effectively communicate wherever you might be jaunting off to next, here’s a quick little tutorial on some useful phrases in some of my favorite languages:

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