In our travels everywhere from Beijing to Timbuktu, my boyfriend/collaborator Steven Weinberg and I have found that knowing even just a little bit of the local language goes a LONG way. We've got a real hodgepodge of language skills between us, from being near fluent in French to knowing just a few curse words in Norwegian, and we're always looking for more because as a traveler there's no such thing as packing too many language skills.
So here are 5 phrases from around the world that can help you bargain, get across town, make friends and maybe even limit the number of cultural faux-pas you will inevitably make when going somewhere new.
You check out more of our travel tales in our illustrated book "To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story" (Roaring Brook Press 2011) which is all about the two years right out of college that we spent living in Asia and West Africa. More info at allthewaytotimbuktu.com.