It’s probably the traveling world’s worst kept secret that smaller destinations offer a lot more thrill, adventure and charm than conventional and popular ones. Since smaller destinations attract less visitors, they not only are more welcoming of tourists but also let tourists relax more and have a better experience.
There is, however, one major challenge that most small destinations are currently battling – the language barrier.
According to Samantha Shankman, the rise in repeat visitation for a country increases when efforts are put in to get tourists out of the city and popular destinations and into lesser known ones. However, smaller different-language speaking destinations find it hard to accommodate tourists, not only logistically but also in the context of understanding and catering to their needs. “It’s difficult to promote or welcome foreign tourists to a destination where there are few to zero resources for them available in their language. As visitation is spread outside of cities and city centers, it’s important for even the smallest of businesses to prepare for a range of languages”, she says.
As a result, more destinations are being encouraged to use English in their communication, whether written or verbal. Hotels and restaurants are being asked to improve the presentation to the guests (local and international) and then open themselves. This, according to tourism directors, will help attract foreign tourists more easily.
If you are traveling to a lesser known destination with a different language, do take the effort to learn the basics of the language and acquaint yourself with the culture first. A brief culture know-how will ensure that you don’t do things to offend the locals and understand how they function better. A basic knowledge of the local language of the destination ensures that you can blend in with the locals and your needs are addressed quicker and more efficiently too. You can also download apps that help you translate words into the local language. These apps not only display the word, but also pronounce it so that you can pronounce the words correctly when interacting with locals.
Another must-have while traveling internationally is a calling card. A calling card is an important communications tool that lets you make cheap international calls to almost any destination across the globe. Thus, you can stay connected with family and friends wherever you are and even ask someone you know back home with some help on translation. Cheap international calls, made possible by calling cards, are the best way to stay connected 24/7.
So don’t let this language barrier challenge deter you from traveling to lesser known destinations. There are many more places to explore and things to do than you can find on popular travel sites. Take the plunge. Explore a new place and write about it yourself. For all you know, the memory of experience will not only last you a lifetime but also make you a celebrity somewhere. Life is short. Don’t live it without having taken chances.