The English are a strange bunch, many people go abroad every year without any knowledge of another countries culture or language. It’s actually to a disadvantage not knowing any of the language at all, as you may find that you are treated a little differently than other people from the UK who have made the effort to learn.
With the rise of technology these days, it’s not uncommon for someone to bring out their phone and have it translate what they want to get across, this is not something I would recommend, it seems a bit rude. You may be better actually learning some common phrases that you think you’re most likely going to actually use. There are several things that you know you will ask for in a restaurant, such as a glass or a jug of water, and it’s handy knowing the difference between the two.
Of course a lot of staff in the popular places will be able to speak English, the touristy areas are of course going to be full of English people, so English will be a common language spoken in the surrounding restaurants. But when you travel to the smaller and quainter villages, you’ll come across restaurants and cafes where unfortunately they do not speak English at all and ordering a meal will consist of pointing at items on the menu and smiling. This is why doing a bit of research into the language and culture can be of a huge benefit to you when you go abroad. It doesn’t matter where you’re going either, its always worth a look.
If you’re one that has trouble with languages, some translation companies have resources on their websites that can help with different problems that you might have. What you have to remember is some languages are more difficult than others, they say English is one of the hardest to learn to a foreigner, well you managed to learn it as a child, so you can learn another!
It’s not just language that you should learn, depending on which country you are going to visit, culture can be an important thing to learn. Imagine you went to Spain, and you forgot that everywhere closes for siesta time around lunch? You had planned to walk around the town for the hour, but now you’ve got no shops to go in, everywhere is closed! It’s mistakes like this that can easily be avoided with a little research.
So why not put some research into your trips abroad? You’ll feel more relaxed and better off for doing it, and you’ll know when you go to a restaurant whether you are being conned into paying too much for your meal.