I lack the ability to learn new languages quickly, but I refuse to let it slow down my travel. Knowing the key terms such as: Hello, Goodbye, Bathroom and Vegetarian will only get you so far. To be understood, there comes a point where you have to get creative and begin playing the universal game of travel charades. This is where you make a fool of yourself by trying to act out what you want to someone who speaks another language. It’s great fun, and nearly eliminates the need to learn a new language! (not really)
Some essential travel phrases and how I managed to act them out:
Would you have had any idea of what I was trying to say?
Do you have any toothpaste?
I’m looking for a room for one night.
Can I have some milk? (Yes, I’m milking a cow, and yes, I’ve used this one before)
Can I have the bill?
I have a headache, do you have any Tylenol?
I’ll have the chicken please!
How much does it cost?
Where can I get a haircut?
Everything is Good/Delicious/Amazing!
1. Use the items around you
A quick glance around will usually provide a variety of items you can use in your message. Menus, brochures and everything in your pockets are at your disposal. Get creative with pointing and acting out, the more practice the better!
2. Laugh with the person as you make a fool of yourself
Most likely the person you are trying to communicate with will be laughing at you. They might have no idea what you are saying and you probably look rather funny bending your body to look like a chicken simply because you are hungry for dinner. By acknowledging the communication barrier and having fun with the game of traveling charades you will prevent frustration when you are trying to get around in new countries. You’ll also notice how I’m smiling in every picture. You’ll get much better results with a smile than a scowl!
3. Enlist help from those around you
You can always find people around you willing to help. Whether they speak a bit more English or team up and begin trying to make sense of your charades, the more people helping the quicker your message will be understood.
What are your best travel charade moves?