How do you travel abroad when you don’t speak the language?- An interesting fact to share

Ever wondered why is it easier to travel to Russia than Thailand- Guess my logic? I was cleaning my messy room after a long crazy Christmas party when an Idea struck my mind inducing me to write this short article.

Language has always been a major constraint while traveling and it is absolutely not easy to embark random exploring to unknown places- which one would want to experience otherwise as a solo traveler. People are helpful, smart, and willing to guide you but yet powerless to communicate in a common language. From taxis to reading sign-boards on streets or merely interactions with the public is enough for a non-native to wreck itinerary plans, resulting in loss of time and money. According to a Lonely Planet, nearly 10% of adults from UK do not travel abroad due to language barriers. These 10% of population could be up to five million people. Now, if you are poor with directions and bumbled during the course of your travel, it is imperative for you to select your next travel destination prudently.

I will logically give you an idea but rest it’s upon you if you support this write-up- I know you all have google maps and translators 🙂

To exemplify, look at the Russian letters below- These are signboards from Moscow Metros. Observe minutely that every character looks different but still recognizable when it is read as a word- So to say many English letters are reversed.

On the other hand, when you read Thai or Japanese for that matter, all the text looks the same- Now, I wonder if you are lost in a metro station or rambling on the streets and your phone is shut down-What would you do?.
The Japanese and Thai metros still have the English translation on the signboards, but you can barely understand from the characters- they all look the same.

However, in Russian metros, there is no English translation given on the direction boards, yet, it easier to travel in Moscow because I started to recognize the text within 2-3 days of my stay in the country without understanding even a word. It was easier for me to locate directions on my own and reach back to the hotel.

There are other instances to share other than just navigation where you realize the language being a barrier in such countries.

To conclude, never forget the basics, use your intelligence despite of all the conveniences you witness in foreign lands or through your smartphones.

Some of the non-English countries you can travel with ease:


  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Indonesia
  • India
  • Philippines

West/East Europe

  • Russia
  • Finland
  • Spain
  • Greece
  • France


  • South Africa
  • Mauritius


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