English is the official language of tourism and business. So by knowing English you can get by just about anywhere in the world quite well.

Many airport, hotel and tour agency employees are required to speak English. Most tours are available in the local language and in English. English is spoken almost everywhere in the world by at least some level even if at a basic one.

Trying to communicate without speaking the language can be frustrating, but with patience something will be worked out. You can use pictures, hand gestures and nods to communicate and you can always point to words in the dictionary.

You don’t need to learn the language of every place that you’re going to visit. English is usually enough, but sometimes it would be to your advantage to learn at least a few of the most common words in the local language.

Adventurer, explorer and linguist Sir Richard Francis Burton developed a system that helped him learn how to communicate in foreign, even complex languages, in as little as 30 days. He realized that most languages use only about 500 to 1,000 of the same words over and over again. After learning the most used words of the language, basic grammar and some phrases, he was able to speak and understand 90% of the used language.

To learn a foreign language quickly buy a book that has compiled 1,000 or so of the language’s most useful words. Also buy a book on basic grammar and phrases.

Daily, write down new words and phrases on index cards with their translation on the back of the card. Study these cards and include time to study basic grammar. Keep these cards with you and at odd moments during the day review them. Aim to learn 25 new words/phrases each day.

Once you know a few hundred words pick up a publication in the language that uses basic reading skills. Read it out loud to help with pronunciation and underscore with a pen every word you don’t understand. Look these words up in a language dictionary and write them down on your index cards for later review.

Listen to tapes, radio or television programs in the language of study. If you know people who speak the language practice talking to them. Start thinking in the language. Replace words in English with words in the foreign language.

Follow this method everyday and in a month’s time you will know at least 750 words, some phrases and you’ll have an understanding of basic grammar. You will be able to communicate on a basic, but effective level. At this point your progress will become rapid.