6 Fantastic Tips to Avoid Miscommunications while you’re Abroad

When you’re traveling abroad to a destination is not your first language, there’s always an ever-present risk of mis-communicating with the people there. While you’re abroad, you don’t want to be offensive to anybody, and you don’t want to come across in a negative way.

However, with a bit of forward planning and consideration, many of these risks can be avoided completely. Today, we’re going to explore six essential tips you can remember in order to ensure you have the best experience abroad; whether that’s for business or leisure.

#1 – Research the Local Culture

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to research the culture of the place you’re traveling to in order to learn the ins and outs of what the country is like. This is easy thanks to all the travel guides that are available online.

These guides will detail any offensive words or attitudes that may exist, as well as any physical gestures you should avoid.

#2 – Be Understanding

While you’re researching a destination, you may come across certain phrases or gestures that don’t really seem offensive or seem ridiculous compared to your own culture. However, the more understanding you can be here, the better you’ll get on while you’re out and traveling your chosen destination.

#3 – Learn Some Basic Phrases

While you’re not expected to learn an entire language before you travel to any country abroad, it’s always a good idea to learn some basic phrases to help you get by. Some of the most common you’ll want to include phrases like ‘hello,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘please,’ ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘excuse me.’ These will help you get by no end.

Of course, these phrases can differ immensely in the way they’re pronounced depending on where you go; so you can use these tools to help you get them right;

Let’s Go and Learn – This is a resource full of language learning tips to help you speed up your learning process.

Writing Populist / Ukwritings – These two sites contain a wealth of grammar tools to help you check and correct your grammar.

TopCanadianWriters – This is a website full of online vocabularies for you to learn before you go abroad.

#4 – Be Neutral

If you travel to somewhere like France, you may feel like a lot of the people are cold and rather blunt. However, this is perfectly natural for people not to smile in a place like this, and going around smiling at everyone, even with good intentions, can have negative consequences.

It’s also a great idea to avoid generalizations and assumptions. If you’re unsure on something that someone has said, don’t be afraid to ask for clarity before proceeding in the conversation.

“Try to remain neutral where you can while you’re traveling abroad. Smile at waiters or when you sense the situation needs it, but there’s no reason to try and smile at everybody while you’re walking around” explains Joe Harper, a language tutor for StudentWritingServices and Study demic.

#5 – Avoid Confrontations and Negative Conversations

In a lot of destinations around the world, tourist tax is a common fee that’s added to the price of products, services, and amenities. This is just the way the world is. However, if confronted with a fee, there’s no need to cause a situation revolving it.

Not only can this cause negative confrontation with the person you’re communicating with, be aware that other people in the area can see what’s going on and may treat you negatively because of it. This is especially important in countries like Morocco.

In countries like this, tourists are treated very differently compared with other countries in the Western world. Again, this kind of culture and attitude towards tourists can be researched thoroughly online using travel guides.

#6 – Avoid Sarcasm

Growing up in the Western world, sarcasm and sarcastic jokes can come to many of us as second nature, but this can easily cause problems when sarcasm isn’t such common practice in other countries. Whether you’re in a conversation, or you’re accepting information from someone, avoiding satire can be the best way to avoid miscommunication.

The same rule applies to potential prejudice jokes and humor. While a joke may seem funny to you and the people you’re traveling with, jokes like this may cause a lot of offensive to foreign people, and this can cause you serious problems if taken the wrong way.

You should be very aware of all topics including race, gender, sexuality and similar kinds of discriminatory jokes.


While communicating in a foreign country can be challenging enough on its own, there’s no reason why you need to make it difficult for yourself. When planning to travel abroad, remember to have fun and enjoy yourself, but also remember to be respectful of the culture you’re visiting, and research beforehand to avoid any unexpected surprises.

Freddie Tubbs is acommunication manager at Australian reviewer. Heregularly takes part in online communication conferences and webinars, andcontributes articles to Write my Australia and Gradeon fire blogs.

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