If you’re like us here at Intrepid English, you love to travel and have a long list of places you want to visit once places start to open up again!
If an English-speaking country (or two…or ten!) is already on your travel list, that’s great! Not only will you get to see the sights and experience a different culture, but you’ll also be able to practise your English skills. Visiting an English-speaking country is a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the language, chat to local people, learn some new vocabulary and feel more confident about your English skills. If you haven’t decided where you want to go this year, we hope you will feel inspired after reading this blog.
We know that travelling to a new place where the native language is different from your own language can be daunting…but it’s also incredibly exciting! Just think about all the experiences you will have and how proud you will feel when you are able to talk to native speakers confidently. Still a little scared? Don’t worry! We’ve put together some handy phrases to help you get the most out of your trip.
There are lots of things you can learn from the locals
For example, maybe there’s a traditional food you want to try in the country you’re visiting. There will be lots of places for you to try traditional dishes, but locals will be able to tell you where the best food is. Just ask them:
“Where can I try the best local food?”
Locals also know the best places to visit…and they may be places that aren’t in your guidebook. By asking a local for recommendations, you might find a wonderful place that very few tourists know about and your holiday will be even more unique. Try asking:
“Where’s popular with the locals?”
“Where’s your favourite place in the city/town?”
Once you know where you want to go, you may need to ask for some help getting there. Again, chatting to locals is the best way to get this information and it’s a fantastic opportunity to practise your speaking and listening skills.
A few polite ways to ask for directions include:
“Excuse me? Do you know where ….. is/are?” (the museum/ the bank/ the botanic gardens/ the art gallery)
“I wonder if you can help me? I’m looking for….”
Remember to always say “thank you” when someone helps you.
Now you know how to politely ask for directions, so let’s practise following them. Listen to the audio clips below and answer the questions.
Listen to the recording. Which directions are given?
A) Straight on, then turn left
B) Straight on, then turn right
C) Straight on
Listen to the recording. What is next to the History Museum?
A) The Art Gallery
B) The National Gallery
C) The Museum of Modern Art
D) The National Museum
Why not discuss the answers to these questions with your fellow Intrepid English Learners in the Intrepid English Community?
A great way to learn about a country’s culture is to try the food. You might be lucky enough to find a street-food market during your visit. These are bustling, vibrant places full of people, smells and colours. The variety and choice can sometimes be a little overwhelming, but with a few simple phrases, you’ll be able to order delicious food like a pro!
When you find a food stall that looks good, you can ask the vendor for some advice. Try asking,
“Which is your bestseller?”
This will tell you which dish is the most popular with the locals…and the locals are usually right! This is a good way to guarantee you’ll receive some of the best food at the market.
If you’re keen to try local, traditional food, you can ask,
“Which is the most traditional?”
The vendor will be happy to tell you, and probably feel very proud that you want to try it!
There will be lots of other people at the street food market and they’ll be eating lots of delicious things too. You might see someone with some food that looks incredible and you want to try it as well! It’s ok to politely ask them what it is and where they got it from. Try asking,
“Excuse me? That looks delicious! Where did you get it from?”
Most of the time, people will be delighted that their opinion is valued and they will happily help you. Remember to thank them!
“Thanks so much for your help. Enjoy your food!”
Finally, if you’re travelling to the UK, make sure you experience a pub! Pubs are wonderful places where everyone is welcome to relax, eat and drink in a casual environment.
Pubs are excellent places to try local beers. The variety of beer in the UK is huge, and every pub will have a different selection. So how do you know which beer to ask for? You can just ask the bartender:
“Do you have any local beers?”
“Which local beer do you recommend?”
The bartender will be able to show you which beers are local and describe them to you. They may even let you try a few to help you to decide which one to order.
Beer is ordered in bottles, pints or half pints. When we order wine, we can order a large or a small glass. We also need to specify if we want red or white wine. If you want to order spirits, we specify which one we want, and, if you would like the spirit mixed with a non-alcoholic drink, you then ask for the mixer. For example, “rum and coke” or “gin and tonic”.
How do you order in a pub? In most pubs, there is no table service so you will need to go to the bar and order there. You can simply say:
Now you know how to order drinks in a pub. Let’s practise!
Listen to the recording. What did I order?
A) Rum and coke, and a small glass of house red wine
B) Rum and coke, and a large glass of house white wine
C) Rum and coke, and a large glass of house red wine
D) Gin and coke, and a large glass of house red wine
Listen to the recording. What did I order?
A) A pint of stout, a small glass of Shiraz and a vodka lemonade
B) A pint of stout, a small glass of Shiraz and whisky
C) Half a pint of stout, a small glass of Shiraz and a vodka lemonade
D) Half a pint of stout, a large glass of Shiraz and a vodka lemonade
*You can find the answers to these questions in the Intrepid English Community forum. Check it out!
You can make sure that your holiday is full of fantastic experiences by learning some essential phrases and practising them with your Intrepid English Teacher. For a much deeper look at the language you will need when travelling, try the English For Travelling course from the Intrepid English Academy. Take advantage of the free taster courses and get a taste of what you can expect when you become a member. New courses added every month.
This blog was written by Intrepid English teacher, Gemma.
Find out more about Gemma on her Intrepid English Teacher profile page.
If you have any questions, or you would like to request a topic for a future blog, you can contact us by using the little green chat box, or email us at Intrepid English.
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