5 Best Languages To Learn For Travel & How To Learn Them

the best languages to learn for travel a list by Ling title

If you’re preparing to start your “around the world in eighty days,” the biggest question in your mind must be, “What language should I learn if I want to travel the world?” You’ll find the answer here!

Of course, speaking English is a lifesaver for travelers, as it’s the lingua franca. However, learning the local language can help you connect with the locals, make new friends, and have an authentic cultural experience. That way, you can enjoy your travel more and get the best out of it.

In this blog post, you’ll find out the best languages to learn for travel around the world. You’ll also discover how to learn them on the go, using great language-learning resources such as the Ling app.

Best Languages To Learn For Travel Around The World

Why learn the local language if you can speak English? That’s right, English can make things a lot easier, as long as the majority of the country’s population speaks it at a decent level. But that’s not the case most of the time.

Learning at least a few key phrases in the local language of the country you visit can make your daily tasks easier, such as using public transportation, ordering food, shopping, introducing yourself, etc.

Anyone would recommend you to learn Turkish if you visit Turkey or learn Japanese if you visit Japan. But what languages should you learn if you’re traveling the world and visiting many different countries on each continent?

In that case, it would be wise to learn the most widely spoken languages in the world.

1. English (60 Countries)

Mostly spoken in: North America and Europe.

English is the official language of about 60 countries and hence it’s widely spoken around the world. If you speak English as a second language, keep improving your language skills to achieve fluency. Because English will be your first option for communicating with other people no matter where they come from.

However, if English is your native language – lucky you! – you still have to put some effort into communicating with local people. I promise that will make sense in a minute!

Have you ever heard of the term “World Englishes”?

“The term World Englishes refers to the differences in the English language that emerge as it is used in various contexts across the world.”

World Englishes: An Introduction. Purdue University.

Native English speakers may have difficulty understanding an English speaker from India or Singapore, even though the language is one of the official and spoken languages in those countries. That’s because of the differences among World Englishes!

So, when you’re traveling to foreign countries as a native English speaker, you should train your ears to understand different accents and wordings in English.

2. French (29 Countries)

Mostly spoken in: Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

French is the official language of 29 countries, and 21 of them are located in North Africa. That’s because of the French colonization before World War II.

If you want to visit France, you should learn French to get by in the country as a foreigner because local people prefer to speak French. If you want to visit the Middle East or North Africa, you could learn French instead of learning Arabic, because learning romance languages is easier than learning a language with a different script for native English speakers. Plus, people in those locations likely speak French as their second language.

3. Arabic (23 Countries)

Mostly spoken in: The Middle East and North Africa.

Arabic is the lingua franca of the Arab world. Plus, there are Arabic speakers everywhere around the globe.

It’s no secret that Arabic is a challenging language to learn for English speakers because of its different alphabet, complex grammar, and pronunciation. However, the Arabic language brings lots of career opportunities to those who endure the learning process.

If you want to visit Middle Eastern countries and discover their culture, you should learn at least basic conversational phrases in Arabic.

4. Spanish (20 Countries)

Mostly spoken in: Europe, Central and South America.

Spanish is one of the most useful languages to learn for travelers. It’s the official language of 20 countries, and all of them are located in Latin America except for Spain and Equatorial Guinea.

If you want to visit Latin America or Spain in Europe, you should learn at least basic phrases in Spanish. The Spanish language is one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers. It has simple grammar, and its vocabulary mostly comes from Latin. However, native Spanish speakers have various accents around South America. Therefore, it may be difficult to understand local people in some remote regions of Spanish-speaking countries.

a map of east africa

5. Swahili (5 Countries)

Mostly spoken in: East Africa.

Swahili is spoken all over East Africa, from Kenya to Uganda, and that makes it the lingua franca of East African countries. Swahili is a beautiful language with melodic pronunciation and a unique culture. By learning conversational Swahili, you can discover the true beauty of East African countries that have much more things to show you than just a safari.

How To Learn A Language While Traveling? The Best 5 Apps You Can Try

I know you deal with several things at a time when traveling from one country to another. Plane tickets, backpack prep, visas, etc. However, remember that language learning has become such an easy task with the Ling app that you can do it while drinking your coffee at a cafe or commuting on a bus.

As you can guess, the best way to learn a foreign language when traveling is to use language-learning apps. However, not all apps are suitable for travelers who need to speak a new language in the shortest time possible. That’s why apps that teach everyday topics and useful vocabulary with an all-in-one approach are best for this situation.

Quick Summary:

Top Picks For Best Language Learning Apps For Travel
Best For
Image of Ling app Logo - Best language learning apps Ling app Review


  • Chatbot to practice daily-life conversations
  • Casual phrases 
  • Interactive bite-sized lessons
Mondly Logo Best language learning apps Ling app Review


  • Track your progress
  • Choose which lesson to learn first
  • Learn many languages!
HelloTalk logo widget


  • Social media features
  • Talk with native speakers
  • Language learning community

Here’s a complete list of the best language-learning apps for travel:

1. The Ling App – Best All-In-One App For Language Learning

The Ling app offers more than 60 foreign language courses, including hard and unpopular ones. Its mission is to provide an easy way to learn hard languages.

What makes the Ling app best for travelers is that it skips the fluff like “this is a dog” and teaches you useful vocabulary and phrases that you will use in real life. It also teaches you informal phrases along with formal ones so that you know what to say on different occasions.

With Ling, you will learn what you want to learn by jumping into any topic you need. All of the topics inside a course are taken from real life, such as ordering food, at the cafe, shopping, etc.

Some of the many features of the app are that you can practice your speaking with a chatbot and improve your pronunciation with native speakers’ audio.

Read our detailed Ling app review to get more information!

What do users say about the Ling app?

“A very practical application, with classical exercises and other more elaborate as is the case of dialogues to complete. I recommend.”

Benjamin Fouks on Ling

Devices: Available on Android, iOS, and Web.

Start learning a new language – Try the Ling App now for FREE!

Best Features

  • Interactive bite-sized lessons.
  • All-in-one learning by focusing on all four language skills.
  • Chatbot to practice everyday conversational skills.
  • Daily topics are covered with useful casual phrases.


  • Free – Beginner units and limited chatbot conversations.
  • Monthly – $14.99
  • Yearly – $79.99 (7-day free trial)
  • Lifetime – $149.99

2. Mondly – Most Affordable App For Travelers

Mondly is another language-learning app catering to travelers. It prepares you for the most common situations while traveling.

Mondly offers 40 foreign languages, and it covers everyday topics such as family, food, weather, etc. Inside each topic, there are 6-8 lessons. Each lesson consists of quick drilling activities such as matching words to images, listening to words and phrases and then repeating them, translating sentences, multiple-choice questions, and completing conversations by selecting the correct response.

What do users say about Mondly?

‘‘This app makes a great companion to a good book course. It will cover a great deal of vocabulary and will help you practice the grammar and structure you know, but, like all trendy apps, won’t teach you everything about grammar and structure. With that said, it is wonderful for languages that other apps don’t teach.’’

Dan D on Play Store

Devices: Available on Android, iOS, and Web.

Best Features

  • Tracking your learning progress.
  • Choosing which lessons to learn first.
  • Learning multiple languages at the same time.


  • Free – One free lesson per day.
  • Monthly – $9.99
  • Yearly – $47.99
  • Lifetime – $89.99 (one-time purchase).

3. HelloTalk – Best App To Chat With Native Speakers

Hello Talk is a language learning app that connects you with other language learners and native speakers.

It supports 150 languages. However, Hello Talk doesn’t teach you a language through lessons. It provides you with translations between any language. It functions like a social media platform for language learners. You can post images, texts, and voice recordings. Then native speakers can like and comment on your posts or correct your mistakes.

It can be beneficial to chat with some native speakers of the country you are traveling to get some local insight on the location and culture.

What do users say about Hello Talk?

‘‘I’m surprised at how friendly people are and how they genuinely are interested in learning and meeting new friends.’’

Kris__001 on App Store

Devices: Available on Android, iOS, and Web.

Best Features

  • Social media features like texting, voice and video chat.
  • Naturally interacting with your target language.
  • Active and friendly language-learning community.


  • Free – Limited features.
  • Monthly – $12.99
  • Yearly – $79.99
  • Lifetime – $149.99 (one-time purchase).

4. 50 Languages – Best App To Learn Useful Phrases For Travel

50 Languages is a useful phrasebook app that offers 50 languages for travelers. It doesn’t have drilling activities and a spaced-repetition system for teaching words and phrases like other apps.

It provides a phrasebook with many topics and situations that travelers can face in a foreign country. It may be a shortcut to learning a language. Instead of learning it from scratch, you can learn only the useful phrases that you need to travel and get by in your destination.

What do users say about 50 Languages?

‘‘Very useful, audio works perfectly – women and men’s voices; basic and daily topics, grammar is correct as far as the few languages I’ve learned and easy-to-follow exercises; I LOVE IT, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND and I am thankful I discovered 50 LANGUAGES like 10 years ago! 🙂 have fun and never stop learning!’’

Johanna-Victoria Doublesmile on Play Store

Devices: Available on Android, iOS, and Web.

Best Features

  • Language courses for more than 50 native language speakers.
  • Exhaustive phrasebook in every language course.
  • Great quality audio lessons in native speaker voices.


  • Free.
  • Ad-free: $3 for one time.

5. Babbel – Best App To Develop Conversational Skills

Babbel is a practical language learning app that offers 13 foreign language courses. It has a user-friendly interface, and its lessons cover real-life situations via interactive activities under a structured curriculum. It is a useful app for learners who want to improve their practical language skills.

The app emphasizes grammar and pronunciation and operates on a subscription model, with a free trial available. Users can download lessons for offline use.

What do users say about Babbel?

‘‘It’s a fine app. I like how they place emphasis on learning real life phrases, and unlike Duolingo, the voices you listen to sound way more human. It’s just the speech feature which is frustrating. If you have a short word you’re outta luck. Sometimes it doesn’t even register me speaking. I could say the same sentence, the same way and it would mark me incorrect the first time, correct the second.’’

WonderousSmiles on Google Play Store

Devices: Available on Android, iOS, and Web.

Best Features

  • Effective learning content.
  • Has an intuitive design.
  • Has useful supporting podcasts.


  • 1 month – $13.95
  • 3 months – $29.85
  • 6 months – $50.70
  • 12 months – $83.40

Language Learning For A Great Travel Experience

As a traveler, you want to connect with local people and their culture, collect unique memories, and experience new things. These are possible by learning the local language and communicating with people.

That’s why you need to learn the right language by using the right tools, such as Modly, Hello Talk, and the other apps we’ve covered. But I wouldn’t recommend using phrasebook apps made for travelers because they don’t help you learn a language; they make you memorize sentences that you’ll forget in a short time.

So, what do I recommend?

I recommend using the Ling app for all travelers. It teaches more than 60 languages, including unpopular ones. It covers everyday topics and situations to get by in a foreign country. You can practice conversational skills with a friendly chatbot. And most importantly, it uses an all-in-one teaching approach by focusing on all language skills!

Download the Ling app from the App Store or Play Store now and try it for free!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.