Thursday, August 23, 2012
How to Talk to the 4 People You Will Meet Every Time You Travel
When you travel, you will meet certain people more frequently than others. You can avoid cross-cultural communication issues by identifying these people and following some basic tips.
1. Hotel clerk
People working in a hotel are used to dealing with foreigners. This makes them not only likelier to speak multiple languages but also more knowledgeable about the surrounding area.
Take advantage by consulting with the hotel staff as often as possible. You can ask about interesting places to visit or the general price range of goods and services. Many hotels can also arrange suitable transportation for you.
2. Taxi driver
When it comes to public transportation, the two main topics of conversation involve, (1) getting to where you want to go, and (2) how much it costs to get there.
The first topic, destination, is easy to manage. Before traveling, write on an index card the names of key locations that you will visit. You can also ask hotel staff to help you with this if you forget. You can then simply show the appropriate index card to show your desired destination.
The second, fare, requires more preparation. It helps to have a general idea of how much you are supposed to spend to go from place to place. Remember to ask how you will be charged before boarding a taxi.
If you are eating at a local restaurant for the first time, navigating through the myriad of menu options can become a complicated affair. Even worse is when the menu is in a different language and there are no pictures available.
It becomes all the more important to establish a good rapport with your waiter. Ask questions and show genuine interest in what they have to say. You will not only get good food but great service as well.
There should be no shortage of local souvenirs available to you while traveling. Instead of treating shopping as a means of buying things, consider using it as a way to mingle with locals and learn more about the culture. Vendors are good people to interact with because they want you to spend time at their shop to sell you something.
An added benefit of striking up a conversation is the chance to get additional discounts. The longer you stay without buying anything, the lower the price will become to get you to buy something.