The 5 best languages to learn for travel - BookitList

The 5 best languages to learn for travel

Due to the prevalence of the English language worldwide, speakers are often able to get by in most parts of the world without knowing any of the local tongue, but for those seeking a more ‘authentic’ experience, learning a language is not only fun and rewarding, but it will also allow you to delve deeper into a destination, get off the beaten track and immerse yourself in the local culture: Here is our pick of the 5 best languages to learn for travel.


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With over 450 million native speakers across the globe along with some 75 million second-language speakers, Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet and the perfect choice for travelers looking to learn a new tongue! From almost the entirety of Central and South America, Mexico, parts of the Caribbean, and of course Spain, over 20 countries across the world call Spanish their official language, whilst it is also spoken widely in some areas of the United States such as parts of California and Miami!


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Though not as widely spoken as its nearest relative, Spanish, Portuguese still boasts over 220 million native speakers globally and is the official language in ten countries and territories across the world including, Portugal, Brazil (South America’s largest country), the autonomous Chinese region of Macau and a number of African nations including Angola, Cape Verde, and the beautiful islands of São Tomé and Príncipe.

Mandarin (Chinese)

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With close to a billion native speakers globally, Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language on earth by some distance! The native tongue of approximately 80% of China’s population, including in many of its largest cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, it’s a particularly great option for those looking to get off the main tourist route and explore the wealth of incredible places that the world’s largest country has to offer, whilst it is also a co-official language in Singapore and is widely spoken in Malaysia, and in Chinese communities across the globe.


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The official (or co-official) language in 25 different nations, Arabic has over 460 million speakers globally, (native and non-native), though is comprised of 30 different dialects that vary considerably in different parts of the world. From almost the entirety of North Africa, the Middle East, and the Arabian Gulf, the Arabic-speaking world includes some fascinating nations, a number of which are often overlooked as tourist destinations, whilst the language is also widely spoken amongst diasporic communities in Europe and the United States.


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Though there may only be some 76 million native speakers worldwide, French is one of the fastest-growing languages on the planet and the figure rises to nearly 300 million when taking into account non-native speakers. The official or co-official tongue of 29 nations worldwide including France (and its overseas territories like Martinique and Reunion) Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, 21 different nations in Africa - including Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Seychelles - along with several different Caribbean nations, and a host of non-sovereign entities such as the Canadian province of Quebec.

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