Need opinions and help please!

AinsleyLM

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 2, 2013
Hi, y’all! My mom and I are seriously considering traveling to Europe next Fall as a late 30th birthday celebration for me! We have debated on many different trips from river cruises to guided tours to traveling on our own and (I think) have narrowed it down to either a Week in Scotland with Tauck OR ABD trip to Prague and Austria. We rarely travel internationally. I have only been out of the country twice, one was a cruise to Cozumel that I really don’t even count, and the other time was a week in London (I’m a big British history buff). My mom is a nervous wreck about traveling to foreign countries where English isn’t the primary language. To be honest, I’m a little nervous, too. I know that you can find people who speak English, but I don’t know about signs and menus and jazz. BUT, I don’t want our anxiety to keep me from seeing what I have only read about in books and seen in movies. So if anyone would like to tell us y’alls experiences with traveling to countries where you don’t understand the language, I would appreciate it. Also, if anyone has been on either of these two trips and would like to share their experiences of the trips, I would appreciate that as well. Thank you!
 

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Hi, y’all! My mom and I are seriously considering traveling to Europe next Fall as a late 30th birthday celebration for me! We have debated on many different trips from river cruises to guided tours to traveling on our own and (I think) have narrowed it down to either a Week in Scotland with Tauck OR ABD trip to Prague and Austria. We rarely travel internationally. I have only been out of the country twice, one was a cruise to Cozumel that I really don’t even count, and the other time was a week in London (I’m a big British history buff). My mom is a nervous wreck about traveling to foreign countries where English isn’t the primary language. To be honest, I’m a little nervous, too. I know that you can find people who speak English, but I don’t know about signs and menus and jazz. BUT, I don’t want our anxiety to keep me from seeing what I have only read about in books and seen in movies. So if anyone would like to tell us y’alls experiences with traveling to countries where you don’t understand the language, I would appreciate it. Also, if anyone has been on either of these two trips and would like to share their experiences of the trips, I would appreciate that as well. Thank you!
English is the main language in Scotland. I don't remember being anywhere where only Scots or Gaelic was being spoken.

Scotland is amazing and beautiful, and Edinburgh is one of my favorite cities anywhere!

That said, Prague and Austria are also beautiful, and I had no issues with the language either place. But that's also one reason I do ABDs, so that they can deal with the language issues for me.

Sayhello
 
Last edited:

aggiedog

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 13, 2012
As far as language goes, English is very much the international business language. While you can't assume everyone speaks English, many, many people do, particularly at hotels and larger restaurants (or they have an English menu on hand.) We've traveled all over, and there's only been a few times when we had a problem communicating - mostly small restaurants, shops, etc.

It is nice to have someone hand hold you thru your first trip, as a way to get comfortable. But I'd say use any OYO time to explore, shop, interact a bit with the locals so you can see it's not so hard as it seems. We just got back from an 11 day trip to the Pyrenees and Barcelona. It was fabulous. We had a company do the travel arrangements for the Pyrenees (we hiked from town to town) but then rented a car with friends and drove to Andorra overnight then 4 days in Barcelona all DIY. Super easy and we had a fantastic time. We had no significant problems with language anywhere.
 
  • Jess_S

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 14, 2015
    I think you will find that language is not as much a barrier as you may fear. My dad did not travel outside North America for the first 50 plus years of his life because he was afraid of the language barrier. Then my husband and I convinced him to come along on a trip to Germany and France. He and my mother have since been on multiple trips to Europe without us; once he got over that initial fear and took his first trip, he hasn't looked back.

    Some of my favorite travel memories actually came out of their being a language barrier. In college, I took a train from Paris to Dresden to visit a friend who was studying there. (I speak French, but no German). A group of German sailors in full regalia approached me and said something to me in German and I responded with the one phrase I had learned ("I do not speak German"). This led to a very dramatic game of charades through which I eventually realized that they wanted me to watch their bags while they went to the cafe.

    10 years later on the Germany/France trip with my parents, my husband decided that his one year of German in high school made him fluent so he declined the English menu at a restaurant we went to. Long story short, he accidentally ordered what can best be described as deep-fried pig fat when he meant to order a green salad.
     

    AinsleyLM

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 2, 2013
    English is the main language in Scotland. I don't remember being anywhere where only Scots or Gaelic was being spoken.

    Scotland is amazing and beautiful, and Edinburgh is one of my favorite cities anywhere!

    That said, Prague and Austria are also beautiful, and I had no issues with the language either place. But that's also one reason I do ABDs, so that they can deal with the language issues for me.

    Sayhello
    Thank you! I know English is the main language in Scotland, I was referring to Prague and Austria, lol. I’m glad to know you did not have any trouble in Prague or Austria! I have so many places on my bucket list that I am struggling deciding!
     

    AinsleyLM

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 2, 2013
    As far as language goes, English is very much the international business language. While you can't assume everyone speaks English, many, many people do, particularly at hotels and larger restaurants (or they have an English menu on hand.) We've traveled all over, and there's only been a few times when we had a problem communicating - mostly small restaurants, shops, etc.

    It is nice to have someone hand hold you thru your first trip, as a way to get comfortable. But I'd say use any OYO time to explore, shop, interact a bit with the locals so you can see it's not so hard as it seems. We just got back from an 11 day trip to the Pyrenees and Barcelona. It was fabulous. We had a company do the travel arrangements for the Pyrenees (we hiked from town to town) but then rented a car with friends and drove to Andorra overnight then 4 days in Barcelona all DIY. Super easy and we had a fantastic time. We had no significant problems with language anywhere.
    Thank you! I’m glad to know many places have English menus!
     

    AinsleyLM

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 2, 2013
    I think you will find that language is not as much a barrier as you may fear. My dad did not travel outside North America for the first 50 plus years of his life because he was afraid of the language barrier. Then my husband and I convinced him to come along on a trip to Germany and France. He and my mother have since been on multiple trips to Europe without us; once he got over that initial fear and took his first trip, he hasn't looked back.

    Some of my favorite travel memories actually came out of their being a language barrier. In college, I took a train from Paris to Dresden to visit a friend who was studying there. (I speak French, but no German). A group of German sailors in full regalia approached me and said something to me in German and I responded with the one phrase I had learned ("I do not speak German"). This led to a very dramatic game of charades through which I eventually realized that they wanted me to watch their bags while they went to the cafe.

    10 years later on the Germany/France trip with my parents, my husband decided that his one year of German in high school made him fluent so he declined the English menu at a restaurant we went to. Long story short, he accidentally ordered what can best be described as deep-fried pig fat when he meant to order a green salad.
    So funny!! My language skills include only rudimentary Spanish from high school. Though I would love to speak more. I work with multiple Spanish speaking doctors, so it would come in handy for me to understand more than I do, lol.
     
  • OhanaCuz

    I can finally say that I've been on an ABD.
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2014
    I think ABD is a great choice if you are anxious about international travel. FYI with a river cruise you'd get to go to Austria and several other countries and could do a Prague add-on.
     

    AinsleyLM

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 2, 2013
    I think ABD is a great choice if you are anxious about international travel. FYI with a river cruise you'd get to go to Austria and several other countries and could do a Prague add-on.
    I looked into that. I would love to do it, but the Disney dates aren’t good for us, and I could not take that much time off for the cruise and the Prague add on.
     

    OhanaCuz

    I can finally say that I've been on an ABD.
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2014
    I looked into that. I would love to do it, but the Disney dates aren’t good for us, and I could not take that much time off for the cruise and the Prague add on.
    I feel you on that. That's why we didn't do the Prague add-on.
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    I think ABD is a great choice if you are anxious about international travel. FYI with a river cruise you'd get to go to Austria and several other countries and could do a Prague add-on.
    Unfortunately, they don't offer the Prague add-on any more.

    Sayhello
     
  • AddictedtoTravel

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 29, 2010
    I agree with all who have responded. Not speaking the language isn't really an issue, ABD will take great care of you. Those times when you find yourself in a situation where you don't speak the language and they don't speak English it's amazing how you'll still be able to communicate. Sometimes these make some of the best memories. In regards to the river cruise verses land trips, I prefer the land trips.

    And welcome to the world of international travel! Beware it's addictive and you won't be able to stop :-)
     
    Last edited:

    Woodview

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2013
    As a European who speaks English .... I say go for it .......

    With over 40 + years travelling all over most of Europe I have yet to NOT to find something to eat

    You can always mime the sound of a COW = MOO or Grunt like a Pig Or Crow like a **** /Hen

    It might cause laughter ....... so what ... you might Not see those people ever again
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    As a European who speaks English .... I say go for it .......

    With over 40 + years travelling all over most of Europe I have yet to NOT to find something to eat

    You can always mime the sound of a COW = MOO or Grunt like a Pig Or Crow like a **** /Hen

    It might cause laughter ....... so what ... you might Not see those people ever again
    Yep, go ahead and be rude. You'll never see them again. What strange advice!

    Sayhello
     

    aggiedog

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 13, 2012
    I don't think it's rude, actually. I think it's more like "don't be embarrassed since you won't see them again."

    I did almost this exact thing last week, when a waitress told us the special of the day was "wild board." "Board?" "Yes, wild board" spoken with a definite "d" at the end. So I asked, with flapping hands "a bird?" and then pushed my nose up a bit "or a pig?" She laughed and replied pig. No one was offended, and we corrected her English and spelling, which she appreciated. And then I ordered the boar, which was quite tasty.
     

    OhanaCuz

    I can finally say that I've been on an ABD.
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2014
    Google translate is a good tool. You can actually use the phone camera to translate signs and menus.
    Not only that you can use it without an Internet connection if you download the very small translation files before your trip! I used it to play a message for a food vendor more than once on our cruise.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Daily Updates and News

    Top