How to communicate while traveling, from phrase sheets and overcoming the language barrier to Internet cafes, renting and using cellphones abroad, and how to find WiFi hotspots
How will you reach out and touch your loved ones, friends, and co-workers while you're on vacation? (Well, you can't reach out and touch the co-workers; they have rules against that.)
Mail, e-mail, WiFi, Skype, and the Internet - Calling abroad, and contacting home from the road
But when it comes to contacting folks from the road, it all depends on your preference and your funding. Cellphone rentals make phoning the States easy, but they're not cheap (good old pay phones and calling cards are another option, as is Skyping).
The Internet explosion means home is just a mouse click away in a cybercafe or, increasingly, at a kiosk or spare PC at your hotel's front desk or from a WiFi hotspot. Some people prefer dashing off the old "Wish you were here!" postcard, and others practice the dying art of letter writing.
This section will take you through the basics of them all.
Talking in tongues - Dealing with foreign languages
First, let's tackle that myth known as the "language barrier." This page gives you a few simple keys to unlocking any foreign language and getting your message across no matter what the circumstance or local dialect,
Moving on from there, we can expand our skill (or at least our ability to communicate) in a foreign language with:
- Traditional phrase books
- Digital translators
- Translator apps
- Online translators
- Language learning programs
- Cheat sheet of essential phrases in five European languages
Also, there's a guide to which gestures are appropriate in which countries at which times, and which just might get you a punch in the jaw.
Oh, and since it doesn't really fit anywhere else, here's where you'll find a handy-dandy guide to converting between the Metric System and the various American measurements.