One of the main advantages of being able to speak the native tongue can have many advantages for any traveler heading overseas. For those who prefer to travel solo, I think it's a must to have even a basic grasp of the language, as at times traveling alone can present some challenges to say the least.
The primary benefit of having a few phrases or a combination of words available to you in the native tongue is that you will be able to converse with the locals. This may not be such of an issue in tourist hot spots and places that have a large expat community however outside of those areas, it can be of major benefit.
Being able to have a conversation, even if it is a broken conversation, will make any trip more enjoyable, mutually beneficial and hopefully a little less stressful.
It wasn't that long ago that if you wanted to learn a new language, you would be required to front up to night classes with a group of strangers, or order a series of cassette tapes or books. How times have changed. There are a number of online language learning methods now available to all, together with a range of apps downloaded from the apple or google play store - some of which are free, others requiring payment.
Babbel is one product available in the language learning market that can fill the void for anyone looking to learn a language. While it isn’t free - courses run from $7.45 to $12.95 a month, it represents a cheaper alternative to many other products on the market.
Babbel offers the following languages:
Babbel’s lessons initially focus on building basic conversational skills. For a language learner who may be more interested in speaking rather than reading, Babbel works well. Babbel will also occasionally set off on immersive lessons by explaining the relevant grammatical concepts associated with the language.
Babbel’s interface is slick with just a few bugs here and there, and it can be difficult to repeat slides or audio recordings without going through an entire lesson twice which for some, may not be a bad thing.
Babbel apps are available for each language and they work without an internet connection which can be considered a plus, making it perfect to use when reviewing vocabulary.
Babbel's real focus is on the emphasis of speech rather than reading a new language. The wide selection of languages and its modest price make it competitive with both the free Duolingo and the sophisticated but expensive Rosetta Stone language programs.