Best Language Learning Apps for Travelers in 2022

Learning to speak with locals is the most important thing for me when traveling, so finding the best language learning apps before traveling to a country has become increasingly important over the years.

I bet traveling the world years ago when English wasn’t such a common language made travel a lot more exciting, unfortunately nowadays we seem to have gotten a bit lazy. If people don’t understand, they will often try to say it louder and slower, and give a few hand signals, in the hope that helps. However, learning a few basics is relatively easy these days with so many free language apps to help you out.

Traveling through Dieng in Indonesia where no one spoke English to me for much of the trip was a challenge. I was able to get by with my basics in Indonesia, but as the traveler in me grew, my desire to study other languages ​​grew. Luckily, there are loads of awesome language apps out there to help us out these days – keep scrolling to see my top favorite language learning apps.

Also, you might want to check out my recent article on learning Spanish online which will give you some additional ideas on resources for learning any language.

Google Translate

iPhone | android

Ok, so this might not teach you directly, but it’s definitely my personal language app when traveling because of how helpful it is. If I see words I don’t understand but want to learn, it’s as simple as pointing the camera at the text and getting a translation.

You don’t know what’s on the menu, use your phone’s camera to translate it. Need to get a phrase across to a local you really don’t know. Let him speak out loud for you. Literally the best language app to help communicate in any situation.

Lingopy

Desktop Website | iPhone | android

We all learn languages ​​(and indeed, anything) in different styles – and if for some of us that might be studying a written language course or learning by speaking , for others, a more visual approach is preferred. So, let me introduce you to perhaps the coolest (but surprisingly effective) option on this list: sit down and watch TV!

No really, stick with me here, because it’s such a simple yet smart solution to combine learning a language with something fun and already fitting into our free time. Lingopie not only brings subtitles to thousands of hours of TV shows and movies, but the subtitles are clickable so you can pause the show and learn the meaning of any new word while you watch – you will also learn the pronunciation of the program’s audio track. At the end of each episode, you can review the words you clicked on to recap what you just learned.

This is particularly useful for increasing your word knowledge, which can be useful whether you are a beginner looking to learn new words or more advanced with an understanding of grammar but just want to expand your vocabulary. With nine different languages ​​to choose from – Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and English – it’s a beneficial app for those who want to travel or live in a country that speaks one of these languages . Try the free trial, and if you like it, you can continue with the annual subscription which costs around €6 per month, much cheaper than Netflix!

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Drops

iPhone | android

It seems like I go through phases with different language apps, going in and out on trips, but now having moved to Portugal I use language apps not only for a short trip but to support me in learning a whole new language, Portuguese, and it’s one of my top favorite language learning apps.

Drops is a relatively new language app, and my favorite thing about it is the different mediums it supports for learning words. You get both written and audio words, but also visual graphics to help support learning, which is great if, like me, you’re more of a visual learner. You also have full control over which words you go through this process with, so if you’re already comfortable with certain words, you can check them off and they won’t appear in the lesson format.

I’m using the paid premium version of Drops because I’m quite determined to learn Portuguese, and so far it seems worth the investment. I’m definitely learning full sentences rather than just words which is great, and hopefully this will have established enough of a foundation when I start my in-person language lessons that I can get into a higher level. Lessons can be digested in as little as five minutes, and another thing I love about Drops is their commitment to lesser-known languages ​​and the preservation of traditional and regional dialects as they develop.

Duolingo

iPhone | android

I’ve been addicted to this app for a long time, and it’s no surprise that it won “Apple iPhone App of the Year”.

Why so good? I like that it feels more like a course in the palm of your hand than a list of confusing words. It uses repetition and review to make sure you got it and mixes audio learning with visual prompts. As someone with dyslexia and a visual sequencing problem, I find all of these blended learning methods really helpful.

You won’t be fluent here, but you’ll have more than enough to get by. They also have a fairly wide range of languages. For Spanish in particular, this is one of the best language learning apps because it offers a very comprehensive course.

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discuss

iPhone | android

Another Apples app winner and offering lessons in a host of languages, Babbel is pretty straightforward to get started. There is however an auto renewing subscription for language lessons which if you really want to study the language is great but just to grab the basics for a quick weekend getaway it might not be worth the investment.

I like that it transitions from phone to web, so you can start and finish modules on either. It’s well-structured and the lessons are quite in-depth, but given the monthly cost once you’ve learned the basics of another app, it might be better to invest that money in Skype lessons with a local.

HiNative

iPhone | android

HiNative is only available as an app through Apple, but Android and desktop users can access it online (UPDATE: As of February 2016, an Android version is now available!). It’s very different from your usual reading, listening and learning approach, but I love how interactive it is because you’re conversing with native speakers most of the time.

The bonus for me from this app is that I’m terrible at pronunciation, besides asking how to say certain things, you can record your voice to get feedback on whether what you’re saying sounds like the real deal. Hello, no more awkward moments in stores talking about complete gibberish, you can keep blushing behind the phone screen!

I also like that you can interact with the natives about their culture or anything to get straight answers before you arrive.

There are subscription fees for premium access and the downside is that only those who paid for it can listen to your voice recordings, so you’re dependent on someone! Definitely one of the best language learning apps if you want to engage in real conversation.

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Busu

iPhone | android

Busuu only offers nine mostly European languages, and again, it charges a subscription beyond the basics. Personally, I’ve never really gotten into it, but I know some friends who have really excelled using it, so I didn’t feel right to leave it off the list. It includes your typical features as well as HiNative’s native interaction element – Again, used briefly, but maybe this will be the one for you?

Lingoda – For real online language lessons

Sign up here for a 7 day free trial

For a more traditional way of learning languages ​​online, Lingoda is an online language school marketplace that acts as an alternative to in-person language schools. While, for me, the experience of learning with a teacher in a classroom cannot be rivaled by an online course, I found the few lessons I did with Lingoda to be very good, and the platform is one of the best options for learning Spanish online.

Although it’s not that cheap, given that you have an online teacher, it’s a great option for people who may not have a language school near them. You can opt for group or private lessons, and it works on a credit system – the more credits you buy in bulk, the cheaper the lessons become.

What I really liked about the platform and the teachers is the flexibility. It’s divided into formal levels such as A1, A2, etc., and there are plenty of identical courses to choose from on different days and times, so you’re not locked into a specific course slot. as you might be with a language school. , so you have more control. I also liked how the teacher provided the written notes and annotated lectures for each lesson afterwards as a PDF download, so you can keep a copy of what you learn and work on.

You can take advantage of free group or individual lessons during the trial, so it’s worth trying Lingoda to see if it will help you learn Spanish online. In addition to the paid courses, the material resources and learning programs of the classroom itself are freely accessible at any time. You can start with a free trial here.

My favorite method? It’s shameful to watch english movies abroad and learn subtitles which usually leads to comedy soap operas and knowing every word in a foreign catchy shit advertisement with no idea what they’re about talk. Can one be more cultured than that?

And you? Any jargon learning apps I missed?

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