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I will be traveling around several countries (in southeastern europe) later this year. And I'm worried about the language barrier.

It occured to me, that it would be cool if I had a collection of cards/photos/pages, one for each thing a tourist might need to ask for (e.g. hotel, campsite, petrol, restaurant, café, bank, etc.), and each page/card would have various photos/icons for that thing, and/or the translation of that thing into various languages written on it. This way, if you want to ask where a petrol station is, you could show someone the card that would have lots of photos of petrol stations, and immediately avoid the language barrier.

2 years ago while traveling around Basque Country, Spain, it took several minutes to try to communicate with an elderly local man that we wanted a campsite. Once he figured out that's what we wanted, he was able to point us down the road. A picture of a campsite/tent might have speeded things up a lot.

This sort of thing could be easy to make myself, but has anyone made it already? It would be easier than having to reinvent the wheel.

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    There are things called dictionary and phrase book and they are all you need. Also, you can definitely use English for getting around. – rlesko Jun 29 '12 at 11:23
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    I want something easier and quicker than a dictionary. Also I plan to go to several countries and do not want to carry several dictionaries, nor try to figure out what language someone speaks. – Rory Jun 29 '12 at 11:38
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Is this what you are looking for? Point it: Traveller's Language Kit - The Original Picture Dictionary (Amazon link)

There are a couple of other publications that offer the same thing, but this is the one I've seen most frequently.

  • +1 this. It's not my cup of tea - I prefer the language charades interaction style (bonus points for noises), but I've seen several people with this and they recommended it. – Mark Mayo Jun 30 '12 at 1:58
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    I agree, @MarkMayo - but some people find these incredibly useful. I actually think that the language barrier can be a great part of travel -- although, if you're in a rush for the WC, playing a long-form game of charades may not be what you're looking for. ;) – AndrewMarconi Jun 30 '12 at 3:20
  • That's why I upvoted it :) – Mark Mayo Jun 30 '12 at 3:31

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