**1. Hello. It may be obvious, but this simple word begins conversations, thus opening doors for you in another culture. Even if this is the only word you can master in another language, it will prove to be well worth it. Learn how to say “hello” to show natives that you are making an effort.
**2. Thank you. Use this phrase with every other breath. Okay, that may be an exaggeration… but in traveling we have a lot to be thankful for. Simple acts of serving you food, handing you a map, or pointing you in the right direction are really small ways that natives welcome you into their culture. The more thankful we are, the more they will share.
**3. I’m sorry. A little bit of humility can go a long way. As a tourist, writer, or photographer, you will most likely be in the way without even being aware of it. This is a good phrase to have in your language tool box, as a sign of respect. (Also consider “excuse me.”)
**4. Beautiful. The first three are important for daily exchanges, but learning the word “beautiful” can change your trip. I once walked into a small, empty art gallery in Seoul, pointed to a colorful painting, and said, “beautiful” in Korean.
The gallery owner was taken aback and started to ask questions in Korean. I shook my head and said the only Korean I know, “Hello. Thank you. I’m sorry.” And then motioned to all the paintings and said, “beautiful,” one more time.
Two hours later I returned to my hotel having been given a tour of a number of art galleries in the neighborhood — and I met the artist and was given a small print of the first painting I pointed to. You’ll find beauty in every destination. Show your appreciation by vocalizing it.
Bonus Tip: The word “beautiful” in the local language can help if you want to photograph someone there, too.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]