5 Things You’ll Need to Travel to Italy

In fact, many people don’t even think of some of the items that they’ll have to bring along.

For example, don’t know Italian? You might be able to get away with speaking another language in Rome or Naples, but if you go to the “heel of the boot,” or Puglia, you’ll want to bring a voice translation app with you.

If you’re planning to travel to Italy, don’t forget to bring along the following items to make your travels more enjoyable:

1. Electric Adapter and Converter

Italy has three main plug types: C, F and L. If you’re from different parts of the world, your plug likely won’t work in Italy. You’ll also find that the voltage is 230V and 50Hz. What does this mean?

You may need both an adapter and a converter.

The adapter will allow you to use your traditional plug in Italy. A converter is even more important because it is responsible for converting the energy from the outlet into the voltage your devices need to run properly.

If you don’t use a converter, chances are, your electronics will completely short out. So, if you have the latest and greatest phone or laptop, you can say “goodbye” to it unless you use a converter.

2. Euros

When you arrive at the airport, you’ll likely need to take a taxi to get to your hotel room. While more businesses are accepting credit cards, there are a lot that do not. Italians don’t like to pay the extra fees for accepting cards.

You’ll want to exchange your currency for a few euros prior to your first steps in Italy.

ATM machines will often take your debit card and allow you to withdraw some of your balance in euros. You’ll want to be sure to notify the bank prior to going to Italy so that they don’t view your withdrawals as suspicious and put a hold on your account.

3. Voice Translation App

Italians speak Italian. You’ll be able to get away with using a tour guide and staying in hotels where the staff speak Italian, but if you explore outside of these areas, you should use a translation app.

Vocre is a translation app that’s available on Google Play and the App Store.

And since you don’t speak Italian, you’ll speak your native language into the app for instant voice translation. The app will say what you said in your native language back in Italian or any of the 59 languages that can be easily translated to using Vocre.

If you see a sign or need help reading a menu, there’s also a text translation option available. You don’t even need an Internet connection with the app’s subscription service.

4. Dress Clothes – Your Best

If you don’t live in Italy, you might assume that you can get by in your day-to-day clothes. You can, but you’ll also look out of place. Whether you’re going out for an aperitivo (drink) or to eat, you’ll find that even in a trattoria (inexpensive restaurant), people dress extremely well.

Be sure to bring a nice pair of dress shoes, pants and a button-down shirt at the very least if you don’t want to look like you rolled out of bed and decided to go out to dinner.

5. Comfortable Shoes

Walking is a part of Italian travel, whether you plan to walk a lot or not. Traditionally, tourists will wake up, grab something to eat and be on their way to visit sights. And with a country filled with history, one historical location seems to meld into another and you’ll find yourself walking a lot.

If you want to explore markets, you’ll be walking again.

Bring a pair of comfortable shoes or sneakers that you won’t mind wearing for hours on end. Trust me, your feet will thank you if you have a good pair of walking shoes with you,

The next time you travel to Italy, follow this list and you’ll have a much better time during your vacation.

How to Learn German Fast

Learning a new language can feel overwhelming. The good news is that there are plenty of resources available to learn pretty much any language (and speak it fluently!). If you need to learn how to speak German for business, travel, or studying, it shouldn’t be too difficult to learn some basic phrases and vocabulary. 

 

Find out how to learn German fast with these tricks and tips for hacking pretty much any language. 

Is Learning German Difficult?

Learning any new language is tricky — and yes, probably difficult. The good news for native English speakers is that German and English are very similar languages, so learning German may be easier for English speakers than it would be for native Spanish or French speakers.

 

You may even recognize some of the most common words used in German, as 80 of the 100-most-used English words are actually German words (or are of German origin)! Many German words sound like commonly used English words, and many words are simply the same.

 

This makes it easier for English speakers to learn German fast. 

Start Slow

We often have a tendency to want to jump into the deep end when learning a new skill. Either we feel super intimidated by learning a new language, or we find ourselves overly excited at first — and overwhelmed after a few lessons.

 

Whenever you’re learning a new skill or language, it’s important to start slow. You’re more likely to become frustrated or burned out if you try to learn too many new vocab words or phrases too soon. You’re also more likely to make mistakes if you move too fast when learning German. 

 

Instead of trying to learn many words at once, chunk your lessons by focusing on one aspect of the vocabulary (words, conjugations, possessives, etc.). 

Schedule Study Times

We’re less likely to actually stick with learning a new skill if we don’t make a detailed plan. Learning German isn’t the most difficult language to learn — especially if you already happen to know English. Yet, you may find yourself struggling to find the time to learn German if you don’t schedule study sessions into your schedule.

 

You may also want to WOOP your study times (wish, outcome, obstacle, plan). Decide what your wish is (I wish to study German for one hour a day). Then, determine what the outcome of that wish looks like (learning German fast). Brainstorm various obstacles that could get in your way (I might not feel like studying, I’ll want to watch TV instead, etc.). Make a plan to study when obstacles arise (I’ll study in the morning in case I’m too tired to study at night). 

Learn Pronunciation First

As English speakers, we’re used to sounding words out. Yet, not all letter combinations are pronounced the same in different languages. 

 

When you learn vocabulary words by sight, you’re more likely to mispronounce them. If you’re someone that learns vocab words through memorization and repetition, there’s a good chance you’ll learn the mispronunciation of German words — and not the correct pronunciations. 

 

Unlearning poor pronunciation can add more time to your German language studies. If you want to learn German fast, you’ll want to learn the correct pronunciations the first time around.

 

The best way to do this is by learning words by sound — not by sight. 

Learn Most Common German Vocab Words

There are hundreds of thousands of words in the German language. Why learn words that you’re going to rarely use? Instead, learn the most common German words first. These words include:

 

Aber: but

Auf: on

Aus: from

Bei: at

Dass: that

Dies: this

Durch: by

Ein: one

Er: he

Für: for

Haben: have

Ich: I

Mit: with

Sein: be

Seine: his

Sie: they

Sind: are

War: was

Wie: as

Wort: word

Once you have learned the most common German words, you can begin using them in short sentences. 

Need to learn new vocab words and pronunciation? We recommend using machine translation software that has an Arabic translation tool and can easily translate text to speech, such as the Vocre app, available on Google Play for Android or the Apple Store for iOS. 

The app over voice input and output, so you can say a sentence in English and hear what it sounds like in German in real-time.

Memorize Cognate Words

Cognate words are words that are easier to learn because they sound more like words in other languages. For example, the phrase, good morning, in German is guten morgen. This phrase sounds very similar to the English phrase, so it should be easier for you to remember.

Use Flashcards

One tried-and-true way to learn vocab is to use flashcards. You can use physical flashcards by writing out vocab words on index cards and their translations on the back. You can download a flashcard app and upload batches of flashcards at once. Some apps even allow you to use voice-activated flashcards, meaning you can speak the word in English and get the German pronunciation at the push of a button. 

Study Sentence Structure

You can memorize how to say different sentences in German — or, you can learn basic German sentence structure and start learning German even faster!

 

The good news for native English speakers is that German sentence structure is pretty much the same as the structure for sentences in English. German follows a subject, verb, other (SVO) sentence structure.

 

Where German and English sentence structure differs is time, manner, and place. Instead of saying “I’m going to the store today,” you’d say, “I’m going today to the store.” 

Take an Online Class

Self-paced learning will only take you so far. Even if you think you’ve crushed all your self-guided vocab quizzes, you may want to enhance your language skills by taking an online class.

 

Online classes can help you find a German/English language community and practice your language skills with other students. You’ll also see how others are progressing, making it easier to realize that everyone makes mistakes.

 

Your teacher can also provide valuable feedback for you (something you can’t get if you’re learning solo). 

 

Many online language classes encourage students to share resources, meet after class, and encourage each other throughout the learning process. 

Join an Exchange Program

Once you have a basic understanding of the German language (including basic vocab words and sentence structure), you might want to test your knowledge in the real world. There are thousands of language exchange groups for people who want to learn both German and English.

 

These groups meet both in-person and online. Some groups pair you with a partner while others simply encourage group talk. Usually, you’re paired with a partner that has a better understanding of English than you do German. 

 

Language exchanges will help you get real-time feedback and learn how to use German idioms and figures of speech — fast. 

Download a Language Translation App

If you need some help learning vocab and pronunciation in between sessions with your language exchange partner, you’ll want to download a language translation app. These apps will help you look up vocab words and translate English sentences into German ones.

 

Apps like Vocre will allow you to speak a sentence in English and get voice output in German. This will help you understand sentence structure and correct pronunciation. You can also check your translations for accuracy, no real-life partner needed. 

Immerse Yourself in the German Language

When you’re ready to level up, you’ll want to immerse yourself in the German language! The best way to learn German is to immerse yourself in it. It will feel a little scary and uncomfortable at first, but the extra effort will be worth the discomfort. 

Visit a German Restaurant

One easier way to immerse yourself in German is to visit an authentic German restaurant. If you don’t live in a city or town with a German enclave, you may simply want to find a small slice of Germany. 

 

Order your meal in German, and try to hold a conversation with the waiter, bartender, or owner. Most German restaurants are used to language students trying out their newfound vocab words, so they’re more likely to be a little gentle with any of your mistakes. 

Read German Newspapers

If you want to beef up your German vocabulary, you may want to try reading books in German or German newspapers. If you’re worried that you’ll be lost in a sea of vocab words, you might want to start by reading a book you’re familiar with — just in German.

 

Children’s books like Grimm’s Fairy Tales or Pippi Longstocking all have recognizable plots and are available in German.  

Watch Movies in German

One of the most rewarding and fun ways to learn German is to watch German-language movies or TV shows — or, simply watch your favorite TV shows dubbed in German.

 

Some popular German movies include:

 

  • Good Bye Lenin
  • Das Experiment
  • Run Lola Run
  • The Baader Meinhof Complex 
  • A Coffee in Berlin

 

You can usually find these movies on Netflix or to rent on Amazon Prime. German-language movies are the best to watch when learning the language because these actors speak as true Germans speak (while sometimes these nuances can get lost in dubbed movies and TV shows).

Learn About German Culture

When you get excited about culture, it’s easier to conjure excitement about the language associated with the culture. 

 

Take a class on German history, watch travel and culture TV shows about Germany, and try making a few classic German dishes for dinner once a week. If you can find authentic German ingredients, you may find yourself reading condiment bottles and learning random vocab words while you eat!

Go to Germany

Possibly one of the best ways to learn German fast is to simply immerse yourself in the culture by visiting Germany. While this is a sure-fire way to learn the language relatively quickly, it’s also not always possible to up-end your life and move to another continent (especially during a pandemic!).

 

Yet, if you are able to make a big move right now, you may want to head to the Country of Poets and Thinkers for a few months.

 

While most Germans (especially the ones living in big cities) know English, you’ll want to avoid speaking English as much as possible. Tell your flatmates and friends to try not to speak to you in English. It’s tempting to want to switch back to your native language, so you’ll want to put yourself in situations where you’re less likely to do this.

Be Kind to Yourself

Learning a language isn’t an easy feat. You’re bound to come up against obstacles or feel embarrassed by mistakes from time to time. 

 

It’s important to remember to be kind to yourself as you’re learning German. Practicing self-kindness will help you become more resilient — and being kind to yourself will make it easier to dust yourself off and keep going. 

Practice Self-Compassion

People that practice self-compassion have more resilience than those that don’t! Self-compassion simply means that you’re able to sit with uncomfortable feelings and accept these feelings. 

 

Simply making statements like, “This is hard,” “I feel silly,” or, “it feels like I never get this stuff right,” can help you acknowledge your negative feelings before letting them go. Studies show that people that do this one act of self-compassion are more likely to succeed on future tests and retain information more accurately. 

Make Learning German Fun

If you’re having fun, you’re more likely to keep going! Try to make your studies as fun as possible. Celebrate German holidays, buy a dirndl or lederhosen online, listen to German music, and make friends from Germany.

Don’t Give Up!

It’s easy to want to give up when learning a new language. You’re going to feel awkward, confused, and uncomfortable — a lot! 

 

Yet, you may need to try to learn words, sentence structure, and phrases over and over again. The biggest difference between those that learn a language and those that give up is perseverance (not talent or natural ability).

 

German might be easier to learn for most English speakers than romance languages, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to learn German fast.

 

Stick with it, try a few of the above tips, and you’ll be speaking German and communicating with other cultures in no time!

Surprising Resources to Help You Learn a New Language

Unless you know how to learn a new language, you can spend years just covering the basics and never reaching any level of fluency.

You have to find methods that work for you using a variety of media and resources. Why? Let’s assume that you use a textbook to learn grammar, how to greet people and vocabulary. You’ll have a “decent” foundation, but wait until someone speaks to you.

You’ll need to understand:

  • Rapid speakers
  • Different dialects
  • Pronunciation differences

In fact, it’s recommended that you mix in reading, writing, listening and speaking to truly learn a language. You may be able to get by with a phrase book when going to the airport, but that’s not learning the language.

How to Learn a New Language and Actually Have Fun

There are a lot of resources that you can use to learn a language – a lot of free resources. Whether you’re taking a class to learn a language or are diving in on your own, the following surprise resources will be invaluable:

Movies (Netflix)

Netflix has a wealth of foreign language movies that you can watch with closed caption in your own language. Watching the entire movie is often too difficult for new learners, so you’ll want to:

  • Start small and watch either small clips or chunks of the movie.
  • Try and translate these sections.
  • Listen to the audio closely.
  • Repeat after what you’re hearing to improve your pronunciation.

iTunes Trailers has a great selection of trailers that you can watch for international movies. If you have a favorite movie that you like to watch, that’s a great movie to start with. When watching, use a site like Simply Scripts so that you can read along and really absorb the content.

When you come across words or phrases that you don’t know, add them to your Anki or Memrise list.

Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a lot of fun, and you can listen to them anywhere: car, train, bus, walking around the city – anywhere. You can buy audiobooks off Audible, or you also have the option of using your local library.

Many libraries now have digital options, such as OverDrive, which allow you to download eBooks and audiobooks that the library owns.

A few additional resources for audiobooks are:

You can use the same tips with audiobooks as you do movies to learn more efficiently. If you’re struggling, purchase a physical copy of the book so that you can follow along.

Podcasts

There are so many great podcasts, some free and some paid, that can help you learn your language of choice. Coffee Break is one of my personal favorites and includes:

There’s also LanguagePod101 and News in Slow among many others. You’ll want to search on your phone, tablet or other device for podcasts that are most interesting to you. It’s important to get as much exposure to the language as possible, so try a few podcasts to find the ones you like or that interest you.

YouTube

There’s a good chance that you already watch YouTube for entertainment or educational purposes. YouTube is also international, allowing you to subscribe to channels and watch videos in your target language.

A few tips to use YouTube properly are:

  • Try and find channels that include film archives.
  • Find live streaming news channels.
  • Search for language learning channels in your target language.
  • Visit TED and TEDx channels and look for videos in various languages.

TED has channels in many languages, so take the time to see if there’s one in your target language available.

Music

Music is one of the most important ways to connect with a language. While some music genres are harder than others to understand, it’s possible to find great music in your target language. I recommend trying to avoid fast-paced songs, such as rap music, because they’re often too quick for beginners to understand.

Slang may also be heavily present in a lot of songs across multiple genres, so it will help you learn the language on a deeper level.

You can find songs on:

Now, you can find songs that you like and use a site like Lyrics Translate to view the original song and the translation side-by-side.

Slowly, learn the songs’ vocabulary, learn chunks of the song and you’ll eventually be able to sing along while understanding every verse in the process.

Now that you know how to learn a new language, spend time every day trying to learn the language. Small, consistent learning sessions are always better than long sessions once every few months.




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