Top 5 most useful languages to learn if you are a traveler

There are about 10 major languages spoken by atleast a 100 million people around the world. Learning other languages help you to to better understand different cultures and life experiences. As they say the best way to connect with anyone is to speak to their heart.

Now it is not required that you learn all of these 10 languages but if you know a few ones you can cover most of your travel experiences in the world. Thanks to the conquest and expansion of British, Spanish and French empires many of the conquered populations were subjected to learning the colonizer’s language. This helped to make English, Spanish and French the dominant languages in many countries around the world. The world population is about 7.5 billion people. The top 10 languages covers nearly 5 Billion people (2/3rd) of the total population in the world. Luckily some of the colonized countries like India, Malaysia, Egypt and African countries still have English and French speakers. So for instance even if you don’t speak Hindi (official language of India) or Malaysian you can get around by just knowing English.

Russian is the 8th most spoken language however the coverage of Russian language is huge. As the former Soviet republic included many countries that are now independent states such as Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakstan etc, Russian is still the majority spoken language in these countries. So if you know Russian you can pretty much travel around the former Soviet Republic with such ease.


So with this as a backdrop, the top 5 useful languages that I recommend to learn if you are a Digital Nomad or a constant traveler:

  1. English – 1.132 billion total speakers – There is no language that has the best coverage that English. Most directions, information were all written in English in almost every country I’ve traveled.
  2. Spanish – 534 million total speakers – If you know English, Spanish is very easy to learn. Thanks to Spain’s conquest of Central and South America, Spanish is the most spoken languages in this continent. Most of the local population do not speak English so knowing Spanish would be a strength for travelers.
  3. Russian – 258 million total speakers – As I mentioned Russian is spoken in most former Soviet republic countries. Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Baltic countries, Belarus, Kazakstan and Kyrgryzstan.
  4. Mandarin Chinese – 1.117 billion total speakers – I mentioned Chinese because Chinese is also spoken in China but also in other countries like Taiwan and Singapore. Also if you travel to China you will notice most locals don’t speak English.
  5. French – 280 million total speakers – Believe it or not French is spoken in 13 countries like France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Central and Western Africa and Madagascar.

If I missed something please leave your favorite useful language to learn in the comment section.

Thank you / Gracias / Merci / Spaceeba / Xiexie for reading the article.