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Hosting Guests of a Different Nationality - Advice Re: Language Barriers

Hello and Good Day Everyone!

Our place attracts mostly Americans and French Canadians (most of whom speak some English). We just got an Instant Book for an older French (from France) couple, so this will be a first for us. We appear to be their first Airbnb experience, and they appear to not speak much English at all.

After reading this forum for a few weeks now, I’m concerned about this combination - Older couple (mid to late 60’s), language barrier, different European customs.

Any advice that anyone has as far as what we can do to make sure these guests feel very welcomed and comfortable would be really appreciated. Thanks!

French people tend to be lovely and their culture isn’t terribly different in basic ways. The best thing to do regarding the language is to get an app for your phone. There are loads of translation apps that overcome the language barrier.

When I have French guests, the only differences I made in the apartment is the food supplies. I leave them croissants from the French bakery for their first breakfast and leave the bakery’s menu in the apartment. I supply Perrier instead of Zephyrhills and proper cheese rather than American :slight_smile:

Although most guests from Europe want to ‘live like a local’ and experience American life, I really don’t want them to think that we all eat Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts :wink:


That’s funny about food choices. Before we started hosting we believed that Americans had horrible diets compared to the rest of the world. Our first guests were a French couple. They bought (and ate) Snickers ice cream (which I didn’t even know existed), Cheetos (both baked and fried), grocery store deli fried chicken, etc. We had Taiwanese guests who lived on soda pop and instant ramen noodles. We had a Dutch guest who told us that a typical breakfast in the Netherlands is white bread with butter and chocolate sprinkles.


We’ve had this happen, and it’s not as much fun, but not a problem. And if you don’t have an ap, just use google translate. It’s not perfect, but will get the message across.

And don’t believe that ‘older guests’ = ‘bad guests’. You just never know until they check-out. Don’t get to worried! But of course, since you are concerned, if it goes well you will be doubly happy!!

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C’est vrai! Lol …

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You can also wave your arms a lot and speak louder! Ha ha, or buy Rosetta Stone it actually works. A few words go a long way, I speak 5 but I don’t speak Portuguese so I learned obrigado!


The Google Translate app is fantastic, I teach students that mainly speak Spanish as their first language, and we use it all day long to clarify and communicate… also recently had a non-English speaking guest from China and we used it to talk to each other. You can speak, type, or finger-write in English and it will translate, and they can either read it or have it spoken to them from the phone.

Thank you all for the advice. I have the Google Translate app on my phone now, and I’m looking forward to meeting my French guests this afternoon!


Bonne chance! :tokyo_tower::tokyo_tower::tokyo_tower::tokyo_tower::tokyo_tower::tokyo_tower:

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I like French guests the best! Somehow I have them more then another nationalities. My husband is French and after 1 glass of wine with French guests, usually he is singing French songs.
When I take my guest to an Amish farm, they like that I have Joe Dassin CD in my car and very surprised that I know him.


@Marina - do you mention that in your listing? ; ) If my husband and I come visit you, will he sing for us even though we are not French? :slight_smile: We are far removed from our European roots - mostly Irish, German, Scotch, English, Welsh, Dutch - then on my father’s side I’m more spread out across the continent.

I do enjoy my French guests, but I’d have to say, overall, I give Germans the highest marks, as well as Dutch. Not that I don’t love all my guests :wink: My German guests are more likely to bring gifts - today we got SIX sizeable bags of German candy and a bag of salt since their town is known for their salt. But this is just a generalization, of course!


dcmooney, Hi!
No, I did not mention it in my listing. My husband was born here, in the states, but his Grand parents are French and he speaks some French.
If you come, he might sing in French, 2 glasses of wine and he might agree :slight_smile:
I have never had Germans or Dutch at my place. But 4 French so far :slight_smile:
Right now in our forest so many cicadas are singing, that sounds very interesting!

Get yourself one of these.

Or have a couple ready to loan your guests! I’m not sure this one has a pic of a croissant, though. :slight_smile:


I adore listening to the Cicadas!!! I open our windows any time the heat and humidity lowers enough to make it possible.

I think you may find that your guests speak enough English for basic communication. I speak French, but my husband can’t say much beyond bonjour and merci, but he doesn’t have much trouble communicating with them when I’m not here … often the French, particularly older ones, say that they don’t speak English because they’re actually embarassed that they’re not very good at it.

If you’re searching for an individual word rather than a full translation the Word Reference app is much better than Google translate.

Almost all our guests this year have been either French or Dutch - nearly all really open and friendly. And very tidy - I always have to dissuade Madame from spending all her last day cleaning the apartment!

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