I am an international traveler. I have visited some 22 different countries, and I can verify that there are just three phrases that the average person will need to get by in a foreign environment. The rest of your communication can be achieved by the "charades" method, or by the simple point-and-nod method.
These are the essential phrases that you need to know when you go to:
- Germany: Ein bier bitte. Danke. Wo ist die Toilette?
- Italy: Una birra, per favore. Grazie. Dov'è il bagno?
- France: Une bière se il vous plaît. Merci. Où sont les toilettes?
- Spain & Latin America: Una cerveza por favor. Gracias. ¿Dónde está el baño?
- Kenya: Bia moja tafadhali. Asante. Ambapo ni choo?
- Vietnam: Xin cho một ly bia. Cảm ơn bạn. Nơi là nhà vệ sinh?
- Czech Republic: Jedno pivo, prosím. Děkuji. Kde jezáchod?
- Union of South Africa: 'N bier asseblief. Baie dankie. Waar is die toilet?
- Hungary: Egy sört kérek. Köszönöm. Hol van a WC?
- Amsterdam: Een biertje neem. Dankjewel. Waar is het toilet?
- Turkey: Bir bira lütfen. Teşekkür ederim. Tuvalet nerede?
- Poland: Jedno piwo proszę. Dziękuję. Gdzie jest toaleta ?
- United States, Britain, Australia, etc: One beer please. Thank you. Where is the toilet?
Once you interact with the locals in their own language, you create an aura of good will surrounding you, and then you'll be able to request anything else you want just by pointing at it on the menu. You will find that most all of the native speakers do pretty much all speak a variety of English, and they will be glad to help you. Once you have shown them that modicum of respect by at least trying to speak their language.
Naturally it's a good idea to arm yourself with a Berlitz Phrasebook of the country you are going to, and then you will have very little difficulty at all.
If everyone did this, traveling abroad as an American would be a great pleasure. What are you waiting for? Grab that passport and take off! Make your getaway!