Gone are the days when tourists wander around clutching guidebooks with an index of handy phrases. Today there are more convenient ways to facilitate communication. This is not a comprehensive list of the copious digital language tools available; rather, these are two go-to options I'm using right now. Consider it a cheat sheet for when you touch down in a city and are at a loss for words.
One of the easiest (and cheapest) things to do is download one of Bravolol's phrase book apps, available in more than a dozen languages including CChinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Russian and Arabic. Each app comes with several free categories of useful phrases and essential words such as "greetings" (with remarks like "Good morning"); "shopping" ("May I try it on?" as well as words for different kinds of clothing); "eating" ("I'd like a table in a nonsmoking area" along with words for types of food); and "emergency" ("Call the police").