When Andrew from 30 Words first contacted us for a review of their unique language guides, he was insistent on one thing: I had to attempt to ruin the review models he sent by trying to tear them, spill water on them and, most importantly, do a pull-up off one of them. Game on! His passion for his product was warranted: these little guides really are that strong.
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First impressions mean a lot to this reviewer. If the product packaging is done just right – an indication that someone actually put some thought into how they were going to deliver their product – that goes a long way. If the construction and fit and finish are initially good, that’s typically a sign that the interior of the product is good as well.
In 30 Words’ … er … own words:
Our own travels confirmed an important idea: even a limited vocabulary greatly enhances your travel experience. While mastering a language may take years, anyone can start speaking a new language in a day – and 30 WORDS Language Guides will help you achieve this goal!
30 WORDS creates specialized, customizable language guides. 30 WORDS’ passport-sized guides are waterproof and tear-proof, and slide easily into any pocket. With over 800 key words and phrases, 30 WORDS Language Guides’ focused and accesible content makes finding the right words easy!
So how does 30 Words’ sales pitch stack up against the reality of these little guides? Pretty darn well actually.
As far as language guides go, they’re virtually indestructible: waterproof and almost entirely tearproof. The former I verified by inadvertently spilling an entire cup of OJ on my tray table mid-flight. The guides wiped off clean and easy.
As for the latter, Andrew wasn’t screwing around about the pull-up business. “You can try doing a pull-up on it too! As long as the guide is placed over a rounded surface (eg. a tree branch) you can get a good workout in with a 30 Words!”, was his dare. I did and damn these things are tough.
30 Words aren’t intended to be a crash course in full language comprehension. Rather, they take a minimalist (“gimme only what I need!”) approach that’s essential to travelers. Phrases and sentence structures are divided into easily accessible, color coded sections (Meeting People, Food & Drinks, Emergency, etc.). After a quick five minute study to familiarize myself with the layout, I was ready to dive into a conversation with a local Italian about my urgent bathroom needs. Or alert the waitress to my fish allergies (Sono allergic ai molluschi!, for those keeping score at home).
One thing that sets 30 Words’ guides apart from traditional book-style language guides is their unique layout. With a smart, accordion design, they’re easily expandable and collapsible at a moment’s notice.
The last page is half-blank and lined, allowing you to jot down your own personal language notes (or mobile numbers from new friends or potential local suitors).
Lastly, a protective sleeve is provided to neatly pack everything away.
One last bit of awesomeness is the ability to customize your own guide online:
30 Words hosts an online platform called MY 30 that enables travelers to add personalized content to their guides. MY 30 presents content organized by activity, from museum tours and hitch hiking, to dancing and dating.
You can try it before you buy it. Check out 30 Words’ online demo for a complete look at how it all works.
Available now at 30Words.com for just $8.95 each.
Multiple languages include: Spanish (European Spanish or South & Central American Spanish), Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and French.
Truth be told, I’m not the kind of traveler to typically throw a phrasebook in my pack. But 30 Words’ ultra minimalist approach is too smart and well thought-out to leave it at home. At less than $9 each, they’re almost an impulse buy that you can’t pass up.