Do I need to speak French or German on the continent?
This might depend upon where you are going. In most major metropolis’ many people – although not all – will likely speak some English. Away from major towns and cities English will likely be less common.
Away from France and Germany you will find that people will normally speak one of English, French or German in addition to their native language in the larger towns. For example many Belgians will speak French, and many Dutch will speak German.
It would always be advisable to carry a small phrase book for the country you are going to with useful vocabulary such as how to get directions, order food and drink and book hotel rooms.
We have a Country Guides section with info and advice on local customs for top European destinations.