Uncle haiko's method of learning a new language:
Before you go:
- learn the numbers,
- thank you,
- how much is.... ,
- where is the toilet,
- Where is....
- How to say this in <insert language of country> ?
In the new country:
1) spend 3 days: make a list of all the things you would like to say but can't
things I found I had to learn:
- "the bill please"
- "the menu please"
- "No ice. no sugar.... "
3) carry summary in pocket, - one A4 sheet of paper.
have fun. Enjoy, laugh, practice, ask for help...
The principle is: you only remember and learn what you need and use.
Lonely planet phrasebook, or any small phrasebook is useful.
I don't go for formal courses or lots of phrases.