I am fortunate in growing up in a multi-lingual home, eventually being fluent in the three used at home and learning a few others in the military. Traveling in Europe taught that everyone one earth would rather hear their own language than try to communicate in one not their own. Butcher it, botch it--no matter. You will be treated much better if you can utter a few basics rather than try to get them to understand English. Even if you have your phrase book in your hand while you are attempting to say shchyareya, you can point to the word and everyone will get a good chuckle and then the help comes.
The other rider's idea of making up pictograms should have been put in the "things I don't leave home without", though. Great idea and I am glad I thought of it. Will go get some blank cards, make some and seal them up with Old Woman's plastic grocery bag sealer. Wonderful idea. Thanks much. Picture of a gas station or a hospital, hotel, whatever, instantly gets the need across without words. damn why didn't I think of that so I could patent it and make a fortune selling it to long distance riders and other tourists.