IMHO, a visitor to another country that speaks another language than what you speak, should at LEAST learn some basic phrases.
I was kind of scared going to France, because I knew how to say nothing in French other than "Is the cat a flower?" "No, the cat is a domestic animal." Not very helpful in regular everyday discussions.
So I bought one of those cd's with a booklet to help teach me the basics about 2 months before I left. I didn't think I was learning anything from it, until I got there and it's amazing what the mind retains.
What I would do is, I would ask a person, like a waiter or clerk in a store (in French) if they spoke English. 99% of the time they would say "a little bit" and would actually end up speaking English very well.
I would always say the usual quotes, like bon jour, merci, all those. In fact by a few days in it was like old hat!
So if you go, don't be afraid. Really, it's not that bad!