As I mentioned in this post, I’m going to start putting out more posts about languages and travel. The first language I will cover is…Spanish! If you’ve read my posts about Spain, you’ll know that I studied abroad there and speak it at about an intermediate (B2) level. I love this language, and seeing it’s popularity, I am glad that I spent time learning it. As there are many countries around the world where Spanish is the primary language, it is pretty likely that you’ll hit one of these countries on your travels. This post will cover the basics of Spanish phrases for travel, which you can use as your pocket guide while traveling!
General Information on Spanish
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, after Mandarin! There are 442 million speakers of Spanish around the globe, and it is the official languages of 21 countries across Europe, Africa, and the Americas. It is a Romance language, meaning it comes from Latin. That means that learning Spanish will certainly help you with learning the other Romance languages. If that is something that interests you, of course :).
Spanish is a phoenetic language, which means that it has strict rules around the pronunciation of every letter. So unlike English, once you understand the sounds the letters make, you will be able to say most works correctly! Spanish is also a poetic language and generally more descriptive than English. Expect senteces to be about 15% – 25% longer than those in English! Know that there are regional differences to Spanish, but this post will apply to most Spanish-speaking countries you’d visit.
Below are basic Spanish greetings you’d use to greet or say goodbye to locals:
- Hello – Hola
- Hello/Goodbye – Chao
- Good morning – Buenos días
- Good afternoon – Buenas tardes
- Good night / evening – Buenas noches
- Good bye – Adiós
- What is your name? – ¿Cómo te llamas?
- My name is… – Me llamo…
- Nice to meet you – Mucho gusto / Encantado(a) a conocerle
- Have a great day! – ¡Que tengas un buen dia!
- See you later – Hasta luego
- How are you? – ¿Como estás?
- Very well – Muy bien
- Okay / So-so – Más o menos
Essential phrases are those you’d use most frequently, outside of greetings of course :).
- Yes – Sí
- No – No
- Thank you – Gracias
- Thanks a lot – Muchas gracias
- You’re welcome – De Nada
- Excuse me – Perdón / Disculpe / Permiso
- I’m sorry – Lo siento
- Do you speak English? – ¿Hablas inlgés?
- I don’t speak English – No hablo inglés
- I don’t understand – No entiendo
- Please – Por favor
- Slowly – Despacio
- Repeat – Repita
- Where is the bathroom? – ¿Dónde está el baño?
- How much does it cost? – ¿Cuanto cuesta?
Days and Time
The days of the week and all other phrases related to telling time.
- Day – Día
- Week – Semana
- Month – Mes
- Year – Año
- Sunday – Domingo
- Monday – Lunes
- Tuesday – Martes
- Wednesday – Miércoles
- Thursday – Jueves
- Friday – Viernes
- Saturday – Sábado
- Minute – Minuto
- Hour – Hora
- Time – Hora / Tiempo
- What time is it? – ¿Qué hora es?
- It is 1:00 – Es la una
- It is 2:00 / 3:00 – Son las dos / tres
- What day is today? – ¿Qué día es hoy?
- Tomorrow – Mañana
- Yesterday – Ayer
- Morning – Mañana
- Midday – Mediodía
- Midnight – Medianoche
- Night – Noche
Phrases and words for getting around town.
- Where is…? – Dónde está…
- The bank – El banco
- The museum – El museo
- The park – El parque
- The hospital – El hospital
- The airport – El aeropuerto
- The church – La iglesia
- How do you get to…? – ¿Cómo se va a…?
- Left – Izquierda
- Right – Derecha
- Straight – Derecho
- Turn to the... – Gira a la…
Phrases and words to use when looking for or eating good food.
- Restaurant – El restaurante
- Breakfast – El desayuno
- Lunch – El almuerzo
- Dinner – La cena
- Appetizer – Entrada
- Main Course – Plato principal
- Desert – Postre
- What do you recommend? – ¿Qué nos recomienda?
- I would like (to order) – Querría…
- The bill please – La cuenta por favor
Spanish Phrases for Travel | Final Thoughts….
That completes my list of the basic spanish phrases for travel! I hope that this list serves as a useful guide when you venture out to any of the 21 countries where Spanish is the official language! To get the most out of this list, you should practice often before taking your trip. Even better than just using this list is practicing your new vocabulary with a real person! If this interestests you, check out my favorite language resource, iTalki. You can use this site to practice with a tutor, formal teacher, or others just seeking to do a language exchange (for free!). The paid lessons have very cheap options, with some as low as $5 an hour. Check it out!