The Best 8 Spanish Phrases Travelers Need To Know

Travel has been severely restricted for months now, and most of us have not been abroad in a while. It is natural to find yourself missing the carefree days when you could board a plane, train, or bus to almost anywhere in search of new adventures. And while you aren’t free to do that right now to the same extent, that doesn’t mean you can’t dream, right?

Are Mexico, Central and South America, or Spain on your travel bucket list of places you would love to see in the future? Well, quarantine is the perfect time to invest in some serious prep, so you are sure to have an amazing experience once you can travel again. The best place to start is with some language know-how, so check out these 8 Spanish phrases every traveler should know.

image of typical mexican dolls - learn spanish phrases

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1. Where is… / ¿Dónde está…

Being able to ask for directions or find something is one of the most basic and necessary parts of travel in any country. If you need to know where a restaurant is, for example, ask: ¿Dónde está el restaurante? Make sure to prepare a list of places you are most likely to ask about and memorize basic directions like left (izquierda), right (derecha), or straight on (sigue derecho).

lost turists reading a map - spanish phrases

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2. How much is it? / ¿Cuánto cuesta?

You will need to ask the price for a lot of different things during your travels, from accommodation to tickets and souvenirs. Spend some time learning the numbers (up to 100, if possible) and get familiar with the most common currency of the country you plan to visit.

3. I don’t understand / Yo no entiendo

This is definitely a must-know phrase in any language because you are bound to encounter scenarios where locals are either talking too fast or using vocabulary you do not know. Do not be shy about admitting you don’t understand something. Most people are patient and will try to find a way to communicate more effectively with you.

4. Can you speak more slowly? / ¿Puedes hablar más despacio?

This phrase goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. Again, do not be shy about asking people to speak more slowly if you are struggling to comprehend what they are saying. Locals appreciate when foreign travelers make an effort to speak their native language and most people will be happy to help you out.

5. What time is the flight? / ¿Cuándo sale el vuelo?

Traveling obviously means boarding some form of transportation to get to your destination, and this is an especially useful phrase to know if you intend to fly anywhere and depart a Spanish-speaking country or region. Similarly, you can replace vuelo with a few other key transportation words, like autobus (bus) or tren (train) to cover your bases!

6. The check, please / La cuenta, por favor

Eating in a restaurant during your travels should be a pretty straight-forward experience; after all, it is often enough to just point at the menu to indicate what you would like to eat or drink. But come the end of your meal, you will need to know how to ask for the check. In most Latin cultures, it is considered rude for servers to leave it on the table without the customer requesting it first, so use this phrase when you are ready to pay.

7. Can you help me? / ¿Me podría ayudar?

Hopefully, you won’t ever find yourself in a tight spot on your trip, but if you do, knowing how to ask for help in Spanish will make things easier. If you end up in a particularly serious or dangerous situation, you only need to remember one word: Ayudame! If you shout this out it will let people know that you need help right away.

8. Do you speak English? / ¿Hablas inglés?

If you want to improve your Spanish, you should try to use your language skills as much as possible during your travels. But there may be moments when things will go much more smoothly if you can find someone who knows how to speak English. If you are frustrated with not being understood/understanding someone else, asking this can help you to find someone nearby who can communicate in English.

While learning these 8 phrases can be useful, the best way to really prepare for a trip to a Spanish-speaking country is to beef up your overall language skills with the help of a professional. We offer online Spanish courses (social distancing for the win!) taught by native-speaking language tutors. Our excellent tutors can customize classes to suit your personal language goals and whichever form of Spanish is used in the country you plan to visit. Contact us today to find out more about our courses and what we can do for you!