Sara Sees the World’s Essential Spanish Guide

Spanish Guide

So you wanna travel south of the border. You wanna experience new cultures, beautiful beaches, and incredibly delicious food. But you’ve got one problem… you don’t speak a speck of Spanish. Fortunately many of the people you’ll encounter (especially in bigger or more touristed cities) will speak some level of English. However, you will find that English speakers can be sparse in more rural areas.

It’s always good to freshen up on a language before you travel somewhere, or if the language is completely new to you, learn some basic phrases. The locals will appreciate your effort and it’ll be helpful in situations where you can’t find any English speakers.

So here it is! Sara Sees the World’s Essential Spanish Guide!

Essential Conversation:

Hello: Hola, buenos días

Goodbye: Adios, ciao

Thank you: Gracias

You’re Welcome: De nada

Please: Por favor

Sorry: Lo siento

I don’t understand: No comprendo

Do you speak English?: Habla inglés?

I’m from…: Soy de…

Excuse me: Disculpe

I’m looking for…: Busco…

Essential Questions:

Where is…?: Dónde está…?

What is…?: Qué es…?

At what time…?: A qué hora…?

How much?: Cuanto cuesta?

Essential Places and Objects:

Bathroom: baño

Restaurant: restaurante

Check: la cuenta (in Ecuador we always had to ask for the check, or else they wouldn’t give it to us)

Taxi: taxi

Bus: bus

Train: tren

Hotel room: habitación

Essential Food:

This really depends on the region you’re visiting as different locations have vastly different food options. Although many touristy restaurants in cities will have menus in both Spanish and English, smaller restaurants will be all Spanish. If you want to know what you’re eating, read up on your Spanish food vocabulary before you leave.

Bottled water: agua en botella (in Ecuador, we had to specify sin gaz to get regular water. Otherwise it was con gaz, or sparkling water)

Coffee: café

Milk: leche

Tea: té

Beer: cerveza

Wine: vino

Juice: jugo

Orange: naranja

Apple: manzana

Tomato: tomate

Eggs: huevos

Cheese: queso

Butter: mantequilla

Beans: frijoles

Bacon: tocino

Ham: jamón

Chicken: pollo

Meat/beef: carne

Pork: cerdo

Hot dog: salchicha

Fish: pescado

Seafood: mariscos

Garlic: ajo

Rice: arroz

Peanut: cacahuate

Onion: cebolla

Mushroom: champiñones

Lettuce: lechuga

Salad: ensalada

Corn: maíz

Burger: hamburguesa

Potato: papa

French fries: papas fritas

Carrot: zanahoria

Cake: pastel/torta

Cookie: galleta

Ice cream: helado

Salt: sal

Pepper: pimiento

Without: sin

As a vegetarian it was super important for me to look out for meat words on the menu. Our friend Mido couldn’t eat pork because of his religion and when he ordered a burger containing both bacon and ham, we stopped his ordering right away and pointed out the words tocino and jamón on the menu.

This list contains everything I feel is necessary to get along in a Spanish-speaking country. What do you think? Did I miss any phrases you can’t travel without?


7 thoughts on “Sara Sees the World’s Essential Spanish Guide

  1. Jeff Baxter says:

    Sara, We’ll get you setup for the Hungary visit. We know lots of people there, a place to stay and the pearl of Eastern Europe awaits ! Coordinate it all very soon. Great Excitement.


  2. Jeff says:

    Sara, we didn’t get this done for you for Hungary. My wifes Dad is over here in the states on an extended stay. Your Dad said you had made a plan for Budapest and that everything was set. How is it going, you must be really excitied about seeing the world like you are. Drop a quick line, Thanks


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