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!
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…
Where is…?: Dónde está…?
What is…?: Qué es…?
At what time…?: A qué hora…?
How much?: Cuanto cuesta?
Essential Places and Objects:
Check: la cuenta (in Ecuador we always had to ask for the check, or else they wouldn’t give it to us)
Hotel room: habitación
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)
Hot dog: salchicha
French fries: papas fritas
Ice cream: helado
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?