One of the primary motivations for people to take Spanish lessons is their desire to travel. In fact, Spanish is the official language of twenty nations - it is the second most spoken language globally. Knowing a few basic Spanish words will come in handy during your travels.
Here are some common Spanish phrases to know before you board your flight!
1. Greetings in Spanish
"Hola" which means "hello" is perhaps the first Spanish word you should learn. You can bid farewell with "adios". If you want to wish others "good morning", "good afternoon" or "good evening", you should say "buenos dias", "buenas tardes" or "buenas noches" respectively.
"Thank you" in Spanish is "gracias", so say it to show your appreciation to those around you! To introduce yourself, you can say "me llamo...", which translates to "my name is...".
2. Telling others you don’t understand Spanish
If you want to say “I don’t understand”, that will simply be “no entiendo”. “I speak a little Spanish” can be translated into “hablo un poco de español”. If that is too long for you, you can simply say, “poco-poco”!
What if you want to ask if others can speak English? Ask them, “Hablas inglés?”
It's worth noting that Spanish is one of the simplest languages to pick up verbally. That is because you pronounce the words just how they are written!
3. Asking for Directions in Spanish
Are you afraid of getting lost in Madrid? Or losing your way in Mexico’s mercados? Asking for directions in Spanish is easy. Simply remember to ask “dónde está…” ("where is…") or “dónde están…” ("where are..."). "Left" is “izquierda”, "right" is “derecha” and "straight" is “recto”.
If memorising so many directions is too difficult, try “estoy perdido” for guys and “estoy perdida” for girls. That means that you are lost - a kind stranger will help you out!
4. Dining out
Dining out is one of the most exciting experiences when travelling to any Spanish-speaking country. Many restaurants do not have English menus, so it's good to learn some basic food terminology. You don't want to order something you hate or, even worse, are allergic to!
Here’s a short list of the most common food items so you know what you are ordering:
5. Excuse me in Spanish
Sometimes, while travelling, you may accidentally do something that is culturally inappropriate. It is also common to knock into someone or block someone's way at times.
As a result, knowing how to say "excuse me" should be your priority! There are three main ways to say "excuse me" in Spanish, and each one works slightly differently.
- “Con permiso” – Translates to “with your permission”. Use this if you wish for someone to give way in a public place, or to excuse yourself from a social gathering. This is more frequently used in Latin America.
- “Disculpe” – Use this to politely ask for someone’s attention, or to say sorry for disturbing him/her.
- “Perdón” – Use this if you wish to say sorry for something that you did.
If you are going to Spain, “perdón” will often be the most appropriate term to use. You may learn more useful Spanish phrases with the help of a private Spanish teacher.
6. Seeking Help in Spanish
Seek help if you need it - there's nothing to be ashamed of. It may actually be the most courageous thing you can do.
Walk up to the cashier or a stranger and start with “necesito ayuda” – which literally translates to “I need help”. If you are lucky, he/she will do whatever it takes to help you out!
Ideally, you will not need to say this phrase during your journey, but it is always better safe than sorry.
With this, we wish you ¡buen viaje! Have a good trip!
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