Are you traveling to a Spanish speaking country in the near future and don't have time to learn Spanish? Here are the 10 most useful phrases that you need to know to get around in Spanish speaking countries.
Of course this is one of the most common phrases in Spanish and one you need to know before you go. The phrase means "Where is...?" Obviously you'll need to finish the sentence with any number of options, such as el baño (the bathroom), la playa (the beach), or la estación de tren (the train station). If you ask someone this question, however, hope that they point you in the right direction instead of explaining all the detailed steps to get there.
La cuenta por favor
This is to be used when you are eating at a sit down restaurant and are ready for the server to bring your check. It's the equivalent of "check please!" La cuenta means the bill as in the final tab on your meal. Oh, and another tip on tipping at restaurants. In many countries outside the USA it's not customary or expected for patrons to tip, so make sure you know the local customs in this regard to save face and money.
¿Cuánto cuesta...?, ¿Cuánto cuestan...?
This is what you say when you want to know how much something costs and translates to How much is... Just like with ¿Dónde está...?, you'll want to finish this sentence with some type of noun or pronoun, such as el libro (the book), ésto (this), or éso (that).
el baño, el servicio, el aseo
These words mean washroom or bathroom, as in can you point me to the restroom?
Buenos Dias, Buenas tardes, Buenas noches
These are the easiest way to say hello in Spanish. Dias is used in the morning through most of the day. Tardes is for afternoon greeting, and noches is used after sunset. You might be tempted to say hola but that greeting is much less common when people greet each other.
This translates to very well or ok. It's perhaps one of the most common sayings in the entire language, so get used to it but don't confuse it with our next word...
The meaning of bueno in Spanish is good. You can use this to say la comida es buena (the food is good) and hace tiempo bueno (the weather is good), but you would not use it to say I'm doing well (see muy bien).
Vamos por..., Vamos en...
These two phrases translate into we are traveling by... You would use them to say things like Vamos por autobús a Panamá (We are going to Panama by bus).
¿Qué hora es?
This is another common question that you may find yourself needing to answer while traveling. It means What time is it? and can be useful if your cell phone is out of batteries or you're off the beaten path where no clocks can be found. But as long as you don't have any major commitments that are crucial to your trip, don't get too worried if you find yourself without the time as it can be very liberating to simply forget time and just enjoy the experience.
Muchas gracias, muy amable, adiós
This phrase translates to thank you, very kind of you, and good bye. With all the help and directions you'll need while traveling, you're bound to use this phrase a lot. Chances are locals help a lot of travelers so be sure to say it with a sincere and grateful smile.
There you have it! These are some of the most useful words and phrases you'll need for your next trip to Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, or any of the other wonderful places where this beautiful language is spoken.
As a bonus, here are a number of other helpful words:
museo = museum
teatro = theater
hotel = hotel
llegar = to arrive
salir = to leave, to exit
carro, coche = car
calle = street
maletas = luggage
viaje = trip
viajar = to travel
avión = airplane
taxi = taxi
There are over 500 million people on the earth who already speak Spanish. These are interesting, dynamic, and energetic people with unique backgrounds. Whether you are expanding your business, making new friends, or moving to a new country, learning to speak Spanish will open the door to this new world. Not only will you be able to meet and interact with new and interesting people, you’ll also be introduced to new cuisines, cultures, lifestyles, and entertainment.
Like me, many of you enjoy traveling abroad. Of course, I'm partial to Spanish speaking countries, of which there about 26 in the world. Yes, we Spanish speakers are lucky to have such a variety of travel options available. And sometimes it helps to get a bit of education on the locales that you'll be visiting prior to your departure.
If you don't know about Hulu (a website that allows you to watch popular movies and TV programs online), go there now and start discovering all the great content it offers. One program I discovered recently on Hulu is Rick Steve's Europe series. Rick is well-known around the world for his informative and entertaining television programs that show him visiting various interesting destinations all over the world, giving viewers a glimpse into the lives, culture, architecture, scenery, and cuisine of distant locations. He has a number of programs where he visits Europe and a few of these highlight Rick's visits to Spain, one of my favorite Spanish speaking countries.
The content is absolutely free to watch. Here are some of my favorites:
Rick Steve's The Magic of Madrid
Rick Steve's Basque Country
Northern Spain and the Camino de Santiago
Rick Steve's Europe Andalucia
Granada, Cordoba, and Costa del Sol
Andalucia, Gibraltar, and Tangier
Rick Steve's Sevilla
Pamplona and Running of the Bulls
Toledo and Salamanca
Rick Steve's Europe series is packed full of great content and the handfull of episodes I've pointed out above would serve as a valuable preview for anyone planning to travel to Spain. It's time well spent, in other words. ¡Suerte!
This is where we chat about all things Spanish. Feel free to ask a question, challenge me, passionately disagree, or rant about whatever. Just make it interesting.