10 Useful Spanish Phrases For Your Next Vacation
Make the most of your trip to a Spanish-speaking country — and avoid getting lost and frustrated — by learning how to say these key phrases.
Planning a trip to a Spanish-speaking country? In addition to your passport and overstuffed suitcase (your friends warned you to pack light…), you’ll want to come prepared with some key Spanish phrases to make your vacation run smoothly. Learning how to say simple phrases can help solve potentially devastating dilemmas, like getting lost in an unfamiliar country. Study up on these 10 phrases before you go!
1. Me llamo ___. Mucho gusto.
My name is ____. Nice to meet you.
One of the most exciting parts about traveling is meeting new people from different walks of life. To this end, you’re going to want to learn some basic greetings so you can introduce yourself with ease. Hopefully, your new friend will be impressed that you spoke to them in their own language.
2. Quiero practicar mi español.
I want to practice my Spanish.
Spending your vacation in a foreign country is a great way to work on any elementary skills you may have in the language spoken there. Maybe you took Spanish in high school or college and are fairly rusty. Speaking with locals when you travel gives you the opportunity to practice, but give them a heads up so they’ll be more patient with you.
3. No comprendo.
I don’t understand.
How does the saying go? The first step is admitting you have a problem (or something like that). If you’re trying to have a conversation in Spanish and you don’t understand what the other person is saying, tell them. They will probably repeat themselves slowly, or find a more easily understandable way to convey their message.
4. ¿Cuánto cuesta?
How much does this cost?
When on vacation in another country, you’ll likely end up going shopping at some point — whether you’re buying souvenirs, getting in on the latest foreign fashion, or replacing the toothbrush you forgot to pack. This phrase will come in handy for any of those situations. You don’t want to get ripped off just because you’re a tourist!
Follow up: Learn the numbers up to 100.
5. ¿Dónde está el baño?
Where’s the bathroom?
Laws and social norms vary from country to country, but relieving yourself on the beach or in an alley is generally frowned upon. That makes this question one of the more important on this list. These few words could save you from some nasty stares — or, you know, getting thrown in jail.
6. ¿Cómo puedo llegar a __ ?
How do I get to __ ?
Navigating an unfamiliar city can sometimes be a nightmare — especially when you didn’t want to pay for that international data plan and can’t rely on Google Maps to get around. Learn this phrase and ask a local how to get where you’re going. Not only will you be less likely to get lost, but they may also know of a helpful shortcut.
Follow up: learn the words for "left," "right," and "straight ahead."
7. ¿Me podrías recomendar un restaurante?
Do you have any restaurant recommendations?
One of the most exciting parts of traveling is sampling new cuisines. A country’s food can teach you a lot about its culture. Asking for restaurant recommendations will ensure you get the best and most authentic dining experience and that you avoid wasting a meal on a subpar eatery — or worse, ending up at McDonald’s.
8. ¿Me puede traer la cuenta, por favor?
Can you bring me the check, please?
You’ve just finished a delicious meal at a restaurant recommended to you by a local. You’re feeling great and ready to get out on the town and check out the nightlife! Just one problem: you’ve been waiting for the check for 30 minutes. It’s time to confront the waiter, and get this show on the road.
9. ¿Puedo usar tu cargador del móvil?
Can I use your phone charger?
This one is serious business. Nothing ruins a nice outing like your phone battery dying. And in a foreign country it’s even more likely; not only will you need need a charger, but an adaptor as well. Unless… you make a new friend who happens to have their phone charger with them. Then all you have to do is know how to ask to borrow it. Problem solved.
10. Creo que eres mi alma gemela.
I think you’re my soulmate.
Hey, it could happen! Everyone dreams of meeting an attractive and mysterious stranger abroad and instantly falling in love. (Or is that just me?) And when you do come across that special someone, who naturally doesn’t speak a word of English, you need to be able to communicate your feelings to them. This is a good starting point, but the next step? Brush up on your vocabulary before you meet the parents.