Language|Travel tips

Travel Spanish: Useful phrases

Hola! Even after more than a year of studying Italian with Rick, I always default to wanting to say hola to start a conversation. Perhaps it’s just all those repetitions we did in high school that it’s just drilled into my brain, as well as: Muy bien, gracias, y usted?


As a romance language, it has a lot in common with Catalan, Italian, and Portuguese, as well as some other similarities with French and Romanian. It can sound lively and loud or seductive and soft and is the second most commonly spoken language right behind Chinese.

Spanish is spoken in many countries though the dialects do change depending on the country and region. For the most part though, these travel phrases will get you by in Spanish-speaking countries.

Helpful Spanish phrases for travelers

Spanish Greetings

English                      Spanish (pronunciation)

Hello                              Hola (oh-la)

Good morning/day     Buenos dias (bway-nos dee-ahs)

Good evening               Buenos noches (bway-nos noh-chays)

Goodbye                        Adios (ah-dee-ohs)

How are you?               Como estas? (coh-moh es-tahs)

Good, thank you          Bien, gracias (bee-yen, grah-see-ahs)

Polite expressions and essential phrases in Spanish

Yes                                 Si (see)

No                                  No (no)

Please                           Por favor  (pore fah-vore)

Thank you                    Gracias (grah-see-ahs)

You’re welcome          De nada (day nah-dah)

Excuse me                   Permiso  (pear-mee-soh)

I’m sorry                      Lo siento (low see-ehn-toe)

I don’t understand          Yo no entiendo (yo no en-tee-en-do)

Do you speak English     Habla ingles?  (a-blah een-glace)

I don’t speak Spanish     No hablo espanol (no ah-blow ess-spahn-yohl)

What time is it?           Que hora es?  (keh oh-rah ess)

When?                           Cuando?  (kwahn-doh)

Ordering food & drinks & shopping

I would like                  Quiero  (kyeh-roh)

Water                            Agua  (ah-gwah)

Beer                               Cerveza (sehr-vay-sah)

Wine                             Vino  (Vee-no)

Breakfast                     Desayuno (deh-sah-yoo-noh)

Lunch                          Almuerzo (al-mooh-er-soh)

Dinner                         Cena (seh-nah)

The bill, please          La cuenta, por favor  (Lah kwehn-tah, pore fah-vore)

How much?                Cuanto cuesta? (kwan-toh kways-tah)

Money                         Dinero (dee-neh-roh)

Credit card                 Tarjetas de credito (tar-heh-tass deh kreh-dee-toh)

Directions and travel

Where is…?                Donde esta?  (don-day es-tah)

Where is the bathroom?        Donde esta el bagno?  (don-day es-tah ell bahn-yo)

How do I get to…?     Como llego a…? (koh-moh yeh-goh ah)

Want to really study Spanish before your trip? I absolutely love the For Dummies series of language books as they really explain the language and even provide fun tips and exercises. Check out the economical four-in-one Spanish for Dummies to really get a good grasp on the language!

What’s your favorite Spanish-speaking country to visit? Tell us in the comments below!

Spanish flag with text overlay

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Hey, I'm Stephanie! I'm a copywriter living in beautiful Denver with my husband Rick, and our dog Rocco. I love traveling, writing, reading, and being outside as much as possible - unless I'm on the couch binge watching Stranger Things with a glass of wine! Thanks for reading and being a part of the adventure with Back to the Passport! ❤️

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