The Spanish culture is amazing and very diverse, the same as their language. Spain, where the so-called Castilian Spanish is spoken, is a huge country with wonderful and fun people, beautiful landscapes, and tons of places to experience and discover. However, to enhance your local experience, you must know some Spanish phrases for traveling.
Yes, you can also travel and get around without knowing any Spanish, but we do promise that you’ll have a more real and authentic cultural experience if you already know some words or are fluent before you go.
Why learn Spanish in general?
Spanish is one of the most popular languages nowadays, not only for travel but also for professional purposes. It’s the official language of over 20 countries across four continents, and it is estimated that the number of native speakers is around 500 million people (with that number growing every second).
Spanish has the 2nd highest number of native speakers of any language (after Mandarin) and is the 4th most widely spoken language globally when including native and non-native speakers. So, it’s safe to say that knowing Spanish is a major benefit for life!
Remember that when you learn a language, the ultimate task will always be to travel to a country where it’s spoken and use it to engage with locals and immerse yourself in the culture; once you do that, you can say that you really know the language. It’s not different from Spanish.
And if you want to discover Spain’s amazing culture, then you do need to know some basics before stepping foot on its land. Other major benefits of knowing some Spanish phrases for traveling include knowing your way out of “stressful” situations, getting more unique experiences where you don’t get overcharged, and having more access to jobs or volunteering opportunities.
We have selected some of the most common Spanish phrases for traveling so you can communicate easier and boost your travel experiences in Spain.
Basic Spanish phrases for traveling
Essential to introduce yourself and ask and understand simple things and simple situations.
- Hola / Buenas – Hello
- ¿Qué tal? – How are you?
- Adiós – Goodbye
- Gracias – Thank you
- Mucho gusto – Nice to meet you
- Vale – Ok
- No pasa nada – Don’t worry about it
- Sí – Yes
- No – No
- Buenos días – Good morning
- Buenas tardes – Good afternoon
- Buenas noches – Good evening
- Noche – Night
- Por favor – Please
- Tío/ tía – Guy/ Girl or man/woman
- ¿Habla inglés? – Can you speak English?
- No hablo español – I don’t speak Spanish
- Mi nombre es or me llamo – My name is
- Soy de… – I’m from…
- Mi número es… – My number is…
- Agua (fría o caliente) – Water (cold or hot)
- Perdón – Excuse me, sorry
- Dinero – Money
- Pasaporte – Passport
Spanish travel phrases to move around or use public transport
Fundamental and useful Spanish phrases to know for getting to places, using public transport, and avoiding getting lost.
- ¿Dónde encuentro…? – Where do I find…?
- ¿Dónde está…? / ¿Dónde queda…? – Where is the…?
- ¿Que tan lejos es…? – How far is…?
- ¿Puede ayudarme, por favor? – Can you help me please?
- ¿Dónde está el baño? – Where is the bathroom?
- ¿Cómo se dice? – How do you say?
- No sé – I don’t know
- Avión (aeropuerto) – Airplane (airport)
- Carro – Car
- ¿Cuándo sale el vuelo? – When is the flight going to leave?
- ¿Cuánto cuesta un boleto de ida y vuelta? – How much does a round trip ticket cost?
- Maleta, equipaje – Suitcase, luggage
- Estoy perdido – I’m lost
- ¿Dónde queda la estación? – Where is the station?
- Un boleto para … – A ticket for…
- ¿Cuánto cuesta un boleto? – How much is a ticket?
- Tenemos que ir a … – We need to go to …
- ¿Dónde está la parada del autobús? – Where is the bus stop?
- ¿Cuándo pasa el próximo autobús?- When is the next bus?
Common Spanish Words for food or eating in restaurants
Spanish travel words to know when dining in a restaurant, asking prices and paying for food, or finding that amazing dish you are dying to try.
- Comida – Food
- Bebida – Drink
- Cerveja – Beer
- Vino – Wine
- Agua, por favor – Water please
- Una mesa, por favor – A table, please
- El menú, por favor – The menu, please
- ¿Qué recomienda? – What do you recommend?
- La cuenta, por favor – The check, please
- Me gustaría… – I would like…
- ¿Cuánto cuesta? – How much does it cost?
- Soy vegetariano – I’m vegetarian
- Un café, por favor – A coffee, please
- Una mesa para dos por favor – A table for 2 please
- ¿Podemos sentarnos afuera? – Can we sit outside?
- Para mi la …. For me, the…
- Más bebidas, por favor – More drinks please
- Otra ronda, por favor – Another round again please
- ¿Tienes postres? – Do you have desserts?
- La cuenta, por favor – The check, please
- ¿Puedo pagar con tarjeta? – Can I pay by card?
- ¿Efectivo o tarjeta? – Cash or card?
Spanish travel phrases for shopping
Essential Spanish travel phrases to buy and pay for groceries, utilities, clothing, and shopping in general.
- Queremos – We want
- Quiero – I want
- Efectivo – Cash
- Tarjeta de crédito – Credit card
- Tarjeta débito – Debit card
- ¿Tienes…? – Do you have….?
- Estoy buscando… – I’m looking for…
- Necesito… – I need…
- Queremos… – We want…
- ¿Cuánto cuesta esto? – How much is this?
- ¿Tienes una talla más grande? – Do you have a bigger size?
- ¿Tienes una talla más pequeña? – Do you have a smaller size?
- ¿Tienes otro? – ¿Tienes una talla más grande?
- ¿Puedo probarme esto? – Can I try this on?
- No encuentro el precio – I can’t find the price
Common Spanish words for everyday life
Level up your Spanish vocabulary with useful phrases for certain situations and everyday things you will/can need or places you’ll probably have to go.
- Baño – Toilet
- Banco – Bank
- Cajero automático – ATM
- Museo – Museum
- Plaza – Urban square
- Monumento – Monument
- Cama – Bed
- Ropa – Clothes
- Mar – Sea
- Montaña – Mountain
- Camino – Path
- Sombrilla – Umbrella
- Audífonos – Headphones
- Cargador – Charger
Useful Spanish phrases for difficult situations
Primary for emergency situations that require information or help from locals or authorities.
- Ayuda – Help
- Policía – Police
- Bomberos – Firemen
- Hospital – Hospital
- Doctor – Doctor
- Ambulancia – Ambulance
- Se ahoga – He/she is drawing
- Accidente – Accident
- Alergia – Allergy
- Se cayó – He/she fell
- Headache – Dolor de cabeza
- Fiebre – Fever
- Medicina – Medicine
- Farmacia – Pharmacy
Learn Spanish slang
Fundamental to interact and engage better with locals while understanding their expressions and the way they talk. Slang is super important to remain current and understand different language variations while also boosting your travel experience, whether it is in Spain or any other country.
- Que guay – How cool (normally refers to something cool or amazing)
- Pasta – Money
- ‘Sta logo – See you later
- Venga – Alright or come on!
- Chaval – Kids or young people in general
- Colega – Friend, buddy, mate, pal
- Hombre – Man
- Mono /Mona – Someone cute
- Joder – Damn it!
- Majo – Normally refers to someone friendly and pleasant to be around
- Estar como una cobra – Being nuts
- Mola /Molar – It has several uses but as a verb it means to be cool or to want or like something
- ¡Ostia tio! – Denotes surprise (like oh my god!)
- Flipar / Me flipa – When someone is absolutely astonished by new information or by something mesmerizing
Expand your Spanish with an online course
If you want to go even further with your Spanish language learning journey before your trip to Spain, check Whee Institute, a Spanish school with the best Spanish online course, tailored to your needs and with innovative and fun methodologies. Their classes are designed and taught by professional, native Spanish teachers who put all their effort into each class so you can learn fast but well while having fun.
With Whee, you can learn basic Spanish conversation in just one month and get to a fluency level in under 4 months; they also have an interesting and resourceful blog that provides material for your learning process. To book a weekly class with Whee, visit their website www.wheeinsitute.com; you can also try the class before and see if it’s for you before committing to the week.
A few more recommendations for learning Spanish
- If you don’t understand or don’t know how to express something, always ask or research, there’s nothing to lose; asking questions and being curious are two of the most important things when learning a new language.
- Traveling is all about challenges and getting out of the comfort zone; never stop doing something or going somewhere you like just because you don’t know Spanish that well; learn the basics and explore. There’s always a way!
- Spanish isn’t the only official language of Spain (there’s also Catalan, Basque and Galician), but it will get you anywhere, so take good advantage of that for your travels. Start with Spanish, and then you can move on to the other ones if it’s something that interests you.
- Spanish is a lot of fun! Even if it’s not specifically for your travels, learning it is a unique experience if you have the mindset. It’s actually considered one of the easiest languages to learn than others, such as German or Nordic languages. You’ll also discover that it’s really a passionate and festive language, which is why some consider that Spanish speakers are the happiest people in the world. By learning all these Spanish phrases for traveling, you’ll be immersed in a unique and authentic culture, and you’ll have the time of your life in Spain!