With an estimated 400 million speakers worldwide, Spanish is spoken by more people than any other language except Mandarin Chinese. And with some of our favourite adventures (trekking the Inca Trail and walking El Camino de Santiago) taking place in Spanish-speaking lands, we thought it prudent to share these essential travel phrases, en español.
1. Por favor/ Gracias Translation: Please / Thank You
The first and most important phrase to learn wherever you go: a simple “please” and “thank you”.
2. Hola! Buenas días/noches – Translation: Hello, good morning/evening
A simple greeting – appropriate to call out to people you pass in the street or exchange with friends.
3. Perdón –Translation: Excuse me
If you need to pass through a group of people, or accidentally bump into someone, use perdón to remain polite.
4. ¿Dónde está…? Translation: Where is…?
Looking for a toilet (baño) or bus (autobús) during your travels is pretty likely. Remember dónde está and even if words fail you beyond this simple phrase, you can probably act out what you’re looking for and get your point across.
5. ¿Cuánto Cuesta? Translation: How much does it cost?
Even the most frugal traveller will need to buy something, be it a bus ticket or roadside snack. Cuánto cuesta is your friend to make sure you pay a fair price – just ask it before you commit to buying anything!
6. ¿Puedo ver el menú? Translation: May I see the menu?
Ask this, and then hope for pictures of the food! Also useful to determine the price range of meals before sitting down.
7. Me llamo ___ Translation: My name is ____
Introducing yourself in another language is always fun. Just remember that the double “ll” in Spanish is pronounced like ‘yah’ or ‘jah’. This shouldn’t sound anything like the English word limo.
8. No quiero…(nada) Translation: I don’t want…(none)
Especially useful in shops or markets when you do not, in fact, want any.
9. “Lo pasé muy bien” – Translation: I had a very good time.
Had a great time? Tell someone!
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