Key Phrases for Travelers: Your Essential Spanish Guide

Gordon Feliz • Updated Feb 9th, 2024

Traveling Spanish vocabulary Guide

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Traveling can be an exhilarating experience, especially when you're venturing into countries where your native language isn't spoken. If you're planning a trip to a Spanish-speaking destination, knowing some key phrases can make your journey smoother and more enjoyable. Spanish is a beautiful and widely spoken language, and even a small effort to speak it can open doors to richer cultural experiences. Let's dive into some essential phrases that every traveler should have in their toolkit!


Greetings and Basic Courtesies


Hello - Hola

Example: "Hola, ¿cómo estás?" (Hello, how are you?)


Goodbye - Adiós

Example: "Adiós, ¡nos vemos mañana!" (Goodbye, see you tomorrow!)


Please - Por favor

Example: "Una mesa para dos, por favor." (A table for two, please.)


Thank you - Gracias

Example: "Gracias por su ayuda." (Thank you for your help.)


Excuse me/Sorry - Perdón / Lo siento

Example: "Perdón, ¿dónde está el baño?" (Excuse me, where is the bathroom?)

Example: "Lo siento, no hablo español muy bien." (Sorry, I don't speak Spanish very well.)


Getting Around


Where is...? - ¿Dónde está...?

Example: "¿Dónde está el hotel?" (Where is the hotel?)


How much is the fare? - ¿Cuánto cuesta el pasaje?

Example: "¿Cuánto cuesta el pasaje para el autobús?" (How much is the bus fare?)


I would like a ticket to... - Quisiera un boleto para...

Example: "Quisiera un boleto para Madrid." (I would like a ticket to Madrid.)


Is this the right way to...? - ¿Es este el camino correcto para...?

Example: "¿Es este el camino correcto para la playa?" (Is this the right way to the beach?)


Can you help me? - ¿Puede ayudarme?

Example: "Estoy perdido, ¿puede ayudarme?" (I'm lost, can you help me?)


Dining and Shopping


I would like... - Quisiera...

Example: "Quisiera una mesa para dos, por favor." (I would like a table for two, please.)


Can I have the bill, please? - ¿Me trae la cuenta, por favor?

Example: "Hemos terminado, ¿me trae la cuenta, por favor?" (We're finished, can I have the bill, please?)


How much does this cost? - ¿Cuánto cuesta esto?

Example: "Me gusta este sombrero, ¿cuánto cuesta?" (I like this hat, how much does it cost?)


Do you accept credit cards? - ¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito?

Example: "¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito en esta tienda?" (Do you accept credit cards in this store?)


A table for two, please - Una mesa para dos, por favor

Example: "Buenas tardes, una mesa para dos, por favor." (Good afternoon, a table for two, please.)


Handling Emergencies


I need help - Necesito ayuda

Example: "Necesito ayuda, por favor." (I need help, please.)


Call the police - Llame a la policía

Example: "Hubo un accidente aquí, llame a la policía." (There was an accident here, call the police.)


I am lost - Estoy perdido/a

Example: "Estoy perdido, ¿puede mostrarme este lugar en el mapa?" (I am lost, can you show me this place on the map?)


I need a doctor - Necesito un médico

Example: "Me siento mal, necesito un médico." (I feel sick, I need a doctor.)


Is there a pharmacy nearby? - ¿Hay una farmacia cerca?

Example: "Necesito medicina, ¿hay una farmacia cerca?" (I need medicine, is there a pharmacy nearby?)

Spanish Travel Basic Terms
Learning Exercises Using The Above Phrases
Exercise 1: At the Airport


Scenario: You've just arrived at a Spanish-speaking airport and need to find your way to the city center.




  • You: "Hola, ¿dónde está la parada de autobús?"

  • Airport Staff: "La parada de autobús está fuera de la terminal, a la derecha."

  • You: "¿Cuánto cuesta el pasaje para el centro de la ciudad?"

  • Airport Staff: "Cuesta cinco euros."

  • You: "Gracias por su ayuda."




  • You: "Hello, where is the bus stop?"

  • Airport Staff: "The bus stop is outside the terminal, on the right."

  • You: "How much is the fare to the city center?"

  • Airport Staff: "It's five euros."

  • You: "Thank you for your help."


Exercise 2: At a Restaurant


Scenario: You are at a local restaurant and want to order a meal.




  • Waiter: "Buenas tardes, ¿qué les traigo para comer?"

  • You: "Quisiera una paella, por favor."

  • Waiter: "¿Algo para beber?"

  • You: "Un vaso de agua, gracias."

  • Waiter: "¿Algo más?"

  • You: "No, eso es todo. ¿Me trae la cuenta, por favor?"




  • Waiter: "Good afternoon, what can I get for you to eat?"

  • You: "I would like a paella, please."

  • Waiter: "Anything to drink?"

  • You: "A glass of water, thank you."

  • Waiter: "Anything else?"

  • You: "No, that's all. Can I have the bill, please?"


Exercise 3: Shopping for Souvenirs


Scenario: You're shopping for souvenirs in a local market.




  • You: "Hola, ¿cuánto cuesta este sombrero?"

  • Shopkeeper: "Cuesta veinte euros."

  • You: "¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito?"

  • Shopkeeper: "Sí, aceptamos."

  • You: "Perfecto, lo tomaré. Gracias."




  • You: "Hello, how much does this hat cost?"

  • Shopkeeper: "It's twenty euros."

  • You: "Do you accept credit cards?"

  • Shopkeeper: "Yes, we do."

  • You: "Perfect, I'll take it. Thank you."


Exercise 4: Asking for Directions


Scenario: You are lost in the city and need directions to the museum.




  • You: "Perdón, ¿es este el camino correcto para el museo?"

  • Local: "No, está en la dirección opuesta. Siga recto y luego gire a la izquierda."

  • You: "¿Cuánto tiempo toma llegar allí?"

  • Local: "Unos diez minutos a pie."

  • You: "Muchas gracias por su ayuda."




  • You: "Excuse me, is this the right way to the museum?"

  • Local: "No, it's in the opposite direction. Go straight and then turn left."

  • You: "How long does it take to get there?"

  • Local: "About ten minutes on foot."

  • You: "Thank you very much for your help."


Exercise 5: Handling an Emergency


Scenario: You feel unwell and need to find a pharmacy.




  • You: "Necesito ayuda, por favor. ¿Hay una farmacia cerca?"

  • Local: "Sí, hay una en la próxima calle, a la derecha."

  • You: "¿Está abierta ahora?"

  • Local: "Sí, está abierta hasta las diez de la noche."

  • You: "Muchas gracias."




  • You: "I need help, please. Is there a pharmacy nearby?"

  • Local: "Yes, there's one on the next street, to the right."

  • You: "Is it open now?"

  • Local: "Yes, it's open until ten at night."

  • You: "Thank you very much."


Useful Resources To Learn More Phrases


To enhance your learning of Spanish greetings, basic courtesies, and other conversational phrases, I've found several online resources that could be very helpful:


Easy Spanish Phrases for Shopping and Dining Out - This article is perfect for travelers as it provides essential phrases for shopping and dining, helping you to communicate effectively in markets, restaurants, and cafes.


Speak Like a Local: Common Spanish Slang Words and Phrases - To blend in and understand the locals better, this guide offers a deep dive into commonly used Spanish slang, enhancing your conversational skills beyond textbook Spanish.


Spanish Learning Lab - Spanish Greetings and Introductions: This resource provides detailed explanations and examples of Spanish greetings and introductions, making it ideal for understanding formal and informal interactions. It includes interactive quizzes and listening activities to practice real-life conversations, along with PDF worksheets for additional practice​​.


GCFGlobal - Free Basic Spanish Skills Tutorial: This tutorial covers a range of basic Spanish phrases and greetings. It's structured to help you learn common manners and etiquette in Spanish, express feelings, and understand everyday Spanish phrases, which are especially useful for travelers​​.


Preply - Spanish Greetings: Preply offers insights into the nuances of Spanish greetings and farewells, explaining the differences between formal and informal contexts. It also discusses common phrases used in holiday greetings, providing a broader understanding of cultural aspects in Spanish-speaking countries​​.


Spanish Learning Lab - Common Spanish Greetings and Farewells: Here, you can find a list of common greetings and farewells, with pronunciation guides and examples. This resource also includes a listening activity to help you understand how these phrases are used in actual conversations, which is crucial for developing listening skills in a new language​​.


Lingvist - Spanish Greetings: Lingvist focuses on the subtleties of introductions, secondary greetings, and departing phrases in Spanish. It gives you a deeper understanding of the cultural norms associated with greetings, such as cheek-kissing and how to respond appropriately in different situations​​.

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