8 Best Spanish Phrasebooks to Start Making Conversation Today
We’ve all been there: You want to start talking to people in Spanish, but putting together single words to make whole sentences can quickly get overwhelming.
Luckily, these eight Spanish phrasebooks are here to help you! They provide convenient phrases for virtually any situation you might encounter, allowing you to focus on meeting people, communicating and enjoying the experience rather than finding the right words.
- 1. Lonely Planet
- 2. “Rick Steves’ Spanish Phrase Book & Dictionary”
- 3. “Easy Spanish Phrase Book”
- 4. “The Penguin Spanish Phrase Book”
- 5. “Spanish Among Amigos Phrasebook”
- 6. “Medical Spanish Visual Phrasebook”
- 7. Learn Spanish Phrasebook
- 8. SpeakEasy Spanish Phrasebook
- Why Use a Spanish Phrasebook?
- And One More Thing…
1. Lonely Planet
Are you traveling to a Spanish-speaking country and hoping to sound like a local? Lonely Planet has just the phrasebook for you!
Lonely Planet is well known for its travel guides, but it also offers a terrific line of phrasebooks.
However, what really sets Lonely Planet’s phrasebooks apart from other phrasebooks is that they focus on specific regions. They go beyond the differences between Castilian and Latin American Spanish and offer Costa Rican, Mexican and Latin American. These provide regionally-specific terms and phrases (including idioms) in addition to more common travel terms.
If you’re not impressed with region-specific options, you should be! Don’t underestimate this valuable insight. For instance, you might not need to know a lot of terms to refer to monkeys in Spain, but you will in Costa Rica! Choosing the right phrasebook for the job can make the difference between clear communication and awkward pointing.
Sound like a native by utilizing the pronunciation tips, which varies between regions. Lonely Planet’s phrasebooks also offer both a phrasebook component and a dictionary, so they’re a handy all-around tool for travelers.
Lonely Planet phrasebooks are pocket-sized for easy use when traveling. However, they’re also visually appealing and easy to browse, making them great for studying.
2. “Rick Steves’ Spanish Phrase Book & Dictionary”
If you watch much PBS, you’re probably familiar with travel show host Rick Steves and his European adventures. If you’re looking to have your own European adventures in beautiful Spain, this phrasebook will come in handy.
“Rick Steves’ Spanish Phrase Book & Dictionary” includes a thematically organized phrasebook covering popular scenarios like dining and shopping. It also contains a dictionary for quick, easy word definitions. Additionally, you’ll find phonetic pronunciations—perfect for any readers who might not be fluent in Spanish, but are striving to say the words correctly.
Not only does the phrasebook include helpful travel phrases, it also includes information on rail transport and currency, making it a great choice for anyone traveling in Spain.
And as Rick Steves would tell you, be sure to donate to PBS.
3. “Easy Spanish Phrase Book”
Want to save nearly all your money for travels but still have a great phrasebook to help you on the way? Try “Easy Spanish Phrase Book,” an affordable option packed full of useful phrases.
“Easy Spanish Phrase Book” is a popular phrasebook that contains over 700 everyday phrases. It’s intended to be a quick reference guide or a handy study tool.
These phrases cover common scenarios like transportation, emergencies and other situations tourists might encounter. The book is not regionally specific, but a generic pronunciation is provided for each phrase.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that “Easy Spanish Phrase Book” is super cheap (just $3.00).
4. “The Penguin Spanish Phrase Book”
Sometimes, a lot of images can be overwhelming. A simple phrasebook gets the job done with little fanfare. After all, you don’t want to be left trying to guess what a color-coding scheme means when you could be ordering your second round of tacos.
“The Penguin Spanish Phrase Book” is a pocket-sized option that provides common phrases, vocabulary and basic grammar rules.
It’s designed to have a “clean” look, so it should be easy to refer to with few visual distractions. The book is organized in a three column approach, with the English phrase, Spanish phrase and Spanish pronunciation all appearing side-by-side.
“The Penguin Spanish Phrase Book” is aimed at readers with little or no Spanish experience, so it’s a good option for complete beginners.
5. “Spanish Among Amigos Phrasebook”
Common travel phrases like ¿Donde está el hotel? (Where is the hotel?) and ¿Cuánto cuesta? (How much does it cost?) may be great for doing touristy things, but if you want to make friends, you may want some more interesting conversation.
That’s where “Spanish Among Amigos Phrasebook” comes in. Unlike many other phrasebooks, this one doesn’t exclusively target travelers. Instead, it’s designed for anyone looking to engage in friendly, social conversations in Spanish.
“Spanish Among Amigos Phrasebook” focuses on common conversational phrases such as greetings, offering advice, sharing how you feel and more.
In addition to listing common phrases, the book also offers dialogues that show these phrases in context. Plus, there are cultural lessons staggered throughout to prepare you to make and keep friends. “Spanish Among Amigos Phrasebook” also offers activities, making this a terrific study tool. However, the lists of common phrases also make it useful as a reference book.
Making friends has never been so easy!
6. “Medical Spanish Visual Phrasebook”
You could get a severe sunburn on Mexico’s iconic beaches. You might sprain your ankle dancing the tango in the streets of Buenos Aires. You may find yourself lightly gored after running with the bulls in Spain.
Obviously, it would be better avoid these things altogether. Sunblock, sensible shoes and plenty of cardio should help. But don’t let yourself be caught off guard by a medical emergency while abroad.
While “Medical Spanish Visual Phrasebook” is intended for medical professionals who need to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients, it’s just as useful for communicating with Spanish-speaking doctor!
“Medical Spanish Visual Phrasebook” will take you through phrases to check in for an appointment, answer common medical questions and communicate symptoms. The book is designed to be used by pointing at specific words and phrases, making it easy for any level of Spanish speaker.
While medical emergencies are something you definitely want to avoid on your next trip abroad, studying these phrases and/or carrying this phrasebook can prepare you for a worst-case scenario.
7. Learn Spanish Phrasebook
Available: iOS | Android
Need a useful Spanish phrasebook for your trip to Spain but can’t bear to add a couple extra pounds to your already stuffed luggage?
Learn Spanish Phrasebook is a convenient app that gives you offline access to a useful phrasebook. It’s designed primarily for people traveling in Spain, so some of the information is specific to this region.
The phrasebook is organized thematically with popular categories like conversation and directions. You can also “favorite” phrases for easy access.
Each phrase is also accompanied by audio by a native speaker. Not only can this help you perfect your pronunciation, you can also play it for native speakers if you’re not comfortable speaking.
The free version contains over 400 phrases. A $4.99 upgrade gives you access to 800 phrases.
8. SpeakEasy Spanish Phrasebook
Available: iOS | Android
If you want a handy Spanish phrasebook that’ll have your back anytime, anywhere regardless of regional variations, SpeakEasy Spanish Phrasebook is the app for you.
The SpeakEasy Spanish Phrasebook app features over 900 useful phrases. The app works offline to spare you roaming charges, which can really add up when you’re traveling.
It also offers audio in both Castilian and Latin American Spanish, so it’s a well-rounded option. Additionally, transliterations make pronunciation easy even if you don’t play the audio.
Plus, SpeakEasy Spanish Phrasebook offers two convenient options for finding phrases: you can browse phrases thematically or use the search feature to find the phrase you’re looking for quickly.
Since this app also offers flashcards, it’s a good study tool to memorize valuable phrases.
SpeakEasy Spanish Phrasebook is $3.99 with additional in-app downloads available to provide more phrases (up to a total of 1,750).
Why Use a Spanish Phrasebook?
First of all, you may want to use Spanish phrasebooks because they’re convenient. Phrasebooks have a lot of useful phrases that you may need, and they’re all conveniently packed into one volume.
Additionally, Spanish phrasebooks are easy to use. Since phrasebooks are usually organized thematically, it’s easy to browse a phrasebook based on whatever scenario you’re in. For instance, if you’re shopping, skip to the section on shopping for some handy phrases.
Plus, you can use phrasebooks regardless of whether your Spanish ability. If you know Spanish, they can be helpful tools to ensure your phrases are spot on. If you don’t speak Spanish, they’re essential to communicate clearly. This makes phrasebooks a versatile tool regardless of your skill level.
They’re also useful when you’re studying with other resources. For example, if you pair your favorite phrasebook with the FluentU program, you’ll be able to see the phrases you’re learning in use by native Spanish speakers through hundreds of videos with interactive learning tools.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Finally, Spanish phrasebooks can actually help you improve your Spanish. They’re good study material since you can easily study specific sets of words and phrases that are truly useful and easily applicable.
If you need a helping hand, look no further than these Spanish phrasebooks. They’ll give you the words you need for foolproof communication.
And One More Thing…
If you've made it this far that means you probably enjoy learning Spanish with engaging material and will then love FluentU.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)