127 Useful Spanish Travel Phrases Every Traveler Should Learn

Your trip to any Spanish-speaking country will be so much more fun and meaningful if you can communicate with locals.

Below are the bare essentials, the most common survival Spanish travel phrases and words you will need on your trip.

Happy travels!

Contents

1. Basic Spanish Greetings and Phrases

spanish travel phrases

Spanish-speaking countries are generally very polite and you must always be courteous and say “hello” and “how are you?”

Do not worry about making mistakes: most people will try their utmost to understand you and to make sure you understand them. Just try your best and they will be happy to reciprocate!

  • Hola — Hi
    (OH-lah)
  • Buenos días — Good morning
    (BWEH-nos DEE-ahs)
  • Buenas tardes — Good afternoon
    (BWEH-nahs TAR-dehs)
  • Buenas noches — Good evening
    (BWEH-nahs NOH-chehs)
  • ¿Cómo se llama? — What’s your name? (Formal)
    (COH-moh seh YAH-mah)
  • ¿Cómo te llamas? — What’s your name? (Informal)
    (COH-moh teh YAH-mahs)
  • Me llamo… — My name is… 
    (meh YAH-moh)
  • Mucho gusto — Nice to meet you
    (MOO-choh GOOS-toh)
  • ¿Cómo está? — How are you? (Formal)
    (COH-moh es-TAH)
  • ¿Cómo estás? — How are you? (Informal)
    (COH-moh es-TAHS)
  • Bien, gracias — Good, thank you
    (bee-EHN, GRAH-cee-ahs)
  • Por favor — Please
    (pohr fah-VOHR)
  • Gracias — Thank you
    (GRAH-cee-ahs)
  • PerdónSorry
    (per-DOHN)
  • ¿Habla inglés? — Do you speak English?
    (AH-blah een-GLEHS?)
  • No hablo español — I don’t speak Spanish
    (no AH-bloh ehs-pah-NYOHL)

For even more useful Spanish greetings, check out the FluentU post on the topic, and this video where you can hear the pronunciation of many of these phrases!

2. Basic Spanish Travel Vocabulary for Many Uses

spanish travel phrases

You can go far with some very easy-to-remember travel phrases and words.

Use “I want,” “I like” and “Do you have…?” and if you do not know the noun, you can simply point at the object. 

You can also say a lot of things with very simple verbs we’re going to introduce—it may not be the sophisticated way you speak in English, but you will be understood.

  • Yo quiero, yo no quiero — I want, I don’t want
    (yoh kee-EH-roh, yoh noh kee-EH-roh)
  • Me gustaría — I would like (more polite)
    (meh goo-stah-REE-ah)
  • ¿Dónde está…? — Where is…?
    (DOHN-des-TAH…?

    Since donde ends in e and está starts with one, these two words flow into each other, almost like they were a single word.

  • ¿Cuánto cuesta? — How much does it cost?
    (KWAHN-toh KWEHS-tah?)
  • ¿Qué hora es? — What time is it?
    (keh OHR-ah ess?)
  • ¿Tiene…? — Do you have…?
    (tee-EHN-eh…?)
  • Yo tengo, yo no tengo — I have, I don’t have
    (yoh TEHN-goh, yoh noh TEHN-goh)
  • Yo entiendo, yo no entiendo — I understand, I don’t understand
    (yoh ehn-tee-EHN-doh, yoh noh ehn-tee-EHN-doh)
  • ¿Entiende? — Do you understand?
    (ehn-tee-EHN-deh?)
  • Yo quiero un boleto, un hotel, un taxi — I want a ticket, a hotel, a taxi
    (yoh kee-EH-roh oon boh-LEH-toh, oon oh-TEHL, oon tahk-SEE)

What we’ve seen so far is basic survival Spanish, so even if you can only remember these words and phrases they’ll still help a great deal!

Now that we’re moving on to a bit more complex stuff, it’s good to take time to practice everything so that you don’t forget it when you inevitably need it. Seeing and hearing this vocabulary used in context is an effective way of learning, and you can do this by exposing yourself to Spanish through different media, or language learning programs like FluentU

fluentu-spanish-video-lesson

This website and iOS/Android app takes authentic Spanish videos—covering everything from news reports to vlogs to inspiring talks—and turns them into immersive language lessons by adding learning tools. Each video comes with interactive subtitles, which you can just tap on to uncover information such as pronunciation, example sentences and different videos where that term is used.

You can also add any words you come across to multimedia flashcard decks, and follow those up with personalized quizzes that include speaking questions.

While normal online dictionaries usually lack context and don’t encourage recollection, the video dictionary on FluentU is a handy for learning (and remembering) new vocabulary and phrases. It provides different contexts so you can see how words are used and pronounced naturally, in a variety of situations.

fluentu-video-dictionary-example

3. Asking for Directions in Spanish

spanish travel phrases

If you get a bit lost or unsure of how to get somewhere, “¿dónde está?” is the simplest way of asking for directions. Below, we’ll share a few phrases, locations and other directions in Spanish that will be helpful on your trip:

  • ¿Dónde está la estación de ferrocarril? — Where is the railway station?
    (DOHN-des-TAH la ehs-ta-see-OHN deh feh-roh-cahr-REEL?)
  • ¿Dónde hay un restaurante? — Where is a restaurant?
    (DOHN-deh eye oon rehs-toh-RAHN-teh?)
  • Un tren — A train
    (oon trehn)
  • La calle…  — The street…
    (lah CAH-yeh…)
  • Un banco — A bank
    (oon BAHN-coh)
  • El baño — The bathroom
    (el BAHN-yoh)
  • Busco un hotel — I’m looking for a hotel
    (BOO-scoh oon oh-TEHL)
  • Yo necesito… — I need…
    (yoh neh-seh-SEE-toh…)
  • Yo necesito un hotel / un cuarto / un cuarto con baño — I need a hotel / a room / a room with a bathroom
    (yoh neh-seh-SEE-toh oon oh-TEHL / oon KWAHR-toh / oon KWAHR-toh cohn BAHN-yoh)
  • ¿Dónde hay una casa de cambio? — Where is the currency exchange?
    (DOHN-deh eye OON-ah CAH-sah deh CAHM-bee-oh?)
  • ¿Dónde está el banco? — Where is the bank?
    (DOHN-des-TAH ehl BAHN-koh?)
  • Dinero — Money
    (dee-NEH-roh)

Once you have asked a question, someone will answer you in Spanish. There are some simple directions that someone may give you in response—listen for these key words:

  • A la derecha — To the right
    (ah lah deh-REH-chah)
  • A la izquierda — To the left
    (ah lah ees-KYEHR-dah)
  • Derecho — Straight ahead
    (Deh-REH-choh)
  • En la esquina — At the corner
    (ehn lah ehs-KEE-nah)
  • A una cuadra, dos, tres, cuatro cuadras — In one, two, three, four blocks
    (ah OO-nah KWAH-drah, dohs, trehs, KWAH-troh KWAH-drahs)

If you want to brush up on your Spanish direction vocabulary, the video below gives a good overview of additional words and phrases that are worth knowing.

For a bit more practice, videos like this one from FluentU let you hear how this sort of encounter might sound in real life.fluentu-spanish-lesson-giving-directions

4. Spanish Travel Phrases for the Hotel

spanish travel phrases

You’ve finally found your hotel and you’re ready to check in! Staff at international chains will probably be able to communicate in English with you, but these phrases and questions will come in handy for local hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, etc—plus for when you need to make adjustments to your reservation, or are curious about other hotel amenities.

  • Yo tengo una reserva a nombre de… — I have a reservation under the name of…
    (yoh TEHN-goh OO-nah reh-SEHR-bah ah NOHM-bre deh…)
  • Estadía de tres noches — Three-night stay
    (eh-stah-DEE-ah deh trehs noh-chehs)
  • Una habitación para dos personas — A room for two people
    (OO-nah ah-bee-ta-SYON pah-rah dohs pehr-SOH-nahs)
  • Una habitación con una cama de matrimonio — A room with a double bed
    (OO-nah ah-bee-ta-SYON kohn OO-nah KAH-mah deh mah-tree-MOH-nee-oh)

    As you can see, habitación is a synonym of cuarto. You can use either term when booking a room.

  • ¿Dónde está la piscina? — Where is the pool?
    (DOHN-des-TAH lah pee-SEE-nah?)
  • ¿A qué hora es el desayuno? — What time is breakfast?
    (ah keh OHR-ah ess ehl deh-sah-YOO-noh?)
  • ¿Puedo solicitar una salida tardía? — Can I request for late check-out?
    (PWEH-doh soh-lee-see-TAHR OO-nah sah-LEE-dah tahr-DEE-ah?)
  • ¿Tiene servicio de habitaciones? — Do you have room service?
    (tee-EH-neh sehr-BEE-see-oh deh ah-bee-ta-SYO-nehs?)
  • ¿Cuál es la contraseña de WiFi? — What is the WiFi password?
    (kwahl ehs lah cohn-trah-SEHN-yah deh wai-fai?)
  • Una cama supletoria — An extra bed
    (OO-nah CAH-mah soo-pleh-TOH-ryah)
  • Vista del mar — Ocean view
    (BEES-tah dehl mahr)
  • Vista de la ciudad — City view
    (BEES-tah deh lah see-yoo-dahd)
  • Un balcón — A balcony
    (oon bahl-KOHN)
  • La terraza — The rooftop, terrace
    (lah tehr-RAH-zah)
  • El gimnasio — The gym
    (ehl him-NAH-see-oh)
  • La playa — The beach
    (lah PLAH-yah)
  • El vestíbulo — The lobby
    (ehl behs-TEE-boo-loh)

Check out the video below if you’d like a few more hotel-focused phrases, as well as an example of how a check-in might play out. 

5. Spanish Travel Phrases for the Restaurant

spanish travel phrases

Probably the most useful Spanish travel phrases you will need are the ones you would use in a restaurant.

Ask for anything by using quiero (kee-EH-roh) or quisiera (kee-see-EH-rah) — “I want” or “I would like.” And remember to say por favor and gracias!

  • Una mesa — A table
    (OO-nah MEH-sah)
  • Una mesa para dos, tres, cuatro — A table for two, three, four
    (OO-nah MEH-sah PAH-rah dohs, trehs, KWAH-troh)
  • Un menú — A menu
    (oon meh-NOO)
  • Sopa — Soup
    (SOH-pah)
  • Ensalada — Salad
    (ehn-sah-LAH-dah)
  • Hamburguesa — Hamburger
    (ahm-boor-GEH-sah)
  • Con salsa de tomate, mostaza, tomate, lechuga — With ketchup, mustard, tomato, lettuce
    (cohn SAHL-sah deh toh-MAH-teh, mohs-TAH-sah, toh-MAH-teh, leh-CHOO-gah)
  • Una entrada — An appetizer
    (OO-nah ehn-TRAH-dah)
  • Un postre — Dessert
    (OO-nah POHS-treh)
  • Una bebida — A drink
    (OO-nah beh-BEE-dah)
  • Agua — Water
    (AH-gwah)
  • Vino tinto, vino blanco — Red wine, white wine
    (BEE-noh TEEN-toh, BEE-noh BLAHN-koh)
  • Cerveza — Beer
    (sehr-BEH-sah)
  •  Un café — Coffee
    (oon kah-FEH)
  • ¡Señor! / ¡Señorita! — Calling a waiter or waitress
    (sehn-YOR, sehn-yo-REE-tah)
  • La cuenta — The check
    (lah KWEHN-tah)

It’s a great idea to get familiar with the names of different foods and drinks so that you can identify them on menus (or in the supermarket!) during your trip abroad. This video will share lots of useful vocabulary with you! 

You can also find videos related to food and eating out on FluentU, like this funny video about ordering food and then requesting the bill.

ordering-food-spanish-lesson-fluentu

6. Spanish Travel Phrases for the Airport and Other Ticketing Offices

spanish travel phrases

It’s time to soak in some culture! Whether you want to go see a show, check out an art exhibit, watch a local movie, or visit the next town (or country) over, you’ll need to buy some sort of ticket.

We’ll start with some airport-specific vocabulary—bearing in mind that many of these phrases are versatile and can be used in various situations—followed by more general vocabulary. 

  • Su pasaporte, por favor — Your passport, please
    (su pas-ah-POR-teh, pohr fah-VOHR)
  • Quisiera cambiar mi reserva – I would like to change my reservation
    (kee-see-EH-rah cahm-BEE-ar mee reh-SER-vah)
  • ¿Podría elegir mi asiento? – Could I choose my seat?
    (pohd-REE-ah eh-leh-HIR mee ah-see-EHN-toh) 
  • Quisiera cambiar mi asiento – I would like to change my seat
    (kee-see-EH-rah cahm-BEE-ar mee ah-see-EHN-toh) 
  • Este es mi equipaje de mano – This is my carry-on luggage
    (EHS-teh ehs mee eh-kee-PAH-heh deh MAH-noh)
  • ¿Se ha cancelado el vuelo? – Has the flight been canceled?
    (seh ah cahn-seh-LAH-doh ehl BWEH-lo)
  • ¿Dónde está la terminal internacional? – Where is the international terminal?
    (DOHN-des-TAH lah ter-mee-NAHL een-tehr-nah-syoh-NAHL)
  • ¿Dónde está la puerta de embarque? – Where is the boarding gate?
    (DOHN-des-TAH lah PWEHR-tah deh ehm-BAHR-keh)
  • ¿A qué hora es el embarque? — What time is boarding?
    (ah keh OHR-ah es ehl ehm-BAHR-keh?)
  • ¿Dónde puedo comprar las entradas? — Where can I buy tickets?
    (DOHN-deh PWEH-doh kohm-PRAHR ehn-TRAH-dahs?)

    Earlier we defined entrada as an “appetizer.” Entrada has multiple meanings related to “start” or “entry,” so you can also use it to say “ticket.”

  • ¿Cuánto cuesta una entrada? — How much does a ticket cost?
    (KWAHN-toh KWEHS-tah OO-nah ehn-TRAH-dah?)
  • Dos boletos de ida y vuelta — Two roundtrip tickets
    (dohss boh-LEH-tohs deh EE-dah ee BWEL-tah)
  • ¿Tiene un pase de un día? — Do you have a one-day pass?
    (tee-EH-neh oon PAH-seh deh oon DEE-ah?)
  • ¿A qué hora sale el próximo tren? — What time does the next train leave?
    (ah keh lahs dees-ko-TEH-kahs) ess ehl PROHK-see-moh trehn)
  • ¿De qué plataforma sale? — Which platform does it leave from?
    (deh keh plah-tah-FOHR-mah sah-leh?)
  • ¿Qué puerta? — Which gate?
    (keh PWEHR-tah?)

For more specific situations, here are some words and phrases you might need when purchasing tickets:

  • El espectáculo — The show, performance
    (ehl ehs-pehk-TAH-koo-loh)
  • El teatro — The theater
    (ehl teh-AH-troh)
  • La exposición — The exhibit
    (lah eks-poh-see-SYON)
  • El cine — The cinema
    (ehl SEE-neh)
  • Una película — A movie
    (OO-nah peh-LEE-koo-lah)
  • Un vuelo — A flight
    (oon BWEH-lo)
  • Viaje de ida — One-way trip
    (BYAH-heh deh EE-dah)
  • El asiento de pasillo — The aisle seat
    (ehl ah-see-YEN-toh deh pah-SEE-yoh)
  • El asiento de ventanilla — The window seat
    (ehl ah-see-YEN-toh deh behn-tah-NEE-yah)
  • La primera, segunda, tercera, cuarta fila — The first, second, third, fourth row
    (lah pree-MEH-rah, seh-GOON-dah, ter-SEH-rah, KWAHR-ta FEE-lah)

For practice with Spanish more specific to Spain, FluentU has videos like the one below where you can practice listening and watching a scenario play out. 

fluentu-spanish-lesson-buying-bus-tickets

7. Medical Emergencies in Spanish

spanish travel phrases

A smart traveler always comes prepared with some emergency over-the-counter meds. After all, you never know what could happen when you’re overseas.

But when those aren’t enough, these are the phrases that will help with your health-related concerns when in a Spanish-speaking country:

  • ¿Dónde está la farmacia? — Where is the pharmacy?
    (DOHN-des-TAH lah fahr-mah-SEE-yah?)
  • ¿Dónde hay un hospital más cercano? — Where is the nearest hospital?
    (DOHN-deh eye oon ohs-pee-TAHL mahs ser-KAH-noh?)
  • Seguro de salud internacional — International health insurance
    (seh-GOO-roh deh sah-LOOD een-tehr-nah-syoh-NAHL.)
  • No me siento bien. — I feel sick. / I don’t feel well.
    (no meh see-EHN-toh bee-EHN.)
  • ¿El doctor habla inglés? — Does the doctor speak English?
    (ehl dok-TOHR AH-blah een-GLEHS?)
  • ¿Necesito una receta? — Do I need a prescription?
    (neh-seh-SEE-toh OO-nah reh-SEH-tah?)
  • ¿Qué medicina necesito? — What medicine do I need?
    (keh meh-deh-SEE-nah neh-seh-SEE-toh?)
  • La cita médica — Doctor’s appointment
    (lah SEE-tah MEH-dee-kah)
  • La cita de seguimiento — Follow-up appointment
    (lah SEE-tah deh seh-gee-MYEN-toh)

If you need help explaining your symptoms, these terms will help you out. With the exception of the last phrase, start off by saying yo tengo, followed by any of the below:

  • Un resfriado — A cold
    (on rehs-FREE-ah-doh)
  • Dolor de garganta — Sore throat
    (doh-LOHR deh gahr-GAHN-tah)
  • Tos — Cough
    (tohs)
  • Fiebre — Fever
    (FEE-eh-breh)
  • Dolor de cabeza — Headache
    (doh-LOHR deh kah-BEH-sah)
  • Dolor de estómago — Stomachache
    (doh-LOHR deh eh-STOH-mah-goh)
  • Dolor de espalda — Backache
    (doh-LOHR deh eh-SPAHL-dah)
  • Resaca — Hangover
    (reh-SAH-kah)
  • Me gotea la naríz. — I have a runny nose.
    (meh goh-TEH-ah lah nah-REES.)

While this video is aimed at healthcare professionals, it still gives a lots of great medical phrases that could come in handy—as well as an idea of what to expect should you access healthcare facilities on your trip. 

8. Spanish Phrases for Having a Bit of Fun

people-dancing-in-a-bar

Of course, a trip to a Spanish-speaking country wouldn’t be complete without a little fiesta! If you’re keen to hit the town, here are a few phrases to help you get your groove on.

  • ¡Salud! — Cheers!
    (sah-LOO)
  • ¿Hay algún bar por aquí? – Is there a bar around here?
    (eye al-GOON bar pohr ah-KEE)
  • ¿Dónde están las discotecas? — Where are the clubs?
    (DOHN-des-TAHN lahs dees-ko-TEH-kahs)
  • ¿A qué hora abren las discotecas? – What time do the clubs open?
    (ah keh OHR-ah AH-bren lahs dees-ko-TEH-kahs)
  • ¿Me recomienda un lugar para bailar? – Can you recommend me a place to dance?
    (meh reh-com-ee-EHN-dah oon loo-GAR PA-rah baiy-LAHR)
  • ¿Quieres bailar conmigo?Do you want to dance with me?
    (kee-EH-rehs baiy-LAHR con-MEE-goh)
  • ¡Bailemos! — Let’s dance!
    (baiy-LEH-mohs)

9. Learning Spanish Numbers for Travel

spanish travel phrases

Counting is good if you can spend a half-hour or hour learning some basic numbers—it really is just some simple memorization. You can find numbers in any book on Spanish, use our guide to counting in Spanish or have a look at this video video below for a basic overview.  

But, if all else fails, pull out a pen and paper and write down the number you want and encourage the other person to do the same.

10. Final Tips and Information

Credit cards: many places in smaller towns still do not take credit cards so make sure you have enough cash with you. You can ask if you can use a credit card — una tarjeta de crédito (oo-nah tar-HEH-tah deh CREH-dee-toh).

If you have questions, you can always use a noun with a question. For example, you can pull out your credit card and say: ¿Tarjeta de crédito? They will understand.

An all-purpose word: No funciona (noh foon-see-OH-nah) — It doesn’t work! You can use this for a million circumstances! Just point at the shower or whatever and say “¡No funciona!”

Practice saying everything aloud so that you will remember some of the phrases without looking, and learn how to say these phrases relatively quickly and smoothly. Just hearing them spoken aloud will also help in your comprehension when people are speaking to you.

Take a small pocket dictionary with you. While you don’t want to try to look up verb declensions in the middle of talking with someone, you can look up nouns quickly.

Better yet, take a phrasebook. There are tons of incredible phrasebooks (some that are partially travel guides) offered by Lonely Planet which are perfect for traveling and pulling out at a moment’s notice. This way, if you ever forget one of your most important travel phrases, you’ll be able to remind yourself.

And if you find a regional Spanish phrasebook that focuses on your travel destination, you’ll find even more useful phrases that locals love to use.

 

Do you feel more prepared for your trip, now? Pack these Spanish travel phrases and words with the rest of your essentials and you will be sure to get the most from your vacation.

Enjoy!

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