travel spanish

Travel Spanish: 59 Essential Travel Phrases to Learn Before Your Trip

If you’re looking to learn some basic Spanish for a trip to a Spanish-speaking country, going the whole “grammar and word list” route is a bit complex and time-consuming.

Good news: learning Spanish travel phrases instead won’t only help you learn Spanish you can use right away in conversations…

Contrary to what many people think, such phrases aren’t even just a quick “hack” but a valid long-term strategy to learn Spanish and other languages (as I outline in my article about Spanish for beginners).

Anyway, more on that in a bit. First, let’s teach you some travel Spanish!

Travel Spanish: phrases to use upon arrival

First things first. If you’re planning to go to a Spanish-speaking country, learning how to greet people and be polite is a must. Otherwise, starting a Spanish conversation can be difficult. No matter what kind of transportation you use to get to a Spanish-speaking place, you probably will have to deal with different kinds of workers.

The best thing you can do if you want to ask for information, or just catch some worker’s attention, is to be polite and show respect. In Spanish, you will have to use a formal vocabulary to achieve this. Otherwise, you might sound a bit disrespectful. Keep in mind that if you want to be formal, you’ll say and conjugate verbs using “usted”. If you’re just talking with friends or someone you know, it’s enough to use “tú”. Now, let’s see some chunks that will help you be ready on Arrival at your destination.

SpanishEnglish
Hola.Hi/ Hello.
Buenos días.Good morning.
Buenas tardes.Good Afternoon.
Buenas noches.Good Evening / night.
¿Podría decirme donde queda la salida?Could you tell me where the exit is?
¿Me puede ayudar?Can you help me?
¿Habla ingles?Do you speak English?
¿Sabe donde puedo retirar mi equipaje?Do you know where I can collect my luggage?

Since you’re trying to improve your Spanish, we would recommend not to use “¿Habla ingles?” as the first alternative. If you do it, natives will try to find someone that could speak with you in English. Yet, if you find that communicating becomes complicated, it may save your day.

On the other hand, using “¿Me puede ayudar?” is among the best alternatives if you need help when arriving at the airport or any place. People will know immediately that you require assistance to do or get something.

If you use transportation like Taxis or Buses, dealing with luggage isn’t a challenge. But, if you take an airplane, and finding your luggage isn’t that easy, you can take advantage of the last phrase above.

No matter what your needs are, you should always use the following chunks if someone helps you or you ask for help.

SpanishEnglish
Por favorPlease
GraciasThank you

Saying “Por favor” and “Gracias” will not only help you to show respect. Also, they will indeed help you to “open” doors as people will always be willing to help you one more time.

For more airport Spanish, watch this video by Paulisima from Spring Spanish (a YouTube channel I co-founded):

Travel Spanish: at the airport

Spanish travel vocabulary: Necesitar and Querer

When traveling, Necesitar and Querer are two Spanish verbs that will help you in several situations. From the moment you arrive at your destination, to the moment you leave and go back to your hometown. After all, some Spanish students say that Necesitar is one of the most useful Spanish word for travel.

There are plenty of Spanish chunks you can learn and use with Necesitar and Querer. However, we will stick to the most important. Let’s see a few of them below.

SpanishEnglish
Necesito mi equipaje.I need my luggage.
Necesito un baño.I need a bathroom.
Necesito un taxi.I need a taxi.
Necesito ir a un cajero automatico.I need to go to an ATM.
Necesito un hotel.I need a hotel.
Necesito una habitación.I need a room.
Quiero una habitacion doble.I want a double room.
Quiero un boleto.I want a ticket.
Quiero comer.I want to eat.
Quiero salir de fiesta.I want to go out partying.

With these Spanish travel phrases, you’ll get any problem solved. From your basic needs to things on your bucket list like going partying in a Spanish-speaking country. If you haven’t added that activity yet, you should do it. Latin American people are among the most cheerful people all over the world, and hanging out with them is an unforgettable activity.

There are plenty of other Spanish phrases for travel you could learn… and in general, learning as many fixed phrases as possible (or chunks, as we call them) will help you speak Spanish more effortlessly in all kinds of situations. You can learn them trough actual conversation, but also through Spanish podcasts, Spanish YouTube channels, series,… This is how I got fluent in Spanish and 4 other languages, and it’s the strategy I’ve taught hundreds of thousands of language learnings through my book, workshops and courses.

If you’d like to learn more about learning Spanish through chunks, go ahead and request your free Spanish Chunking Starter Pack. In this pack, you’ll learn why Conversation Based Chunking™ is among the best language learning methods and you’ll get plenty of walkthrough videos, recommended resources, flashcard desks, and other tools to get you fluent in Spanish.

Getting along with Spanish-speaking people on the streets

Although most Spanish speakers are quite friendly because of their culture and way of living, getting along with them on the streets may not be as simple as that. It’s because some people feel that talking to strangers isn’t appropriate or just “not safe”. So, when starting a conversation or asking for help on the street, you will need to follow certain steps.

The first step is the approach. When approaching someone you don’t know on the streets, you must keep your distance and use some of the following Spanish phrases. They will help you catch people’s attention and move to the following step.

SpanishEnglish
Hola, disculpe…Hi, excuse me…
Disculpe señor/señoraExcuse me, Mister/ Miss
¡Hola! Buenos días/ tardes/ noches, disculpe…Hello! Good morning/afternoon/night, excuse me…

The approach is the most important step. After, it’s time to ask or request what you need. If you’re lost and you need an address or need help, the following chunks will help you get the job done.

SpanishEnglish
¿Dónde puedo tomar un taxi?Where can I take a taxi?
¿Dónde esta la parada de autobús mas cercana?Where is the nearest bus stop?
¿Donde está la estación de ferrocarril más cercana?Where is the nearest railway station?
¿Hay algún cajero automatico cerca?Is there an ATM nearby?
¿Cuanto cuesta un boleto para…?¿Cuanto cuesta un boleto para…?
¿Hay algún centro comercial cerca?Is there any shopping center nearby?
¿Sabe como puedo llegar a esta dirección?Do you know how I can get to this address?

After you get all you need and it’s time to move forward, saying “Gracias” to the ones who helped you is essential. It’s always important to say thanks. It will help you end the conversation and leave an “open door” to ask for help again if necessary.

In some Spanish-speaking countries, public transportation isn’t too organized and can sometimes be complicated. If you ever find yourself in that situation, you’ll need the full address of where you need to go. Then, using the last Spanish travel phrase is the best you can do.

Time to see some of these phrases/chunks in action! Here's Maria Fernanda, one of the Spring Spanish teachers:

Travel Spanish: taking a taxi

Essential Spanish phrases for the Hotel

If you’re a traveler there's no doubt that you’ll face some challenges when looking for accommodation. Let’s imagine you need to get a room and you have to talk to the staff of a hotel. Depending on your needs, there are several things you’ll have to ask. For example, room type, if the price includes breakfast, or other things like if you have access to the pool.

The following Spanish travel phrases will help you solve most issues and challenges you could have at a hotel or any kind of place to stay. So, don’t hesitate to use them when the time comes.

SpanishEnglish
Tengo una reserva a nombre de…I have a reservation under the name of…
Necesito una habitación para dos/tres personasI need a room for two/three people
¿La tarifa incluye desayuno?Does room cost include breakfast?
¿A qué hora es el desayuno?What time is breakfast?
¿Tiene servicio de habitaciones?Do you have room service?
Vista del marOcean view
Vista de la ciudadCity view
¿Cuál es la contraseña del Wi-Fi?What is the wifi password?
¿Puedo solicitar una salida tardía?Can I request a late checkout?
¿Donde está la piscina?Where is the pool?

Please note that if you have made a reservation, you’ll need either your name or a reservation number. If you get a reservation number, you would say “Hice una reserva con número….” instead of “Tengo una reserva a nombre de…”. Learn all the Spanish numbers.

On the other hand, getting a room with breakfast included is generally a great option. In that scenario, you could say “Quiero el servicio de desayuno incluido” (I want breakfast included). No matter what you ask or need, remember to use formal language and make use of “usted”.

Here's a good video about checking into a hotel, brought to you by Paulisima from Spring Spanish:

Travel Spanish: checking into your hotel

Spanish travel vocabulary: Medical Emergency phrases

Smart travelers always keep some medical supplies in their bags to face any kind of emergency. However, sometimes taking some pills won’t solve the problem, and learning Spanish travel phrases to deal with these situations is essential. Nobody wants to have an emergency when they are overseas. But, it could happen and you have to be prepared.

The following Spanish travel phrases will help you with your health-related concerns. It doesn’t matter in what Spanish-speaking country you are.

SpanishEnglish
¿Dónde esta la farmacia?Where's the pharmacy/ drug store?
¿Dónde hay un hospital cerca?Is there a hospital nearby?
No me siento bien.I don’t feel well / I feel sick.
¿El doctor habla inglés?Does the doctor speak English?
¿Qué medicina necesito?What medicine do I need?
Seguro de salud internacionalInternational health insurance
¿Necesito una receta?Do I need a prescription?
¿Cuando es la cita médica?When is the doctor’s appointment?
Cita médicaDoctor’s appointment
Cita de seguimientoFollow-up appointment

Although the Spanish chunks above will help you deal with most medical situations, sometimes, it’s necessary to explain any symptoms you might have. You can use “Yo tengo” before any of the Spanish words for travel shown below. They’ll help you explain your symptoms and any Spanish-speaking doctor will have no problem at the moment of giving you the right prescription.

SpanishEnglish
Un resfriadoA cold
TosCough
FiebreFever
Dolor de gargantaSore throat
Dolor de cabezaHeadach
Dolor de estómagoStomachache
Dolor de espaldaBackache
ResacaHangover
Me gotea la nariz.I have a runny nose.

Tip: To make yourself understood to native speakers, especially in more complex situations like this, this article on Spanish connectors will come in handy. It's an often-overlooked part of language learning but it can help you a lot.

Another tip: Want to see (and hear) all those phrases in action? Watch this video by Spring Spanish teacher Maura:

Travel Spanish: Spring Spanish teacher Maura helps you out

In summary

No matter what Spanish-speaking country you visit, keeping these Spanish phrases for travel will indeed help you deal with any scenario. Of course, if communicating becomes too complex, don’t hesitate to use the old life-saving phrase “¿Habla ingles?”. Be respectful, and your conversations will flow freely.

Want more? Requesting your free Spanish Chunking Starter Pack from Effortless Conversation is the best you can do if you’re planning to visit a Spanish-speaking destination. You’ll build your confidence and will feel much more comfortable when speaking Spanish. Also, this learning method helps you learn Spanish you can use in conversations right away – ideal for that upcoming trip!

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