Key phrases to know when traveling to Spain

Traveling to Spain but don’t speak Spanish? No fret! We’ve compiled the 5 most essential Spanish phrases so that you are fully prepared to communicate upon your arrival to Spain. Keep these 5 simple phrases handy, and you’ll be in with the locals in no time! Not to mention, impress all your friends and family with your incredibly useful Spanish.

1. Buenos Días (“Good Morning”): It’s not an official start to your day in Spain until you hear your first buenos días. Whether it’s your friendly neighbor or a complete stranger in an elevator, the day has not officially started until you mutually greet someone with this friendly phrase. And yes, you read right…it’s a cultural norm to greet people you don’t know! So, don’t be caught off guard when a complete stranger tries to wish you a good day!

2. Quiero un/una (“I want a…”): On the theme of cultural differences, this is the proper way to order your food and drinks in Spain. In English, if someone were to bark “I want a beer!” you might get some disconcerted looks. However, in Spain, we order in the imperative. It’s not rude, we just know what we want! DISCLAIMER: In English, we say “can I have a…”. Many English speakers who come to Spain use the translated sentence “puedo tener…” to order. This is a quick way to make yourself stand out like a tourist! So, order like the cool kids, and tell them what you want.

3. Gracias / De nada (“Thank you / You’re welcome”): In case you don’t already know these, memorize them and make mom proud! Whether you are thanking a Spaniard that gave you directions on the street, or a shop owner for helping you pick out the best jamón; a little bit of manners goes a long way!

4. ¿Dónde está? (“Where is…?”) An imperative question when you’re traveling. Below are some handy words and phrases that might come in handy when asking for directions in Spain! - El baño (“the bathroom”) - El/la mejor…(“the best…”) - La playa (“the beach”) - El estadio de fútbol (“the soccer stadium”) - El museo (“the museum”) - El restaurante (“the restaurant”). Example: “¿Dónde está el mejor restaurante?” “Where is the best restaurant?”

5. ¡Que aproveche! / Salud (“Enjoy your meal” / “Cheers!”) We love to eat, drink and be merry in Spain. Therefore, if you want to fully immerse yourself in the local culture, these two phrases are extremely important!

Now you are fully ready to hop on a plane and take on Spain, one Spanish phrase at a time. Before you know it, who knows… you might be fluent! Whether you become a Spanish guru or not, these 5 key phrases are a good place to start. Salud to a wonderful trip to Spain!

By: Casie Tennin May 24, 2016

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