Just Go Exploring uses affiliate links. If you purchase something through them, I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you. See my disclosures page for more info.

Basic Spanish Phrases For Travel

Getting to grips with some basic Spanish phrases can be incredibly helpful, whether you’re travelling to Spain or Latin America.

Wherever I go, I always try to make the effort to speak a bit of the local language. Being able to interact with local people (and read signs, and menus) makes travelling so much easier and more enjoyable.

It also shows locals that you genuinely care about their culture and appreciate them for hosting you during your stay.

And the best part? Spanish is one of the easiest languages to pick up! I’ve just spent 2 months in Spain and my Spanish improved a lot this time around.

From simple greetings and pleasantries to ordering tapas like a local, this guide has you covered. Pack your enthusiasm alongside your phrasebook – your Spanish adventure starts here!

Basic Words in Spanish

A few simple Spanish words and phrases can turn your trip from good to “magnifico“!

Understanding some of the basics can also help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed when you arrive in a Spanish-speaking country.

Here are a few basic words in Spanish to get you started.

  • Hola – Hello
  • Adiós – Goodbye
  • Gracias – Thank you
  • De nada – You’re welcome
  • Por favor – Please
  • – Yes
  • No – No
  • Buenos días – Good morning
  • Buenas noches – Good evening
  • Buenas tardes – Good afternoon
  • Perdón – Excuse me
  • Comida – Food
  • Agua – Water
  • Baño – Bathroom
  • Salud – Cheers (or, Bless you)
Looking down at a horseshoe bend in Sumidero Canyon in Chiapas, Mexico with the river winding its way through the canyon below

Common Spanish Phrases

Engaging with Spanish-speaking locals is much easier if you have a basic understanding of some everyday Spanish phrases.

Here are a few of the most common phrases that you’ll probably find yourself hearing (and saying!) every day.

  • ¿Cómo estás? – How are you?
  • Mucho gusto – Nice to meet you
  • Me llamo – My name is…
  • Lo siento – I’m sorry
  • Disculpe – Excuse me
  • ¿Me puedes ayudar? – Can you help me?
  • ¡Que bonito! – How beautiful!
  • Nos vemos – See you
  • Hasta luego – See you later
  • ¡Buena suerte! – Good luck!

Basic Spanish Phrases for Travellers

Next, we have a few simple and practical Spanish phrases. These will definitely come in handy whenever you’re travelling in a Spanish-speaking country.

While many people speak English in major cities and tourist hotspots, having these phrases in your pocket can be a lifesaver in smaller towns or rural areas.

  • Tengo una reservación – I have a reservation
  • ¿Dónde están [los baños], por favor? – Where are [the bathrooms], please?
  • ¿Cómo llego a ___? – How do I get to ___?
  • ¿Cuánto cuesta esto? – How much is this?
  • ¿Habla inglés? – Do you speak English?
  • Estoy perdido. ¿Me puede ayudar? – I’m lost. Can you help me?

Useful Spanish Phrases for Information

Having a basic understanding of common phrases in Spanish doesn’t just help with communication. It also paves the way to experiencing the rich, vibrant cultures where the language is spoken.

Here’s a list of phrases that can be useful for finding information, from Madrid to Montevideo, and Cuba to the Yucatán.

  • ¿Cómo se llama esto en español? – What is this called in Spanish?
  • ¿Puede hablar más despacio, por favor? – Can you speak slower, please?
  • No hablo español muy bien – I do not speak Spanish very well
  • No entiendo – I do not understand
  • ¿Puede repetir eso, por favor? – Can you repeat that please?
  • Necesito información – I need information
  • ¿Dónde está la oficina de información? – Where is the information office?
  • ¿Qué significa esto? – What does this mean?
  • ¿Qué hora es? – What time is it?
  • ¿Cuál es su dirección de correo electrónico? – What’s your email address?
  • ¿Cómo se dice ____ en español? – How do you say ____ in Spanish?
  • ¿Qué es esto/eso? – What is this/that?
  • ¿Puede ayudarme? – Can you help me?
  • ¿Puedo usar su teléfono? – Can I use your phone?

Useful Phrases for Directions in Spanish

Navigating through a Spanish-speaking city might feel intimidating at first. However, armed with these useful phrases, you’ll find it much easier to get around (and ask for directions, if necessary).

  • ¿Dónde está el/a…? – Where is the…?
  • ¿Cómo llego a…? – How do I get to…?
  • ¿Puede mostrarme en el mapa? – Can you show me on the map?
  • Vaya todo recto – Go straight ahead
  • Gire a la derecha/izquierda – Turn right/left
  • Está cerca/lejos – It’s near/far
  • Está a la vuelta de la esquina – It’s around the corner
  • Esta es la esquina – This is the corner
  • ¿Por dónde se va al/a la…? – Which way is it to…?
  • ¿Puedo ir a pie o necesito un taxi? – Can I walk there or do I need a taxi?

Basic Spanish Phrases for Transportation

Likewise, knowing a few key Spanish phrases relating to transportation can be extremely useful. Here are some of the most common and helpful ones.

Whether you’re taking the metro in Spain, a bus in Mexico, flights across South America, or even a quick taxi in Costa Rica, these phrases are commonly used throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

  • ¿Dónde puedo tomar un taxi? – Where can I get a taxi?
  • ¿Cuánto cuesta ir a…? – How much does it cost to go to…?
  • Quiero ir a… – I want to go to…
  • ¿Dónde está la parada de autobús? – Where is the bus stop?
  • ¿A qué hora sale el próximo tren? – What time does the next train leave?
  • ¿Cuánto tiempo tarda en llegar a…? – How long does it take to get to…?
  • ¿Cómo voy al aeropuerto? – How do I get to the airport?
  • ¿Este autobús va a…? – Does this bus go to…?
  • Necesito un billete de ida y vuelta – I need a round trip ticket
  • ¿Dónde se compran los billetes? – Where do I buy tickets?
  • Estoy perdido. ¿Puede ayudarme? – I’m lost. Can you help me?
  • ¿Cómo viajo desde [Cozumel a Tulum]? – How do I travel from [Cozumel to Tulum]?

Basic Spanish Phrases About Accommodation

Finding accommodation is usually one of the key challenges of travelling. Whether you’re in a new country or one that you’re already familiar with, being able to communicate about where you’re staying is vital.

Having to negotiate the process in another language can make the whole thing even more tricky. However, mastering a few core Spanish phrases relating to accommodation can significantly ease the process.

Whether it’s enquiring about availability, cost, or even requesting specific services, here are some phrases to help you enjoy a comfortable stay.

  • ¿Tiene habitaciones disponibles? – Do you have any rooms available?
  • ¿Cuánto cuesta por noche? – How much does it cost per night?
  • ¿El precio incluye el desayuno? – Is breakfast included in the price?
  • Necesito una habitación doble – I need a double room
  • ¿Hay Wi-Fi gratis? – Is there free Wi-Fi?
  • ¿Dónde está el elevador? – Where is the elevator?
  • Me gustaría reservar una habitación – I would like to book a room
  • ¿Hay servicio de habitación? – Is there room service?
  • La habitación está sucia – The room is dirty
  • Me siento segura en este hotel – I feel safe in this hotel
  • Tiene un adaptador de enchufe? – Do you have a plug adaptor?
  • Quiero una habitación con una vista bonita – I want a room with a nice view
  • ¿Hay un seguro en la habitación? – Is there a safe in the room?
  • ¿Puede despertarme a las 7 a.m.? – Can you wake me up at 7 a.m.?
  • Necesito una cuna para el bebé – I need a crib for the baby

Helpful Spanish Phrases for Shopping

Shopping is often a fun experience when travelling. Whether you’re looking for food, clothes, or souvenirs, the following phrases might be the difference between a good buy and a regrettable purchase.

  • ¿Cuánto cuesta? – How much does it cost?
  • ¿Cuánto es el descuento? – How much is the discount?
  • ¿Se puede pagar con tarjeta de crédito? – Can I pay with a credit card?
  • Solo efectivo – Cash only
  • ¿Tiene este en una talla más grande? – Do you have this in a larger size?
  • ¿Tiene este en otro color? – Do you have this in another colour?
  • Eso es demasiado caro – That’s too expensive
  • ¿Puede bajar el precio? – Can you lower the price?
  • Quiero devolver esto – I want to return this
  • Estoy buscando… – I am looking for…
  • ¿Dónde están los probadores? – Where are the fitting rooms?

Of course, always remember “por favor” and “gracias” too!

Helpful Phrases for Dining Out in Spanish-Speaking Countries

Experiencing local cuisine is not only a delight for the senses but also a gateway for cultural understanding.

When eating out in a Spanish-speaking country, it’s helpful to know how to order food, ask about ingredients, and otherwise comment on the meal itself.

Here are some useful Spanish phrases to enhance your dining experience. Don’t be afraid to try new dishes and practice your Spanish restaurant vocabulary!

  • ¿Puede mostrarme el menú, por favor? – Can you please show me the menu?
  • ¿Cuál es el platillo del día? – What is the dish of the day?
  • Quisiera ordenar… – I would like to order…
  • ¿Podría sugerirme algo? – Could you suggest something for me?
  • Soy alérgico/a a… – I’m allergic to…
  • ¿Este platillo contiene…? – Does this dish contain…?
  • ¿Tienen opciones vegetarianas / veganas? – Do you have vegetarian/vegan options?
  • No como carne / pescado / lácteos – I don’t eat meat/fish/dairy
  • ¿Puedo tener la cuenta, por favor? – Can I have the bill, please?
  • Estuvo delicioso! Gracias – It was delicious! Thank you
  • Buen provecho – Enjoy (your meal)

Spanish Question Words

Whenever I travel, I find that question words (who, what, where, when, how, etc.) are some of the most useful words to learn in any language.

Understanding Spanish question words will help you out in many different scenarios. They form the foundation for a host of questions, allowing for improved interactions and a deeper understanding of the Spanish language as a whole.

  • ¿Qué? – What?
  • ¿Dónde? – Where?
  • ¿Cuándo? – When?
  • ¿Quién? – Who?
  • ¿Por qué? – Why?
  • ¿Cómo? – How?
  • ¿Cuál? – Which?
  • ¿Cuánto/a? – How much?
  • ¿Cuántos/as? – How many?
  • ¿De quién? – Whose?

Unlike English, you’ll notice that Spanish question words often include accent marks. These marks help to distinguish question words from their statement counterparts which are otherwise spelled identically.

For example, “por qué” means “why”, while “porque” means “because”. Or, “que” (that) versus “¿que?” (what); and “como” (like, as) versus “¿como?” (how).

These tiny differences make a big difference when it comes to the meaning of a sentence. Thankfully, they’re fairly easy to learn.

Differences Between Spanish In Spain vs. Latin America

Spanish spoken in Spain (or, Castilian Spanish) is often considered to be the “standard” form of the language. It has a much more formal and traditional feel to it, and the accent is famously clear and distinct.

In contrast, Latin American Spanish is typically much more relaxed and informal, with many different regional variations in pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary.

For example, in Latin America, there are many indigenous words and expressions that have made their way into the language, while in Spain this isn’t so common.

Latin American Spanish does not include the use of vosotros, which is only found in Castilian Spanish. In Latin America, the pronoun “ustedes” is used as the plural form of “you”.

Ustedes is considered formal and can be used to refer to both a group of people you know and a group of people you do not know. On the other hand, vosotros is used only for familiar groups.

Additionally, some Latin American countries have adopted the “” form for more informal settings.

In contrast, Castilian Spanish prefers the use of “vosotros” as its plural pronoun instead of “ustedes”. This is another thing that makes it distinct from other varieties of Spanish.


Numbers in Spanish

Understanding the Spanish numbering system is useful in a wide range of scenarios, especially when it comes to transactions, discussing times, and navigating transportation.

Below is a list of simple numbers along with some larger ones:

  • Cero – 0
  • Uno / Una (depending on gender) – 1
  • Dos – 2
  • Tres – 3
  • Cuatro – 4
  • Cinco – 5
  • Seis – 6
  • Siete – 7
  • Ocho – 8
  • Nueve – 9
  • Diez – 10
  • Once – 11
  • Doce – 12
  • Trece – 13
  • Catorce – 14
  • Quince – 15
  • Dieciséis – 16
  • Diecisiete – 17
  • Dieciocho – 18
  • Diecinueve – 19
  • Veinte – 20
  • Treinta – 30
  • Cuarenta – 40
  • Cincuenta – 50
  • Sesenta – 60
  • Setenta – 70
  • Ochenta – 80
  • Noventa – 90
  • Cien / Ciento – 100
  • Mil – 1,000
  • Diez mil – 10,000
  • Cien mil – 100,000
  • Un millón – 1,000,000

To form numbers between these, combine the tens and units. For instance:

  • “Twenty-one” is Veintiuno (20 + 1)
  • “Thirty-two” is Treinta y dos (30 + 2)

For numbers in the hundreds and thousands, state the hundreds or thousands followed by the tens and units. For example:

  • “One hundred and twenty-three” is Ciento veintitrés
  • “Two thousand and nineteen” is Dos mil diecinueve

See Also

Check out some of my other posts on learning languages for travel:

Final Thoughts

Preparing to visit a foreign-speaking country can sometimes seem daunting. But, with a little practice and a sense of adventure, speaking a bit of the local language can really enhance your travel experience.

Language is an important part of any culture. And even if you don’t become fluent in the language, having a few basic words and phrases up your sleeve can open up a world of possibilities and experiences.

So why not give it a try today? You’ll soon find yourself chatting away with ease – and hopefully understanding what other people are saying too!

And if you want to take your Spanish learning to the next level, check out SpanishDictionary.com.

IMPORTANT: Never travel without travel insurance!

Here are three companies that I’ve used, and thoroughly recommend:

  • HeyMondo – the best value travel insurance provider on the market. They cover virtually every country in the world, they have an easy-to-use app, and their policies are straightforward and upfront, with minimal (often no) deductibles and excesses.
  • SafetyWing – if you’re a digital nomad like me, it’s essential that you have suitable insurance. It’s super flexible and affordable, you can sign up for as little or as long as you want, and can activate and deactivate it whenever you need to.
  • World Nomads – for adventurous travellers, covers 200+ activities that many other insurers won’t, such as skydiving, heli-skiing, rock climbing, rafting, scuba diving, cliff jumping, and kiteboarding (not available for residents of every country – check here).

Want to start your own blog?

I believe in transparency: Please note that some links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something through them, I might earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. (For example, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through some of these links.) However, I only link to products and companies that I trust and honestly recommend. See my disclosures page for more information. The income goes towards keeping this site up and running. Thanks for your support.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Who Am I?


  • I’m Alex Tiffany.  Former corporate city robot; lifelong travel addict.


  • I’m on a mission to make adventurous travel accessible to all.


  • I created this site to inspire, encourage and enable as many people to get outside and explore as much of our beautiful world as possible.