Spanish for Travelers: How to Speak Like a Local

If you are planning a trip to Spain or another Spanish-speaking country in Latin America, you will want to know some simple Spanish phrases before you set off.

The good news is that you can start learning Spanish today with this helpful guide! We will walk you through some basic Spanish phrases and specific Spanish travel phrases for your trip.

Moreover, we'll give you some pointers for learning Spanish as a beginner. You will be speaking Spanish like a local in no time with the help of this guide.

English speakers can learn Spanish relatively easily with a bit of effort. Your Spanish learning journey starts today!

Learning to Speak Spanish

The Spanish language is the second most spoken language in the world and it is the official language of 20 countries and one territory! If you learn to speak Spanish, you will be able to talk to millions of people around the world.

You can develop your speaking skills from home by engaging with Spanish TV shows and movies and shadowing the speech. This means repeating the words and phrases back as you hear them spoken by native speakers.

You will find some brilliant Spanish-language TV shows and movies on Lingopie. This is a streaming platform designed specifically for language learners to immerse themselves in a new language and develop their comprehension and language skills.

When choosing a show or movie on Lingopie, note the flag attached to the item. If it is a Spanish flag, the show will be in European Spanish. If the flag is of another Spanish-speaking country, it will be Latin American Spanish.

There are varieties of Spanish spoken in Latin America and all around the Spanish-speaking world. While any Spanish speaker can understand another, regardless of their origins, it can be helpful to learn beginner Spanish based on just one country's accents.

Now, let's dive into some basic Spanish travel phrases and greetings to get you started.

Basic Spanish Phrases

¡Hola! ¿Qué tal?

Let's kick off this useful vocabulary list with "hello, how are you?", a phrase that you will use a hundred times on your next trip to Spain, Central or South America.

Other Spanish greetings include:

  • Buenos días - Good day/ good morning
  • Buenas tardes - Good afternoon/ good evening
  • Buenas noches - Good night

You can use these phrases as you would in English; saying "good morning" until midday, then switching to "good afternoon"/ "good evening" until nighttime.

Many people will simply say buenas for "good afternoon". This will make you sound just like a local!

¿Por qué?/ Porque

These two Spanish phrases often get confused by beginners. ¿Por qué? as two words with an accent means "why?", while porque as one word with no accent means "because".

Por favor

Of all the Spanish words and phrases you learn today, this is one of the most important.

Por favor means "please". As you begin to speak Spanish on holiday, you will find yourself using por favor all the time.

¿Cómo te llamas?

This question means "what's your name?" This is a good addition to your Spanish vocabulary, as it will help you meet people on your trip.

As you begin to discover new words in Spanish, you may be struck by the spelling of some. The double "l" in llamas is pronounced like an English "y".

Me llamo...

"My name is..." is a very useful phrase to learn off the bat for introducing yourself.

Mucho gusto

Once you have introduced yourself, you can say mucho gusto, meaning "nice to meet you".

Alternatively, many people will say encantado/a, depending on their gender (the "o" ending is for men, the "a" for women).

¿Cómo está?/ ¿cómo estás?

"How are you?" is one of the most used phrases you will learn today.

The first version of the phrase, cómo está, is in the formal language, while cómo estás is informal. Use the first with new people or people senior to you. You can use the latter with friends or a child.

¿Qué hora es?

Another handy phrase to add to your vocabulary list is "what time is it?"

Granted, you will most likely have your phone or watch on you, but perhaps the time zone difference is confusing you and you want clarification!

Spanish Travel Phrases

Now, let's look at some travel phrases and useful words that will help you to navigate your Spanish trip.

No hablo español (muy bien)

Speaking of useful Spanish travel phrases, we have "I don't speak Spanish (very well)".

But this won't be true for long!

¿Habla Inglés?/ ¿Hablas Inglés?

These useful Spanish travel phrases mean "do you speak English?"

We won't get into Spanish grammar today, but this is once again the difference between the formal and informal language in Spanish.

The former phrase is formal, while the latter is informal. Spanish verbs change depending on who you are talking to and whether you are speaking formally or not.

¿Cuánto cuesta?

When in the shops in Spain or another Spanish-speaking country, you will undoubtedly want to ask ¿cuánto cuesta? , meaning "how much does it cost?" at some point.

Of course, you will need to know your numbers to understand the words and phrases the shopkeeper says in response.

¿Dónde está...?

This question starter means "where is...?" and can be accompanied by all manner of words and phrases.

Here are some examples of full questions you may ask:

  • ¿Dónde está el aeropuerto? - Where is the airport?
  • ¿Dónde está la terminal international? - Where is the international terminal?
  • ¿Dónde está la puerta de embarque? - Where is the boarding gate?

A la derecha/ a la izquierda

Once you have asked for directions, you will need to understand the response.

A la derecha means "to the right", while a la izquierda means "to the left".


Derecha is not to be confused with derecho, which means "straight".

  • Sigue derecho y gira a la derecha - Continue straight and turn right

A una cuadra

"In one block" is another phrase you may hear a lot. Learn your Spanish numbers so you know how many blocks away your destination lies.

  • A dos cuadras - Two blocks away
  • A tres cuadras - Three blocks away
  • A cuatro cuadras - Four blocks away
  • A cinco cuadras - Five blocks away

While you might not associate numbers with travel phrases, they are essential!

¿Me trae... por favor?

¿Me trae... por favor? means "can you bring me... please?" This is a simple way to order food or drink in Spain. Just be sure to include the "please" so you don't sound demanding!

¿Me podría ayudar?

In an emergency situation, you can ask a friendly stranger "could you help me?" But hopefully, you will not need to do so.

¡Ayuda! means "help!"


You probably won't need to say cuidado at any point in Spain or any of the other Spanish-speaking countries, but you might hear it or see it written on warning signs.

Cuidado means "take care" or "warning". If you see a sign saying cuidado, you know there is a hazard nearby.

This is an essential piece of Spanish vocabulary.

Why You Should Learn Spanish Phrases

There are a multitude of reasons to learn Spanish, including the job and travel opportunities that having a second language offers you. Moreover, you can enjoy content made for Spanish-speaking people and have fun getting to know new cultures.

You do not need to be fluent to enjoy these benefits. A good level of conversational Spanish will make all the difference to your Spanish travel experiences and employability.

While some people in Spain and South America speak English, you should never assume you will run into them on your travels. The best way to navigate a Spanish-speaking country is with Spanish words and phrases.

Moreover, learning Spanish will help you to understand your own native language. When you learn the grammar of another language, you develop a deeper appreciation for your own vernacular.

Lastly, it feels great to learn a new skill. It is fun to practice Spanish and watch yourself improve. Being able to communicate in a Spanish-speaking country is a real boost to your confidence. So, practice your Spanish travel phrases daily!

When you can speak a second language, the world feels a lot more accessible.

Let's look at some frequently asked questions relating to Spanish travel phrases.

Do I have to learn Spanish to visit a Spanish-speaking country?

You do not have to learn Spanish to visit Spanish-speaking countries but it is recommended to learn some basic Spanish phrases. When you can introduce yourself, ask for directions and order food and drink, your travel experience is enhanced and made easier. Moreover, the locals will appreciate your efforts and be more helpful.

How can I learn Spanish by myself?

You can learn Spanish by yourself by using the available language-learning resources. For instance, by visiting Lingopie online or downloading it to your phone. Lingopie is available on iPhone and Android apps. Moreover, listen to Spanish music and note down useful vocabulary.

How long does it realistically take to learn Spanish?

How long it takes to learn Spanish depends on how long each day you set aside for studying and which methods you use. It is a good idea to use a range of resources and study methods. Moreover, if you choose to sign up for Spanish classes, you may progress faster than learning Spanish alone.

Summing Up: Spanish for Travelers: How to Speak like a Local

As you can see, Spanish is one of the most beautiful languages in the world, and one of the most widely spoken. So, it makes sense to study Spanish and open new doors to travel opportunities and new cultures.

We have listed some useful Spanish travel phrases for beginners to get you started on your Spanish journey. You can progress to intermediate Spanish and, eventually, advanced Spanish with the help of language-learning apps and websites.

Remember to visit Lingopie for access to Spanish telenovelas and other awesome Spanish-language content. Lingopie also offers content in 7 other popular languages.

You've successfully subscribed to The blog for language lovers |
Great! Next, complete checkout to get full access to all premium content.
Error! Could not sign up. invalid link.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Error! Could not sign in. Please try again.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Error! Stripe checkout failed.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Error! Billing info update failed.