Spanish for holidays and trips: our travel “survival kit”
Going from one continent or city to another by train, plane, car or boat.
Arriving in the unknown or returning home, on a work trip or on holiday, with family or alone.
Travelling is one of our favourite activities.
If you’re learning Spanish, it’s probably because you want to explore the Spanish-speaking world.
Being able to speak the language of the country you’re visiting is very rewarding, as it makes your time there more authentic, immersive and impressive.
For those planning on visiting Spain or Latin America soon, we’ve prepared a small survival kit for you to take with you.
Spanish for holidays and trips: the moment you arrive. Welcome!
When you arrive at the airport or train station, excitement is at its peak!
You want to rush to the hotel to drop off your luggage before exploring the city centre.
But…it’s best to take things one step at a time. First, you have to get your bearings at the airport.
Here are some useful words that you’ll need:
- “Salidas” (“Departures”)
- “Llegadas” (“Arrivals”)
- “Pasajeros en tránsito” (“Transit passengers”)
- “Información” (“Information”)
If someone is coming to collect you, you’ll need to find the “punto de encuentro” (“meeting point”).
Your first interaction with locals will usually be as soon as you get off the plane or train.
And your first question will probably be: “Where’s the exit, the taxi rank, the information desk…?”.
For this, we use the verb which refers to a geographical location: “Estar”.
- “¿Dónde está la salida?” (“Where is the exit?”)
- “¿Dónde está el punto de encuentro?” (“Where is the meeting point?”)
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In Spain and Latin America, people are very friendly and welcoming – they’ll always be someone happy to help you.
Spanish for holidays and trips: communicating in Spanish. Let’s go!
A word of advice: communicate as much as you can in Spanish! Take advantage of every opportunity to speak.
Ask questions about the town and its history. Or ask for advice on places to visit and where to find good restaurants… Make the most of your language immersion!
Of course, your first challenge will be to make yourself understood and understand other people.
If you’re jet-lagged, tired from a busy week or don’t know much Spanish, let people know.
That way, they’ll adapt to your level, making it much easier for you to understand everything.
Make life easier for yourself with this “emergency” vocabulary.
- “Estoy aprendiendo español”. (“I’m learning Spanish”)
- “Hablo español desde hace poco”. (“I just started learning Spanish”)
- “Entiendo bien el español, pero me cuesta hablarlo”. (“I understand Spanish well but find it difficult to speak it”)
- “Perdona, no entiendo, ¿puedes repetir?”. (“Sorry, I don’t understand, can you repeat?”)
- “Puedes hablar más despacio”. (“Can you speak slower?”)
- “No entiendo” (“I don’t understand”)
- “No entiendo nada de nada”. (“I don’t understand at all”)
- “¿Qué significa la palabra…?”. (“What does the word…mean?”)
- “¿Cómo se escribe…?”. (“How do you write…?”)
Spanish for holidays and trips: meeting people. Say hi!
It’s common for people to greet each other in the street and in restaurants using the informal “tú” form.
If someone nice talks to you, start a conversation with them. You could become great friends!
That conversation could even lead to more than just a friendship…so talk to them! Don’t be shy… 😉.
To break the ice, there’s only one solution… introduce yourself! Ask where they like to hang out so you can discover non-touristy places.
Remember that you’re a foreigner in that country. The simple fact that you come from another country is a conversation topic in itself.
It’s something out of the ordinary for the locals, and they’ll want to know more about you.
Example of a short conversation
- “Hola, ¿qué tal?” (“Hi, how are you?”)
- “Me llamo Karim. ¿Y tú, cómo te llamas?” (“My name is Karim. What’s your name?”)
- “Me llamo X. Encantado” (“I’m X. Nice to meet you”)
- “Encantado” (“Nice to meet you too”)
- “¿Cuántos años tienes? / ¿Qué haces aquí en Barcelona? / ¿Eres de aquí?” (“How old are you?” / “What are you doing in Barcelona?” / “Are you from here?”)
Don’t forget to ask for their contact details before you leave!
- “¿Tienes Facebook? ¿Te añado como amigo(a)?” (“Do you have Facebook? Can I add you as a friend?”)
- “¿Me das tu número de móvil?” (“Can I get your phone number?”)
- “Aquí tienes mi número” (“Here’s my number”)
Spanish for holidays and trips: exploring new places. Photo time!
One of our favourite things to do when we travel is visit new places!
The city, its winding streets, touristy places, not-so-touristy places, museums, important monuments…
It’s a great way to learn about the country and practise Spanish.
Take a guided tour or hire an audio guide in Spanish so you engage with the language as much as possible.
Here you have a list of the 7 most visited museums in Spain:
- Museo Nacional del Prado (Madrid)
- Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid)
- Museo Guggenheim (Bilbao)
- Teatro del Museo Dalí (Figueres)
- La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (Valencia)
- Centro de Investigación del Museo Nacional de Altamira (Cantabria)
- El Museo Picasso de Málaga
The 9 most visited monuments:
- La Alhambra in Granada
- Basílica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
- Mezquita de Córdoba
- Catedral de Santiago de Compostela
- Catedral de Burgos
- El Acueducto romano de Segovia
- Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Zaragoza
- Teatro Romano de Mérida
- La Giralda y los Reales Alcázares de Sevilla
If you need help with something, you’ll always be able to find someone to give you a hand. Check out these useful phrases:
- “Perdona, nos hemos perdido”. (“Excuse me, we’re lost”)
- “Por favor ¿puedes ayudarme?”. (“Please can you help me?”)
- “Estoy buscando la Plaza Real”. (“I’m looking for the Plaza Real”)
- “¿Puedes indicarme dónde se encuentra en el mapa…?” (“Could you show me where… is on the map?”)
Here is your complete Spanish survival kit! We hope you’ll find it useful. If you’re travelling in Europe, don’t forget the emergency telephone number is 112.
What’s your next trip going to be? Where will you go? Make sure to use your Spanish-language skills!