Survival Spanish Guide: Most useful Spanish phrases for Beginners

Visiting a Spanish-speaking country soon? Whether you’re going to Spain or Latin America you will need to know some useful Spanish phrases for travelers to survive! But not only, the more Spanish you know, the better you will integrate with locals, and that will make you have a more authentic experience!

Don’t worry! Oh My Good Guide is here to help you! Although each Spanish-speaking country has its different accents and slang terms, in our Survival Spanish Guide you will find the most useful Spanish phrases for travelers to learn before traveling to Spain or Latin America. Also, I would like to share with you our new post with lots of useful tips and free apps you can use to learn Spanish from home 👉 How to learn a new Language on your own at home!

That being said, let’s start with our Survival Spanish for beginners adventure:

1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF IN SPANISH: Must-know Spanish phrases for travelers to meet locals

Handshaking and introducing yourself

First things first! If you are traveling to a Spanish-speaking country and want to mix up with locals, learn these useful Spanish phrases to introduce yourself and start making friends:

– How to Introduce Yourself and Get to Know others:

  • Hola – Hi/Hello
  • Buenos días – Good day/Good morning
  • Buenas tardes – Good afternoon
  • Buenas noches – Good evening/Good night
  • Adiós  Goodbye
  • Hasta luego – See you later
  • Hasta mañana – See you tomorrow
  • ¿Qué tal? – What`s up? (how are you?)
  • ¿Qué pasa? – What`s up? (what’s happening?)
  • ¿Cómo estás? – How are you? (familiar)
  • ¿Cómo está? How are you? (formal)
  • Bien gracias Fine, thank you
  • ¿Cómo te llamas? – What is your name (familiar)
  • ¿Cómo se llama? – What is your name (formal)
  • Me llamo… – I am called…
  • Mi nombre es… – My name is…
  • Soy… – I am …
  • ¿Cuántos años tienes? – How old are you? (familiar)
  • ¿Cuántos años tiene? – How old are you? (formal)
  • Tengo … años  I am …. years old
  • ¿De dónde eres? – Where are you from? (familiar)
  • ¿De dónde es? – Where are you from? (formal)
  • Soy de…. – I am from
  • ¿Adónde vives? – Where do you live? (familiar) 
  • ¿Adónde vive? – Where do you live? (formal)
  • Vivo en… – I live in
  • cerca de … – near
  • lejos de… – far from
  • Conozco …. – I know … (place or person)

– Occupations and interests useful phrases

  • ¿En qué trabajas? – What job do you do?
  • Soy… – I am…
  • ¿Cuales son tus intereses? – What are your interests?
  • ¿Qué te gusta hacer en el tiempo libre/el tiempo de ocio? – What do you like to do in your spare time?
  • Me gusta… – I like to…
  • Ir al cine – go to the cinema
  • Tomar una copa con mis amigos go for a drink with my drinks
  • Ver la televisión – watch T.V.
  • Escuchar música – listen to music
  • Leer – read
  • Ir de compras – go shopping
  • Ir a la playa – go to the beach
  • ¿Te gusta el deporte? – Do you like sport?
  • ¿Juegas al fútbol o al baloncesto? – Do you play football or basket?
  • ¿Tocas algún instrumento? – Do you play some instrument?

2. GETTING AROUND IN SPANISH: Question words, places and directions

Exploring a map in the middle of city

Now it is time to get around and discover the area! One of the best ways to learn a language is to visit the country, in this case, Spain. Have a look at our tips to plan your language-learning holiday:


✈️ Find the cheapest flights, train or bus tickets here.

🛏️ Get up to 15% discount on your hotel by booking here.

🏛️ Book the best tours and activities here.

🚗 Compare and rent a car at the best price here or hire your transfer here.

📖 Get your Spain travel guide here.

💚 Book your travel insurance here.

If you are traveling to a Spanish-speaking country and want to move around like locals do, use public transport, and find the main monuments without getting lost, you should learn these useful Spanish phrases for travelers to start your holiday the right way:

– Question words in Spanish

  • ¿Qué…? – what?
  • ¿Cómo…? – how?
  • ¿Cuándo…? – when?
  • ¿Dónde…? – where?
  • ¿Quién…? – who?
  • ¿Por qué…? – why?
  • ¿Cuál? – which?

– Asking for directions useful phrases

  • Me gustaría – I would like
  • Quiero – I want
  • Necesito – I need
  • ¿Dónde queda…? – Where is…?
  • Qué significa (subject)…? – What does…(subject).. mean?
  • ¿Como llego a..? – How do I get to…?
  • Quiero ir de compras. – I want to go shopping.
  • Busco un hotel – I’m looking for a hotel
  • ¿A qué distancia está ..? – How far is the…
  • ¿Por dónde se va a…? – Which is the way to go to…
  • A la derecha – To the right
  • A la izquierda – To the left
  • Todo recto – Straight ahead
  • En la esquina – At the corner
  • A una manzana – One block away
  • Al Norte/Sur/Este/Oeste – To the North/South/East/West

– Places in Spanish

  • El aeropuerto – Airport
  • El banco – Bank
  • La biblioteca  – Library
  • La cafetería – Café
  • El hotel – Hotel
  • La terminal – Terminal
  • La estación de ferrocarril – Railway station
  • La estación de autobús – Bus station
  • El estadio – stadium
  • La farmacia – Pharmacy
  • La gasolinera – Petrol station
  • El hospital – Hospital
  • La librería – Bookshop
  • El mercado – Market
  • El museo – Museum
  • La parada de autobús – Bus stop
  • La policía – Police station 
  • El restaurante – Restaurant
  • La tienda – Shop, store.
  • El Centro Comercial – shopping centre

3. AT THE AIRPORT: Spanish Useful Phrases for Travelers on Arrival

Useful phrases for travelers on arrival

Let’s hope you have a smooth flight to Spain or Latin America and a nice welcome! To help a bit with that, it’s always good to know some useful phrases in Spanish for travelers to get around in the airport:

  • Where is baggage claim? – ¿Dónde está el reclamo de equipaje?
  • Mis maletas están perdidas. – My suitcases are lost
  • ¿Dónde está la parada de taxis / autobús? – Where is the taxi / bus stop?
  • ¿Cuánto cuesta un billete de ida y vuelta? – How much does a round trip ticket cost?
  • ¿A qué hora llegamos? – When do we arrive?
  • ¿Cuándo sale el vuelo? – When does the flight leave?

4. AT THE BUS / TRAIN STATION: Most useful Spanish phrases for travelers

Useful phrases for travelers on train

If you are changing cities or making some day trips using public transport, you will need to know some of the most useful phrases in Spanish to ensure having a nice train or bus ride:

  • la estación de trenes – the train station
  • la estación de autobuses – the bus station
  • un billete de ida y vuelta a … – a return ticket to …
  • un billete de ida a … – a single/one-way ticket to …
  • una litera – a couchette
  • primera / segunda clase – first / second class
  • ¿A qué hora …? – What time …?
  • ¿A qué hora llega? – What time does it arrive?
  • ¿A qué hora sale? – What time does it leave?
  • ¿De qué andén sale? – What platform does it leave from?

5. AT THE BAR / RESTAURANT: Common phrases to Order in Spanish like a local!

Comon and useful phrases to use on a bar and restaurant

This is definitely my favorite part! Restaurants are the best place to immerse in the local gastronomy and tapas bars are definitely the best choice to make some local friends and practice your Survival Spanish. Take a look at these must-know Spanish phrases for travelers trying to have a nice gastro experience.

Remember: if you are coming to Spain, especially to Andalusia, count on us for the best local gastro experience! Join our Tapas and Wine tours in Malaga or Granada!

La reserva / The reservation

  • Quiero reservar una mesa para tres personas – I would like to order a table for three people
  • A qué nombre?- In what name?
  • He reservado un mesa nombre de Paul – I have reserved a table in the name of Paul
  • ¿Tiene usted una mesa para cuatro personas? – Do you have a table for four people?

A la mesa / At the table

  • Quiero/quisiera/me gustaría- I would like
  • Quiero ver el menú, por favor- I would like to see the menu, please
  • ¿Qué nos recomienda?- What would you recommend?
  • El menu del día es – The set menu of the day is
  • ¿Han decidido?- Have you decided?
  • Me gustaría pedir… – I`d like to order…  
  • ¿Con qué esta servido/acompañado?- What does it come with?
  • ¿Qué sabores hay?- What flavours are there?
  • Lo siento, no tenemos- I`m sorry but we don`t have
  • Soy alérgico – I’m allergic
  • Soy vegetariano – I’m vegetarian
  • Soy vegano – I’m vegan
  • Buen provecho – Enjoy your meal
  • Salud – Cheers!

Baños / Toilets

  • Dónde estan los baños? – Where is the toilet?
  • Los baños estan al fondo a la izquierda – The toilets are at the back on the left

Pago / Payment

  • La cuenta, por favor – Can we have the bill please?   
  • ¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito? – Do you accept credit cards?
  • ¿Dejamos propina? – Should we leave a tip?

Quejas / Complaints: most recurrent phrases in Spanish

  • Necesitamos otro tenedor/cuchara/cuchillo- We need another fork/knife/spoon
  • Pedí hace treinta minutos – I ordered 30 minutes ago
  • No es lo que pedí – That’s not what I ordered
  • Quisiéramos azúcar/sal/pimienta – We would like sugar/salt/pepper
  • La carne esta demasiado hecha – The meat is overdone
  • Este vaso es sucio- This glass is dirty
  • Pienso que hay un error en la cuenta- I think there is an error in the bill

– Other useful Spanish vocabulary to talk about Food

  • Desayuno – Breakfast
  • Almuerzo / comida – Lunch
  • Cena – Dinner
  • Primer plato- Starter
  • Plato principal – Main course
  • Postre- Desert
  • Bebida- Drink
  • Vino (tinto/blanco) – Wine (red/wine)
  • Un vaso de agua – A glass of water 
  • Tortilla – Spanish omelette
  • Cerveza – Beer
  • Tomar-To take  –  Ex. Voy a tomar una copita – I`m going for a drink
  • Comer-To eat    –  Ex. Come jamón – He/she eats iberian ham
  • Beber-To drink  –  Ex. Bebemos vino-We drink wine
  • Está caliente / frío / delicioso / picante – It is hot / cold / delicious / spicy

6. AT THE HOTEL: Most useful Spanish phrases for travel

Really useful phrases to use on a hotel

I am sure that having a wonderful stay is a really important part of your travel to Spain or Latin America, so let’s work a bit on Spanish vocabulary and useful phrases for travelers regarding accommodation:

– Useful Spanish phrases for travelers: Hotel / Appartment stay

  • ¿Tiene alguna habitación disponible? – Are there any rooms available?
  • Lo siento, el hotel está completo. – No, I`m sorry. The hotel is full
  • ¿Qué tipo de habitación desea? – What type of room would you like?
  • Quisiera una habitación individual / doble con… – I would like a single / double room with…
    un balcóna balcony
    vistas al mar a sea-view
    una cama matrimonial – a double bed
    dos camas – two beds
  • He reservado una habitación a nombre de Paul – I reserved a room in the name of Paul  
  • ¿Para cuántas noches? – For how many nights?
  • Voy a quedarme una noche / semana – I will be staying for one night / week
  • ¿A qué hora se sirve el desayuno / cena? – When is breakfast / dinner served?
  • ¿A qué hora abre la piscina? – What time does the swimming pool open?

Complaints and Problems

  • There are no towels in my room – No hay toallas en mi habitación.
  • I have lost the key to my room – He perdido la llave de mi habitación.
  • We would like to change rooms, please – Quisiéramos cambiar de habitación, por favor.
  • The air conditioning / heating is not working – No funciona el aire acondicionado / calefacción.
  • The lift is not working – No funciona el ascensor.
  • I`ve broken the lamp- He roto la lámpara.
  • There is no hot water – No hay agua caliente.
  • The room is dirty- La habitación está sucia

7. EMERGENCY SPANISH: Most common Spanish phrases for travelers in trouble!

Most Common SPanish phrases in case of emergency

Let’s hope you don’t need to use any of these but, better safe than sorry! Let’s learn some useful Spanish phrases for travellers in trouble in case you need to ask for some help during your travel to Spain or Latin America:

  • ¿Puede ayudarme? – Can you help me?
  • Necesito ayuda – I need help
  • ¡Ayuda! – Help!
  • Estoy perdido – I’m lost
  • ¡Llame a la policia! – Call the police!
  • ¡Llame una ambulancia!  – Call an ambulance!

I hope you found our Survival Spanish Guide for Travelers useful and you have learned some more Spanish basic vocabulary with us. Share below the next destination where you are going to put all these Spanish useful phrases for travelers into practice!

And don’t forget, if you are coming to Andalucia, and more specifically to Malaga, get a private Spanish class with me! I will totally adapt to your level and needs and will show you everything you need to know for your holiday

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Hasta luego!

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