Spanish Phrases Everyone Should Memorize

Whether you're planning on visiting a Spanish-speaking country or simply want to bone up on your Español, these phrases are the first you should master.

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Why we need Spanish phrases
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Why we need pequeña cantidad (a little bit) of Spanish

We all need to know a few common Spanish phrases to get by, whether it’s to prepare for a trip to Barcelona, Bogotá or the Mayan Riviera (particularly the latter, as Mexico boasts the world’s largest population of native Spanish-speakers). If you took Spanish in school, you can likely conjure up such arcane phrases as Juan y Maria van a la playa (Translation: Juan and Maria are going to the beach), but how often will that one actually come up in casual conversation? Knowing these common Spanish phrases and expressions will help you navigate the real world!

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"Where is the bathroom?" in Spanish
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Where is the bathroom?

Pronounced: DOHN-deh ehs-TA el BAH-neeo

This question is bound to come up, so it’s a good one to keep in your pocket–especially if you are travelling with young children.

Make sure you avoid these mistakes when booking your vacation online.

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"Call 911" in Spanish
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Call 911

Pronounced: Ya-Me Al New-A-Vay Uno Uno

This is a phrase that we hope never to utter, but it’s good to know just in case. (And yes, 911 is the emergency services number in Mexico just as it is in Canada and the United States.)

Brush up on your emergency response skills with our first aid quiz.

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"How much does this cost?" in Spanish
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How much does this cost?

Pronounced: KWAN-Toe KWES-tuh

Shopping makes the world go around, and when you’re visiting another country purchasing souvenirs, asking how much an item costs will certainly come in handy. Other phrases including Necesito cambio, por favor (I need change, please) or ¿Tiene cambio? (Do you have change?) can also help with transactions.

These budget travel tips can help you save on your next vacation.

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"See you later" in Spanish
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See you later!

Pronounced: AHS-ta looEH-go

“Hasta mañana” is another way of seeing see you later (or tomorrow), both which are customary and polite ways of saying goodbye in Spanish.

Find out the travel mistakes everyone should make at least once.

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"Good morning" in Spanish
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Good morning

Pronounced: booEHN-os DEE-as

This is the best way to greet a Spanish speaking person in the AM. Buenas tardes (pronounced booEHN-as TAR-dehs) means “good afternoon,” and buenas noches (booEHN-as NO-chehs) is “good evening.”

Looking for travel inspiration? Discover the best Caribbean beach for every kind of traveller.

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"Excuse me" in Spanish
Photo: Robert Liwanag/Shutterstock

Excuse me

Pronounced: Kohn pehr-MEE-soh

Interrupting is rude in any language or country. If you have a pressing question or concern, be as polite as possible by using this phrase.

Here are more rude conversation habits you need to stop ASAP.

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"I am allergic to" in Spanish
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I am allergic to…

Pronounced: Soy Allergic-O

As many as 3-million Canadians have food allergies including 600,000 children, according to Food Allergy Canada. It’s important to be prepared when travelling or eating at a new restaurant. Fill in the blank with the allergen, whether peanuts, eggs, or dairy. (Peanut is cacahuete pronounced Ca-Ca-Wet-Tay. Maní—pronounced Man-ee—can also be used for ‘peanut.’)

Explore the world’s best destinations for foodies.

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"I do not understand" in Spanish
Photo: Robert Liwanag/Shutterstock

I do not understand

Pronounced: yoh no kom-PREN-doh

After you’ve memorized these common Spanish phrases, check out the genius travel hacks that could save your next vacation.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest

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