Help for Students When Traveling to Spanish-Speaking Countries

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Preparing for Your Trip

When you are planning to viajar por el mundo, the first thing you should do is to buy a Spanish-English-Spanish phrase book. Read it at every possible opportunity in the weeks or months leading up to your trip. Pay attention to certain sections which contain the vocabulary you will need, and while you will be anxious to speak and try out what you have learned, do not hesitate to point to the phrase in your book if the people you speak to do not understand you. Of course they will help you if you speak their language, but it takes time to learn complete conversations and you may not have that time at your disposal. You should also purchase a travel book about the country or city you plan to visit. Learn all about the culture and customs of the people, so that you will avoid cultural mistakes. Like the phrase books, there are pocket travel books which you can purchase for less than $10.00.

Following are some basic words and expressions to deal with different aspects of your trip.

At the Airport

Busco la terminal oeste.

I am looking for the west terminal.

¿Para dónde sale usted?

Where are you heading for?

Voy a Madrid.

I am going to Madrid.

¿Cuántas maletas tiene?

How many bags do you have?

Yo tengo dos.

I have two.

¿Dónde puedo reclamar mi equipaje?

Where can I claim my luggage?

¿Dónde está la aduana?

Where is customs?

At the Hotel

¿Tiene cuartos libres?

Do you have any vacancies?

¿Cuánto cobra por noche?

What’s the cost per night?

Quisiera un cuarto sencillo.

I’d like a single room.

No hay agua caliente.

There isn’t any hot water.

No me gusta esta habitación.

I don’t like this room.

¿Están las comidas incluidas ?

Are meals included?

At the Restaurant

¿Dónde hay un buen restaurante?

Where can I find a good restaurant?

Quisiera reservar una mesa para tres personas.

I’d like to reserve a table for three people.

¿Cuál es la sopa del día?

What is the soup of the day?

¿Qué me recomienda?

What do you recommend?

¿Puede darme … ?

Can you bring me … ?

La cuenta, por favor.

The bill, please.

Some Survival Phrases

In addition , you need to learn some basic survival phrases. Here are some of those you will need. Your phrase book and teacher would help you with the rest.

Buenos días – Good morning

Buenas tardes – Good afternoon

Buenas noches – Good night.

¿Cómo esta usted? – How are you?

Bien, gracias – Fine, thank you.

Perdón – Excuse me( when you need to get by a person or a group of people.)

¿Cómo se llama? – What is your name?

Me llamo – My name is __________.

Sí – Yes

No – No

Gracias – Thank you.

Adiós - Goodbye

Practice Makes Perfect

If you are learning in a class, your teacher can arrange for students to role-play using these expressions and more. You can also do exercises like filling in the blanks in order to practice using the words and expressions, and so commit them to memory. If you are learning at home with teach-yourself-books or through the Internet, you can practice role-playing with members of your family or with friends. If you are learning with a private teacher, try role-playing exercises with him or her. Another method to help you learn quickly is to download lessons from an Internet site and play audios on your CD player while driving. The idea is to listen and practice speaking as much as possible. A very good Internet site which will help you is BBC Spanish. Soon you will be ready to viajar por el mundo. Have fun learning and Buen viaje! (Have a good trip!)