Travel Phrases –
What are the Most Useful?

Communicating with a local using a phrase book can be very rewarding.

Travel phrases are very useful It marks one as someone who cares enough to learn a little of the language of the country you're visiting. The locals really appreciate it.

I can't tell you how many times my trip has improved when a local finds out I know a little of the language and points me in a new direction towards a fabulous site or a great meal.

I bring a travel phrase book and/or foreign language dictionary
with me on my trip, along with the language CDs/course I used to try to learn the language. That way I can keep learning the language as I'm immersed in it.

 I use an electronic translator that can make things a lot easier to find and use phrases.

  • Or better yet, I use an electronic translator like an iPhone App or dedicated device that can make things a lot easier to find and use travel phrases.

  • I try to learn five or six phrases a day, sometimes more when I'm with a local. The point is to have fun, not to make it a boring classroom.

  • Lots of people prefer a dictionary over a phrase book, simply because the dictionary holds more and is designed for general use.

  • Here is an on-line Travel Phrases Book I've used: Travel Phrases Online.

  • Finally, here is my Introduction to Chinese Characters.

Another great use of a phrase book is surviving in a foreign land without knowing ANYTHING about the language.

  • Simply find the phrase you want to use in the Phrase Book. (Or type it into a translator like an iPhone app.)

  • Show the corresponding foreign phrase to the person you want to communicate to.

  • Hopefully he understands enough to nod "yes" or "no" or can use some other sign language to answer you.

  • He can also use the Phrase Book in the same way and show you an English phrase for the one he found.

  • You have to "Do what you have to do" on the road...

It helps to know a few foreign phrases.

Here are my most useful Travel Phrases:

English French German Italian Spanish
Please S'il vous plaît (seel-vou-play) Bitte (bih-tuh) Per favore (pair fa-vor-reh) Por favor (por fah-bohr)
Thank you Merci (mair-see) Danke (dahn-kah) Grazie (grat-tsee-eh) Gracias (grah-thee-yahs)
Do you speak English? Parlez-vous anglais? (par-lay-vou on-glay) Sprechen Sie Englisch? (zprek-can zee een-glish) Parla Inglese? (par-Ia een-gleh-zeh) Habla usted Inglés? (ah-blah oo-sted een-glais)
I don't understand Je ne comprende pas (zhuh nuh cohm-prohnd pah) Ich verstehe nicht (eek fair-shtay-yuh neecht) Non capisco (non ka-pee-skoh) No comprendo (nohn cohm-pren doh)
Excuse me Pardon (pah-r-dohn) Gestatten Sie (ge-shta-ten zee) Permesso (pair-meh-so) Perdón-eme (pair-dohn-eh-meh)
I'm sorry Ie suis desolée (zhuh swee day-zoh-leh) Es tut mir leid (ehs toot meer lyt) Mi dispiace (mee dees-pee-yat-chay) Lo siento (lo see-yen-toh)
Yes Oui (wee) ja (yah) Si (see) Sí (see)
No Non No No No
Good day Bonjour (bohn-szourh) Guten tag (goo-tehn tahg) Buon giorno (bwohn jour-noh) Buenos dias (bway-nohs dee-hs)
Good evening Bonsoir (bohn swah) Guten Abend (goo-tehn ah-bnt) Buona sera (bwoh-nah sair-rah) Buenos tardes (bway-nohs tar-days)
Good night Bon nuit (bohn nwee) Gute nacht (goo-teh nahckt) Buona notte (bwoh-nah note-tay) Buenas noches (bway-nohs noh-chays)
Goodbye Au revoir (oh-ruh-vwah) Auf wiedersehen (owf vee- dair-zay-yen) Arrivederci (ah-ree-vah-dair-chee) Adiós (ah-dee-yohs)
How much is it? Combien coûte? (coam-bee-yehn koot) Wie viel kostet es? (vee-feel koh-steht es) Quanto costa? (kwan-toh coast-ah) Cuanto cuesta? (kwan-tob kway-stab
That's too much C'est trop (say troh) Das ist zu teuer (dahs ihst tsoo toy-yer) E troppo (ay troh-po) Eso es es demasiado caro (ays-oh day-mahs-syah-doh kah-roh)
Where is? Où est? (ou eh) Wo ist? (voh eest) Dov'e (doh-vay) Dónde esta? (dohn-day eh-stah)
the bathroom la toilette (lah twah-let) die toilette (dee toy-leht-tah) il bagno (eel bahn-yoh) el servicio (el sair-bee-thee-yo)
the train station la gare (lah gahr) der bahnhof (dair bahn-howf) la stazione (lah stat-zee-o-nay) la estación (lah es-tah-thee- yon)
to the right à droite (ah dwa) rechts (rekts) a destra (ah deh-strah) ala derecha (ah Iah deh-ray-chah)
to the left à gauche (ah goh-sh) links (leenx) a sinistra (ah see-neest-trah) ala izquierda (ah lah eeth-kyair- dah)
straight ahead en avant tout droit (ahn ah- vohntoo dwah) geradeaus (gair-raad-eh-ohws) avanti diritto ah-vant-tee dee-ree-toh) siga dere cho (see-gah deh-ray-cho)
a ticket un billet (uh bee-yay) eine fahrkarte (eye-nuh faar-kar-tuh) un biglietto (bee-lyet-toh) un billete (oon beel- yay-tay)
one way aller (ah-lay) einfach (ayn-fahk) solo andata (so-low ahn-daht-tah) ida (ee-dah)
round trip aller-retour (ah-lay-ray-tour) hin und zurück (hin oont tzu-ruwk) andata ritorno (ahn-daht-tah e ay ree-tour- noh) ida y vuelta (ee-dah ee bwehl-tah)
track quai (kay) Gleis (glice) binario (been-ar-ree-yoh) el anden (el ahn-dayn)
a hotel un hôtel (ehn oh-tel) ein hotel (eye'n hoh-tehl) un albergo (oon al-bear-goh) un hotel (oon oh- tel)
a room une chambre (oou-n shaum-bra) ein Zimmer (eye'n tzim-mer) una camere (oo-noh kah-mair-eh) una habitación (oo-nah ah-bee-ta-thee-yon)
with/without bath avec (ah-vek)/sans (sahn) bain (baahn) mit (miht)/ ohne(oh-nuh) Bad (baad) con (coan)/ senza (sen-zah) bagno (bahn-yoh) con (cohn)/ sin (seen) baño (bah-nyo)
a restaurant un restaurant (uhn ray-stah-rahn) ein restaurant (eye'n reh- stow-rahn) un ristorante (oon rees- toh-rahn-tay) un restaurante (oon res-tau-rahn-tay)
I would like je voudrais (zhuh vou-dray) Ich möchte (eek mowk-tah) Vorrei (voar-ray) Quisiera (kee-see-yair-ah)
water eau (oh) Wasser (vah-sair) acqua (ah-kwah) agua (ah-wah)
red/white wine vin rouge (vah roozhuh)/ blanc (blahn) Rotwein (roht-vine)/ Weisswein (vice-vine) vino rosso (vee-noh roh-so)/ bianco (bee-yahn-koh) vino tinto (bee-noh teen-toh)/ blanco (blahn-coh)
beer biére (bee-yair) Bier (beer) birra (beer-a) una cerveza (oo-nah thair-bay-thah)
Check, please La conte, s'il vous plait (lah kohnt seel-vou- play) Die Rechnung, bitte (dee rek-noong bit-tuh) Il conto, per favore (eel coan-toh pair fah-voar-ah) La cuenta por favor (lah kwain-tah fah-bohr)

I hope this quick list of Travel Phrases can be of help to you. Purchase a regular phrase book or check the end of your guidebook, if you need more material.

Here are some important road skills:

Go to page on Safety First

What to do about Lost Travelers

Travel Health

Motion Sickness and Sea Sickness

Diarrhea and Its Cures

Travel Money

The Euro

Travel Tips for Europe

Foreign Languages

Chinese Characters

Useful Travel Tools

Tourist Information

Electronic Travel Applications

Audio Tours for museums and cities

Travel Weather

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