Travel, Travel Tips

Essential Phrases for Traveling

We booked our trip to Italy only a month and a half in advance which didn’t give us much time to plan, let alone learn a new language!  Planning took priority of course; we wanted to make sure we had places to stay and a means of getting there.  Between those, we watched YouTube videos and flipped through our Italian Phrasebook to try to get an idea of how a native speaker sounds and to learn a few key words and phrases.

Now that we’re back, we wanted to share a few phrases we found helpful during our trip.  We won’t include the Italian translations here, because we want to encourage you to look up these words and phrases and listen to a native speaker say them in the language of the country you plan to visit.  Some phrases are obvious (hello, goodbye), but others we found ourselves having to look up in the middle of our trip, like telling pushy vendors we were not interested in whatever they were hawking.  Obviously this list won’t help you have a conversation with a local about complex issues, but it will help with the understanding and the pleasantries necessary to go through a day in a new place.

  • Hello
  • Good Morning
  • Good Evening
  • Goodbye
  • Please
  • Thank you
  • You’re welcome
  • May I?
  • Numbers 1-100 (essential for dealing with money)
  • Letters (helpful with spelling)
  • Colors
  • Have a nice day
  • Excuse me
  • I’m sorry
  • Where is the toilet?
  • I would like…
  • This
  • That
  • Mr./Miss/Mrs./Ms.
  • How much?
  • The bill, please
  • I’m not interested
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Water
  • Wine (white or red)
  • To the left
  • To the right
  • Yes
  • No
  • It’s delicious!
  • Table for #, please
  • Pharmacy
  • Reservation
  • Help!
  • Open
  • Closed

For a handy sheet with some of the items above to help you prepare, click here.

What words or phrases have you found essential in everyday interactions while traveling?  Let us know so we can add them to the list!