For those not born speaking Spanish, the Mexican language can seem quite complicated. There are thousands of Spanish words, countless ways to conjugate a verb, and numerous ways to say the same things. The Spanish language, while as beautiful as it sounds when it rolls off your tongue, can be extremely difficult for those not immersed in it daily. If you are headed on vacation, learning a few common Spanish phrases and basic Spanish sentences can be extremely helpful. If you’re not up for learning a lot of Spanish phrases before your vacation, at least knowing how to say goodbye in Spanish and hello can take you a long way. The following tips for speaking the Mexican language and key phrases for your vacation will help you feel more at home while traveling in Mexico and may even help you out if you’re in a bind.
At first it may seem easy to say hello in Spanish. A simple hola, one of the most common Spanish words you’ll hear, can let someone know you’re speaking to them or you can use it as a friendly way to greet resort staff, tour guides, locals, and anyone else you meet while on vacation. While hola is a common greeting, you’ll also hear a number of other Spanish phrases, such as buenos días (good morning), buenas tardes (good afternoon), and buenas noches (goodnight), which can be used to greet someone.
Knowing how to say goodbye in Spanish can be extremely helpful in Spanish if you visit the country or are talking to someone who speaks the Spanish language. One of the most common Spanish phrases you’ll hear when saying goodbye is adios. However, don’t be surprised if you also hear nos vemos (we’ll see each other), hasta luego (until later), or cuidate (take care). While you may be tempted to say hasta la vista like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator, avoid this saying as most native Spanish speakers never use it.
If you are looking to start up a light conversation with someone on your Mexico vacations, you may start by saying como estas? This simple question, which means how are you? is one of the most basic Spanish sentences and is commonly used during small talk or when greeting someone you’ve met before. Being prepared for how to respond to this question can also be very helpful in Spanish. Appropriate responses include bien (good), muy bien (very good), mas o menos (just ok), mal (bad), or muy mal (very bad).
Learning how to talk about your health can be extremely helpful in Spanish, especially if you find yourself in need of medical attention while on vacation. While you are sure to find English speaking staff at your resort, if you are out and about town and need someone or something quick, learning a few Spanish phrases can get your far. Estoy enferma (I’m sick) or no me siento bien (I don’t feel well), for example, will help you begin a conversation. Other common Spanish phrases, like necesito ir al baño (I need to go to the bathroom) or me duele la cabeza (I have a headache) will help you explain mild ailments. No puedo respirar (I can’t breathe) or mi corazon (my heart) can help if you find yourself in a more urgent predicament. While these basic Spanish sentences are helpful, you may even find it easier to say simple Spanish words, like mano (hand), pie (foot), estomago (stomach), garganta (throat), pierna (leg), brazo (arm), or cabeza (head), to indicate if something hurts you.
Donde esta … el bano (the bathroom), el hotel (the hotel), la playa (the beach), el restaurante (the restaurant), or el mercado (the market), can be a useful way to find places on your trip. This simple question in the Spanish language can be completed with almost any location you choose.
Before you head out on your vacation, learn a few phrases in the Mexican language to help you along the way. Whether you stick to the basics or try more complex sentences, you’ll feel great as you show off your linguistic skills and blend in more easily with the locals. While speaking Spanish is almost never a requirement in popular tourist destinations in Mexico, it does make you look more cultured and shows a unique respect for the country you are visiting.