No Spanish, No Problem - Janine in the World

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  1. This is such a great breakdown of must-know Spanish phrases. I’ve been to SO many Spanish speaking countries and I only know the basics. My biggest problem is when I say something in Spanish and then they break into a whole conversation thinking I know how to speak it. I just have to stare like a deer caught in headlights 🙂

    1. Thanks Kevin! I know what you mean, that still happens to me all the time! I’m like “Woah, woah, woah!” and then they give up on me and switch to English. One day I’ll achieve fluency!

  2. Thank you Janine! This post has been saved for my future travels. I hope to learn a few phrases along the way before I end up in a Spanish speaking country. As soon as I get a handle on a bit of Spanish, I’ll be off to Latin and South America. 🙂

    Language barriers do create a hurdle where English is barely spoken, have faced this issue first hand in many places. But somehow managed to interact with hand gestures and broken/mismatched English.

    Hope to read more on your travels and journeys.


    1. Glad to hear it Ozzy! Hand gestures are a pretty effective form of communication when all else fails! Latin America is such a great place to travel, even if you don’t speak the language, because everyone is so warm hearted and welcoming. But it’s definitely nice to be able to converse with the locals a little!

  3. So good to have a smattering of Spanish. So many countries speak it. Your post is a great reminder to learn a few phrases in the local language of wherever in the world we visit.

  4. This is so helpful! I just came back from an all Spanish country and the locals spoke barely any English! I wish I had known some of these phrases to add to my book!

  5. I’ve always said that before I travel in Mexico or South America, I must learn Spanish. This is a great starting place, and might just be enough to know before I go!

    Jane M

  6. I think “Thank you” and “Hi” are the two most important phrases that I will try to master in any country I visit. It goes a long way to be able to thank your waitress, the cashier, the lady at the street food stall…

    Gracias & viajes felices!

  7. Thanks for this. We usually try to learn a few phrases like hello, excuse me and thank you at the very least in the native language of the country we’re visiting. The unfortunate part of being nice is that we’ve often faced the problem of them getting into a full fledged conversation once they see we know a bit of language 😛 That said, is it that difficult to get by with English in Mexico?

    1. That’s exactly what happens! It’s pretty easy to get through Mexico with limited Spanish. A lot of people speak English, but even the people who don’t speak it can usually understand a little bit.

  8. Super helpful post! I went to the Dominican Republic and knew how to say Hola and managed to make it around okay hahaha!

  9. Oh wow! I am bookmarking this one for my trip to Mexico! Amazing work done and it’s definitely useful for non Spanish speakingtravellers.

  10. I used to know basic Spanish years ago and I’m so sad that I’ve kinda lost it because I never use it anymore! I’m hoping to try and learn it again next year so I’ll be saving this post as it’s a good place to start!

    1. That happened to me too :S I’m starting to get it back after living in Mexico for 5 months, but it’s taking a while! The good news is it’s never really gone, just buried under all the other info you have stored in your brain!

  11. This is such an awesome idea for a post! I am actually headed to Mexico at the end of the month (luckily I’ve lived in Spain for two years so my Spanish is fairly decent, mas o menos jaja)! But love this idea! (also love you Pinterest designs: no spanish, no porblems hehehe!)

    1. Haha! That’s awesome! Having some Spanish is definitely helpful around here. Where are you headed in Mexico? Thanks so much for the Pinterest compliment, you have NO idea how badly I want to pull my hair out while I’m creating pins! It’s so tedious!

  12. It’s so important to know the basic phrases in the local language when travelling. Can save a lot of trouble. Thanks for sharing this useful post

  13. Awesome list, the only Spanish I know is from Dora, so if I need to explain colours, tell people to go faster, or count to ten then I will be Ok.

  14. Well done! This is such a smart put together piece! I feel my high school Spanish coming back to me as I read through. 🙂

  15. OMG, when I arrived in Spain for my one year students exchange, I didn’t know any single word in Spanish, I wish I learn at least the basic phrases before travelling there haha 😛

    1. Haha, that’s how I felt when I first came to Mexico. I kind of knew basic phrases but I had no idea what to do if someone started answering my questions or using slang, etc!

  16. This is exactly what I need the next time I visit a Spanish speaking country! I have just a couple of these down, but many will be great additions to my Spanish vocabulary!

  17. When someone asks you ‘que tal’ what is the correct response? Is it like an American ‘how are you?’ when you would reply with ‘good, how are you?’ or is an actual answer required which might be honest?

    1. Yeah, exactly! They’re just asking “how are you.” I usually just say “muy bien, gracias.” Basically, just respond as you would in English!

  18. This would have been very handy before my trip to Colombia! I’ve always been fine just knowing English + then picking up some basic phrases in countries as I travel but South America is difficult!! Very few people speak English and I should have brushed up on the basics beforehand.

    1. It definitely gives you added confidence when you have some basics down! Fortunately, for the most part, everyone tends to be really friendly and patient with travelers who struggle with the language 🙂

  19. I’m visiting Mexico in December taking Greyhound to Monterrey then ETN to my destination! I want to do the TEFL course and work teaching English! I will for sure be buying the Spanish language book that you recommended!

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