Phrases to Know, In Any Language, When Traveling (Part 1)

Placing the part one tag at the beginning of this post is a little ambition.  I admit it, I am expecting a lot of you as a reader.  “Me as a reader,” you ask, “why, whatever could he mean?”

Well this blog series is going to first present a list phrases that you should know in the language of the place you are visiting.  We will then spend the next couple weeks presenting what those phrases are in each of the main languages in Europe.

I created this list below of phrases your average sojourner may need, but it is not perfect.  It is a list based on my travel experiences and my knowledge of travel.  Here’s where you come in!  After looking at the list, we want your opinion.  Based on your travel, what would you add, remove, or just like to see on the list?  We will then revise the list and present a finalized list of phrases we will cover, along with a list of the languages we will cover in subsequent posts.

We need your input for the best possible lists!  Please comment to help improve the list!

Here’s the list:

Numbers 1-10 in the language

Hello! (in various forms: good morning, evening, night, etc)


Please/thank you.


I don’t speak … [insert language]… well.

Speak slower please.

How much does this cost.

Can I pay with a card?

How do you say {english word/phrase} in … [insert language].

Can you call a doctor.

Very interesting/wonderful/cool/etc. (and any idiomatic phrases)

Where is the… {place you are looking for}.

I’d like to pay, please.

Where is the restroom?

May I take a photograph?

How do I get a taxi?

{How to toast in a given language}

I would like… {and then point to menu!  Makes ordering easy!}

17 Responses to “Phrases to Know, In Any Language, When Traveling (Part 1)”
  1. HAHAHA I love the tip for ordering off the menu! I do it with certain names of wines I can’t pronounce all the time!

  2. Your place or mine?

  3. I think “hello” and “thank you” are the most important, followed closely by “please”. But in places where you’re worried about scary meat, I’ve found that knowing the words for “chicken” and “fish” come in very handy, as well!

  4. Miryanka says:

    I can help you with the list in Bulgarian (including transcription). It’s a wonderful country to travel to, inexpensive and friendly, rich history and stunning nature. (can you tell I’m a proud Bulgarian haha?)

  5. kato writes says:

    Some flattery does wonders. Something like “It is very beautiful here” or “your city is wonderful” might just score you some brownie points.

    I can offer Dutch if anyone’s interested.

  6. How about “I’m allergic to .” I know this has me more than a little concerned when I travel with my husband who has food allergies.

  7. Debra Kolkka says:

    Good tips! I can help out with the Italian here, and I can count to 6 in Finnish.

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