Phrases to Know When Traveling (Part 2)


The Basics

Numbers 1-10 in the language

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

My name is… _____________


Please/thank you.


Excuse me.


Do you speak english?

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

Speak slower please.

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

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

May I take a photograph?

{How to toast in a given language}


How much does this cost.

Can I pay with a credit card?

I’d like to pay, please.

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

Water (and how to make sure it is not carbonated!), Wine, Beer, Soda

Beef, Chicken, Fish, Pasta, Bread, and some other basic foods in each language.

This food is delicious!


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

Can you show me on the map how to get there?/Can you show me where ______ is on the map?

Where is the restroom?

How do I get a taxi?

Where can I find a bus?

Where can I find the Metro?

Where is the airport?

Can you take me to {location}



Can you call a doctor.

I’m an American Citizen.

Please call the American Embassy.

My blood type is _________.

I’m allergic to __________.


Ready?  Because i’m about to throw some information at you from my source: (its only a little dated… published 2006)

Most Europeans can speak a second language of some sort and, depending on which country you are visiting, that number can be even higher!

The source study above indicates that 56% of Europeans can have a language in a different language than their native language.  According to the study, the five most popular second languages known in Europe are:

English at 38%

French at 14%

German at 14%

Spanish at 6%

Russian at 6%

Also, when you break down the numbers:

1. English, 51% of EU population can speak the language
2. German, 32%
3. French, 26%
4. Italian, 16%
5. Spanish, 15 %
6. Polish, 10 %
7. Russian, 7 %
8. Dutch, 6 %
9. Swedish, 3 %
10. Greek, 3 %

So, Good news for us is English is the most widely spoken foreign language throughout Europe.  So even if you don’t completely master the list there is a good chance you can find someone in a pinch that knows some basic English.

Now, taking all of this into consideration, here are the languages that we are going to be covering over the next several weeks:

1. English (done above, your welcome)

2. Spanish

3. French

4. German

5. Bulgarian – Translated by friend of the blog, Miryana at

6. Italian

7. Russian

8. Portuguesse

9. Polish

10. Dutch – Translated by friend of the blog, Kato at

11. Greek

12. Swedish

13. Hungarian

14. Romanian

15. Croatian

16. Czech

17. Ukrainian

18. Danish

And any other languages that will be added per request.

Wow…  looking at that list is making me realize that this is quite the task.  Now, I am sure that Christian and I will make mistakes on the posts along the way…. We don’t speak any of these languages natively!  If you see a mistake in any of the posts, let us know so we can fix it!  We plan on using this list for our trip as well and want it to be as correct as possible!

20 Responses to “Phrases to Know When Traveling (Part 2)”
  1. farbolino says:

    I totally agree that when you go to a new country, even making the smallest effort to learn some of their language goes a long way in how they treat you, and if you can learn enough of it, how easy it becomes to travel in that country. I also have a site pertaining to travel that you might find interesting. The site is if you get the chance to check it out. Again, good work!

  2. Although perhaps English is known by many people, to infer to them that this is what they should be speaking in their own country can lead to difficult situations. The first words to learn are the Courtesy words, then the differences in translation as this is rarely a direct thing. For example please is a word not often spoken in Italy (although there is a word for it), but it is implied in the tone. Phrases (even in english) do not mean the sum of their words – this also works for other languages. If you start with the courtesy words then you present yourself as a decent person who is at least trying to respect their language. Sometimes this is where their command of the english language may become apparent.
    Never learn a question if you can not understand the answer in that language. That just upsets some people. Better to learn it here than some dusty village that hasn’t the decency to stay in one place on the map at 1 in the morning with a car full of kids and you’re asking for directions perfectly, just can’t get the guy to point.

    • great point! And i suppose knowing the possible answers before hand would be essential to your ability to communicate

      • This is so true. I was never good at learning languages in batches though – there was always crossover at the wrong time.
        Remember there will be background stress to travelling – hard to avoid even on the best of trips. Take out the tiredness, the tired frustrated children, taking the wrong turn every time because it looks like the right turn (and would have been in another country), driving on the wrong side of the road, adjusting to climate and diet change – yeah, take all that out of it and the villager and I would have got on fine and sorted it all out. Best to be prepared.

  3. Reblogged this on securitydog56 and commented:
    Good terms to use when traveling. Always be polite, if possible. I lived in Europe for 20 years. Good stuff to know.

  4. Travel Culture Food says:

    Great post!

  5. counselforliving says:

    Ambitious…. I’ll be following 🙂

  6. Laszlo says:

    Great idea guys! Let me know if you need help with the Hungarian translation… 🙂

  7. Really good idea! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog…If you need any help with Greek translations, let me know, I lived there for many years…thanks also for stopping by my blog 🙂

    • Yes that’d be awesome! I took a year of greek, but it is ancient greek… so my translations will probably not be very good lol. If you want to email me at and we can connect there. You can translate it if you have time, otherwise I can work on translating it and if you want to look it over, that’d be very helpful as well! thanks so much, let me know.

  8. restlessjo says:

    So, how’s it going? My own limited knowledge of Polish and Portuguese leads me to believe that this is no easy task.

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