9 Common Phrases for Traveling Abroad

A travel study conducted by Booking.com in 2018 found that 44 percent of travelers hesitate to plan a trip abroad due to the language barrier.

Can you relate? If so, learning a few key phrases in a country’s native language might help to alleviate some of those travel anxieties.

With the help of IU’s language experts, we’ve created a guide to the basics—a mini crash course in Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Japanese—that will help you locate the nearest baño in Spain, order a glass of vino in Italy, or inquire about the coût of a souvenir in France.

Navigate to a specific language by clicking the corresponding link below. Following each translated phrase is an audio clip with the proper pronunciation.


Spanish

Translations and pronunciations provided by Manuel Diaz-Campos, professor and department chair in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at IU Bloomington.

Do you speak English?: ¿Hablas inglés?

Audio transcript:

¿Hablas inglés?

Hello / Goodbye: Hola / Hasta luego

Audio transcript:

Hola

Audio transcript:

Hasta luego

Please / Thank you: Por favor / Gracias

Audio transcript:

Por favor

Audio transcript:

Gracias

Excuse me (informal): Discúlpame

Audio transcript:

Discúlpame

Numbers 1-5: Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco

Audio transcript:

Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco

How much does this cost?: ¿Cuánto cuesta esto?

Audio transcript:

¿Cuánto cuesta esto?

Where is the restroom?: ¿Dónde está el baño?

Audio transcript:

¿Dónde está el baño?

Language to order food: ¿Me puede traer [insert food item]?

Audio transcript:

¿Me puede traer [insert food item]?

Can you help me?: ¿Me puede ayudar?

Audio transcript:

¿Me puede ayudar?

French

Translations and pronunciations provided by Barbara Vance, associate professor in the Department of French and Italian at IU Bloomington.

Do you speak English?: Est-ce que vous parlez anglais?

Audio transcript:

Est-ce que vous parlez anglais?

Hello / Goodbye: Bonjour / Au revoir

Audio transcript:

Bonjour

Audio transcript:

Au revoir

Please / Thank you: S’il vous plaît / Merci

Audio transcript:

S’il vous plaît

Audio transcript:

Merci

Excuse me (informal): Pardon

Audio transcript:

Pardon

Numbers 1-5: Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq

Audio transcript:

Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq

How much does this cost?: Ça coûte combien?

Audio transcript:

Ça coûte combien?

Where is the restroom?: Où sont les toilettes?

Audio transcript:

Où sont les toilettes?

Language to order food: Je voudrais [insert food item].

Audio transcript:

Je voudrais [insert food item].

Can you help me?: Est-ce que vous pourriez m’aider?

Audio transcript:

Est-ce que vous pourriez m’aider?

Italian

Translations and pronunciations provided by Kenna Daniel, BA’09, MA’11, MA’19, who earned her master’s in both Italian and Second Language Studies from IU Bloomington.

Do you speak English?: Parli l’inglese? (Informal)

Audio transcript:

Parli l’inglese?

Hello / Goodbye: Buongiorno / Ciao

Audio transcript:

Buongiorno

Audio transcript:

Ciao

Please / Thank you: Per favore / Grazie

Audio transcript:

Per favore

Audio transcript:

Grazie

Excuse me: Scusa. / Scusami. (Informal)

Audio transcript:

Scusa. Scusami.

Numbers 1-5: Uno, due, tre, quattro, cinque

Audio transcript:

Uno, due, tre, quattro, cinque

How much does this cost?: Quanto costa?

Audio transcript:

Quanto costa?

Where is the restroom?: Dov’è il bagno?

Audio transcript:

Dov’è il bagno?

Language to order food: Vorrei [insert food item].

Audio transcript:

Vorrei [insert food item].

Can you help me?: Mi puoi aiutare?

Audio transcript:

Mi puoi aiutare?

German

Translations and pronunciations provided by Troy Byler, BA’95, MA’99, MA’01, a senior lecturer in the Department of Germanic Studies at IU Bloomington.

Do you speak English?: Sprechen Sie Englisch?

Audio transcript:

Sprechen Sie Englisch?

Hello / Goodbye: Guten Tag / Tschüss

Audio transcript:

Guten Tag

Audio transcript:

Tschüss

Please / Thank you: Bitte / Danke

Audio transcript:

Bitte

Audio transcript:

Danke

Excuse me (informal): Entschuldigung

Audio transcript:

Entschuldigung

Numbers 1-5: Eins, zwei, drei, vier, fünf

Audio transcript:

Eins, zwei, drei, vier, fünf

How much does this cost?: Wieviel kostet das?

Audio transcript:

Wieviel kostet das?

Where is the restroom?: Wo ist die Toilette?

Audio transcript:

Wo ist die Toilette?

Language to order food: Ich möchte [insert food item].

Audio transcript:

Ich möchte [insert food item].

Can you help me?: Könnten Sie mir helfen?

Audio transcript:

Könnten Sie mir helfen?

Japanese

Translations and pronunciations provided by Keiko Kuriyama, director of Japanese Studies at IUPUI.

Do you speak English?: Eego o hanashimasu ka?

Audio transcript:

Eego o hanashimasu ka?

Hello / Goodbye: Konnichiwa / Sayonara

Audio transcript:

Konnichiwa

Audio transcript:

Sayonara

Please / Thank you: Doozo / Arigatoo

Audio transcript:

Doozo

Audio transcript:

Arigatoo

Excuse me (informal): Sumimasen

Audio transcript:

Sumimasen

Numbers 1-5: Ichi, ni, san, shi, go

Audio transcript:

Ichi, ni, san, shi, go

How much does this cost?: Kore wa ikura desu ka?

Audio transcript:

Kore wa ikura desu ka?

Where is the restroom?: Toire wa doko desu ka?

Audio transcript:

Toire wa doko desu ka?

Language to order food: [Insert food item] onegaishimasu.

Audio transcript:

[Insert food item] onegaishimasu.

Can you help me?: Tasukete kudasai?

Audio transcript:

Tasukete kudasai?

Want more information about IU Travels trips? Visit alumni.iu.edu/travel.

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Written By
Kami Gallardo
Kami Gallardo, BA'20, is an editorial intern at the IU Alumni Association. After graduating with a degree in English, she is pursuing law school at IU's Maurer School of Law in the fall of 2020.