Basic Spanish Words you Need to Know

Help! Your flight to Venezuela is tomorrow and you haven’t learned a lick of Spanish yet. You don’t want to walk around expecting the locals to speak English, but you surely don’t have enough time to get fluent with us first. So, what can you do? Rather than heading to an app that will teach you words like “planeta” or “gato,” we’ll get you straight to the important stuff.

Image via @living_destinations on Instagram


Once you get off the plane, you’ll be ready to go see the sights and sounds. But before you get lost, read up on all of this direction vocabulary.

You’ll need to keep in mind direction words like** “Derecha” and “Izquierda” ** (meaning “right” and “left”)  when you ask “Como llego a la frutería?” which means “how do I get to the fruit shop?” Of course, you can switch out the fruit store for whatever destination you plan to go!

**“La esquina,” “en frente de,” and “al lado de” **are all location triggers that can tell you that the place you’re looking for is at “the corner,” “in front of,” or “next to” another location.

“Da vuelta” and “camina recto” are what you’ll hear when someone tells you to “turn” or “walk straight.” **  **

Remember that **“calle” **means street when asking the address of your next stop!

Image via @lasvegasfoodie on Instagram

Eating and Ordering

When you’re traveling to any Spanish-speaking country you’ll surely need to know how to ask for the local recommendations on what’s best to eat and drink. Whether you’re looking to try arepas or empanadas, this vocabulary is must-know!

Say **“Quisiera ver el menu” **when you’d like to check out the menu before deciding to stop in to a café to grab a bite—this phrase translates to “I’d like to see the menu.”

If you decide to stop in and would like recommendations from your server, ask “**Tiene algunos recomendaciones?” **which translates to “do you have any recommendations?”

A few standard vocab words you’ll need to know before you order are **“pollo” **for chicken, **“carne” **for red meat, and **“pescado” **if you’d like to request fish. Vegetarian? Not a problem—simply say that you’re “vegetariano” or “prefiero mi plato sin carne por favor” to let them know you’d “prefer your plate without meat please.”

Image via @buenosairescity on Instagram

Playing it cool

There are a few common words or phrases that you won’t see in the textbooks, but still need to know!

**“Chévere” **is Venezuelan slang for “cool” and if you say this when speaking with the locals, they’ll know you did your research!

**“Que pasa guey” **or **“Hola guey” **is a way to say “what’s up dude” or “hey dude,” and can be typically heard in Mexico.

**“Que ónda?” **is how you’ll say “what’s up” to the locals when you’re traveling through the beautiful streets of Argentina.

We’ll be adding more basic vocabulary lists to the blog in all of our languages! If you’re in a time crunch,  and can’t #GetFluent with us first, make sure you’re aware of the must-know vocab before your next overseas flight. Better yet, check out our next Sip n Slang event in Chicago, October 26!