Before traveling to any foreign country, lots of people get nervous about not knowing the language. Sure, you know how to say por favor and gracias, but knowing a little bit more of the language could help you out:
The first thing to do before landing in Latin America – actually, in any foreign country – is to learn your numbers. You can even learn them on the plane ride there. Knowing numbers will help you with more things than you realize: currency exchange, prices, directions, time, just to name a few. Plus, knowing your numbers will totally make you seem like you know what you’re talking about.
2. “¿Cuánto cuesta?”
This phrase means how much does it cost? Instead of just handing your money over to pay for something, asking how much something is will create a great dialogue between you and the seller – and you’ll be able to use your number skills just to show off a little bit too! It’ll also encourage the act of bargaining – which is so much more fun than just paying, isn’t it?
3. “Todo bien.”
Latin American culture is far more laid back than American culture. “Todo bien,” literally meaning everything good, is a huge phrase to know while traveling in these countries. It can be used as a question and also as an answer. You can ask someone, todo bien? And their response will either be si, yes, or todo bien, confirming that, yes in fact, it’s all good.
Above all else, we all want to be polite and friendly in a foreign country. Saying por favor, and gracias, already helps you out, but knowing how to excuse yourself is definitely a plus. Don’t mistake this with pardon; permiso is used only when physically trying to pass someone, as it literally means: do I have permission to pass?
5. “Tengo una pregunta.”
This is a great way to approach someone to let them know that you need some help: I have a question. It’s polite, it’s not aggressive, and it shows that you’re putting in an effort to learn their language, in their country. Now let’s just hope that they speak some English too, otherwise they’ll start replying in Spanish and you’ll be left with 10 more questions.
6. “¿Donde esta la fiesta?”
Where is the party? Because, in Latin America, no one should ever be missing the party.