We just arrived home after a wonderful week in Mexico. We had so much fun and loved the hot weather!
But I have to tell you, something really bugged me during the trip.
I didn’t take the time to learn at least a few basic words and phrases in Spanish before we left.
It has been several (13, actually!) years since we vacationed in Mexico, and over the past few years, we haven’t had any need to practice Spanish. So needless to say, we were quite estúpido when it came to communicating with locals!
Picture this…. the sun is shining, you can hear the ocean waves lapping on the shore, you are wearing your new dress and feeling great. The kids are smiling, having fun and (amazingly!) getting along. You head to a local restaurant for a drink and bite to eat.
And then it happens. Someone speaks to you in Spanish. You just stand there, like a deer in the headlights, feeling like a complete idiot. Eventually stammering out ….”um sorry, do you speak English?”
And you are left feeling more like a deflated old balloon than the hot mama you felt like a short time ago.
It made me feel really ignorant not knowing any Spanish. I suppose those feelings are accurate since my only education came from years of my oldest daughter’s obsession with her favourite cartoon character that loves to explore. (You all know who I’m talking about!)
So even though our Mexican holiday is over I’ve decided that we should try to learn at least some of the basics of this rich language.
So why should you learn another language before you travel?
I know you’re thinking, everyone speaks English nowadays. Especially in touristy areas like the Mayan Riviera. Yes, that’s true. We rarely found someone who did not speak at least some English. But I have to argue, that if they can do it why can’t you.
- It shows courtesy and respect.
- It shows that you care about their culture and are attempting to immerse yourself in the country in a very small way.
- It teaches the kids to have respect for another culture and they learn a skill that can be valuable to them in the future.
- Plus you’ll feel like you’ve really put an effort into making your holiday a true experience.
So let’s get started with a few basic words and phrases
|Good Morning||Buenos Dias||BWAY-nos DEE-ahs|
|Good Afternoon||Buenos Tardes||BWAY-nohs TAR-days|
|Good Evening||Buenos Noches||BWAY-nahs NOH-chayss|
|How are you?||¿Cómo está?||COH-moh es-TAH|
|Do you speak English?||¿Habla Inglés?||AH-blah een-GLAYS|
|I do not understand.||yo no entiendo||yoh noh ayn-tee- AYN-doh|
|Where is …?||Dónde está …?||DOHN-des-TAH|
|How much does it cost?||¿Cuanto cuesta?||CWAHN-toh CWAYS-tah|
|I would like…||Me gustaría||me gus-tar-EEYA|
Want to learn more?
This video is a wonderful resource for listening to how to pronounce the words above, plus a few more helpful words for when you are travelling.
Video by Spanish and Go
We have started using the app Duolingo recently. And we love it!
You can easily learn any language in a few minutes each day. It’s so simple to use and perfect for kids.
And the added bonus is it’s FREE! Check it out here! https://www.duolingo.com/
Ready to move on to something more difficult? Here’s a couple of great books to continue your Spanish language education!
Learning a new language can be difficult.
Learning a few basic words and phrases can help make your holiday more enjoyable and leave you feeling like you made an effort to immerse yourself in the destination. It will help make you a more conscientious and respectful traveller.
You can easily get started with these basic Spanish words and phrases, and then when you are ready for more check out some of the great language learning tools that are out there.
Do you think it’s important to learn basic words and phrases when travelling to a foreign country? I’d love to hear what you think.
Heading to Mexico? You might like our post: What I’m packing for our trip to Mexico