25 Helpful Phrases You Should Know When Traveling Abroad

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Traveling abroad can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be a bit daunting, especially if you don’t speak the local language. However, with a little bit of effort and some key phrases in your back pocket, you can navigate your way through almost any situation. Here are 25 helpful phrases you should know when traveling abroad, organized into five categories: Getting Around, Eating Out, Emergency Situations, Shopping, and Miscellaneous.

People are walking down Pier 39.
People are walking down Pier 39. Photo credit: Zuzana Paar.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first international trip, knowing a few key phrases in the local language can make a world of difference. Not only will it help you communicate more effectively with locals, but it can also enhance your overall travel experience. From basic greetings to asking for directions and recommendations, these 25 phrases are essential for any traveler’s toolkit.

Getting Around

1. “Where is the nearest bus stop/train station?”

Whether you’re in a bustling city or a small town, knowing how to ask for directions to the nearest transportation hub can be a lifesaver.

2. “How much is a ticket to [destination]?”

This phrase will come in handy when you need to purchase a ticket for public transportation, such as a bus, train, or subway.

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3. “Can you call me a taxi?”

If you’re in a hurry or need to get somewhere that public transportation doesn’t reach, asking for a taxi is a good option.

4. “Is there a restroom nearby?”

When you’re out and about, it’s always good to know where the nearest restroom is in case of an emergency.

5. “Can you recommend a good restaurant nearby?”

If you’re feeling hungry and want to try some local cuisine, asking for a restaurant recommendation is a great way to find a delicious meal.

Eating Out

A plate on a table in a restaurant in Italy.
A plate on a table in a restaurant in Italy.

6. “Do you have a menu in English?”

If you’re not fluent in the local language, asking for a menu in English can make ordering food much easier.

7. “I’m allergic to [ingredient]. Does this dish contain it?”

If you have any food allergies, it’s important to let the restaurant staff know so they can ensure your meal is safe to eat.

8. “Can I have the bill, please?”

When you’re finished eating, asking for the bill is a polite way to signal that you’re ready to pay.

9. “Can I have a glass of water, please?”

Staying hydrated is important, especially when you’re traveling, so don’t be afraid to ask for water at a restaurant.

10. “Can I have a doggy bag, please?”

If you can’t finish your meal, asking for a doggy bag is a great way to avoid wasting food.

Emergency Situations

The roots of a tree in a forest in Slovakia.
The roots of a tree in a forest in Slovakia.

11. “Help!”

In an emergency, sometimes a simple cry for help is all you need to get someone’s attention.

12. “Call the police/ambulance!”

If you’re in a serious situation, it’s important to know how to ask for emergency services.

13. “I need a doctor!”

If you’re feeling unwell or have been injured, asking for a doctor can help you get the medical attention you need.

14. “I’ve lost my passport/wallet!”

Losing important documents or valuables can be stressful, but knowing how to ask for help can make the situation easier to handle.

15. “Can you help me find my way back to [location]?”

If you’ve gotten lost, asking for directions back to a familiar place can help you find your way.

Shopping

A woman is standing in a store with a lot of items.
A woman is standing in a store with a lot of items.

16. “How much does this cost?”

When you’re shopping, knowing how to ask for the price of an item is essential.

17. “Do you have this in a different size/color?”

If you’re looking for a specific size or color, asking if it’s available can save you time and effort.

18. “Can I try this on?”

Before making a purchase, it’s always a good idea to try on clothing or shoes to make sure they fit.

19. “Do you accept credit cards?”

Knowing how to ask if a store accepts credit cards can help you avoid any payment issues.

20. “Can I have a receipt, please?”

When you make a purchase, asking for a receipt is a good way to keep track of your expenses.

Miscellaneous

21. “Excuse me, do you speak English?”

If you’re not sure if someone speaks English, asking politely can help you communicate more effectively.

22. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”

If you’re having trouble understanding someone, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.

23. “Thank you!”

A simple “thank you” can go a long way in showing appreciation for someone’s help.

24. “You’re welcome!”

If someone thanks you for something, responding with “you’re welcome” is a polite way to acknowledge their gratitude.

25. “Goodbye!”

When it’s time to part ways, saying “goodbye” is a friendly way to end the conversation.

Final Words

Learning these phrases will not only help you communicate better during your travels but also show respect for the local culture and language. Even if you don’t speak the language fluently, attempting to use these phrases will be appreciated by locals and can lead to more meaningful interactions. So, pack your bags, brush up on these phrases, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

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25 Handy Phrases Every Traveler Needs Abroad.
25 Handy Phrases Every Traveler Needs Abroad.

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About the author
Zuzana Paar
Zuzana, the adventurer at the helm of Amazing Travel Life. As a globetrotter, storyteller, and explorer, she wear many hats – from capturing breathtaking moments to unraveling the beauty of diverse cultures. Join her on this journey, where her goal is to share travel tales and inspire you to embark on your own incredible adventures.

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