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9 Common Phrases for Traveling Abroad

A travel study conducted by 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 using the following quick links. Following each translated phrase is an audio clip with the proper pronunciation.

Quick links


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?

Hello / Goodbye: Hola / Hasta luego

Please / Thank you: Por favor / Gracias

Excuse me (informal): Discúlpame

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

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

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

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

Can you help me?: ¿Me puede ayudar?


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?

Hello / Goodbye: Bonjour / Au revoir

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

Excuse me (informal): Pardon

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

How much does this cost?: Ça coûte combien?

Where is the restroom?: Où sont les toilettes?

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

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


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)

Hello / Goodbye: Buongiorno / Ciao

Please / Thank you: Per favore / Grazie

Excuse me: Scusa. / Scusami. (Informal)

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

How much does this cost?: Quanto costa?

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

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

Can you help me?: Mi puoi aiutare?


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?

Hello / Goodbye: Guten Tag / Tschüss

Please / Thank you: Bitte / Danke

Excuse me (informal): Entschuldigung

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

How much does this cost?: Wieviel kostet das?

Where is the restroom?: Wo ist die Toilette?

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

Can you help me?: Könnten Sie mir helfen?


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

Do you speak English?: Eego o hanashimasu ka?

Hello / Goodbye: Konnichiwa / Sayonara

Please / Thank you: Doozo / Arigatoo

Excuse me (informal): Sumimasen

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

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

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

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

Can you help me?: Tasukete kudasai?

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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.

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