No matter the destination, arriving somewhere new with a good handle on the local language is really helpful. Skipping the charades-style hand gesticulating and the awkward stumbling through the native tongue makes for much easier communication — and it’s also much more fun.
Of course, learning another language with some level of proficiency is preferred. But speaking another language, no matter how broken or slow, to a waiter, concierge, or taxi driver gets major brownie points not only from fellow travelers, but from the locals. However, buying a Rosetta Stone for every last destination seems a bit more involved than any of us have time to get. So we put together an initial list of key (and easy-to-learn) phrases that will help you get a table, a drink, and the bill. We all have to start somewhere, so we thought we’d kick off with: please, thank you, table for two, I’d like, beer, coffee, how much, check please, and it’s delicious. (It’s easy enough to Google translate things like "hi" and "bye," but some of these phrases have nuances that a simple translator may not pick up on.)
Don’t see the language you were looking for? Let us know where you’re going next in the comments and we’ll happily add that language to the list!
Please: Por favor
Thank you: Gracias
Table for two, please: Una mesa para dos, por favor
I would like: Quisiera
Coffee: Café (or "café con leche," for coffee with milk)
How much: Cuanto cuesta?
Check please: La cuenta, por favor
It’s delicious: Es delicioso
Please: S’il vous plait
Thank you: Merci
Table for two, please: Une table pour deux, s’il vous plait
I would like: Je voudrais
Coffee: Café (or "café au lait," for coffee with milk)
How much: C’est combien?
Check please: L’addition, s’il vous plait
It’s delicious: C’est delicieux
Please: Per favore (Note: prego is interchangeable to mean both "please" and "you’re welcome." When it’s used as "please," it’s done in situations like "please sit down" and not "table for two, please.")
Thank you: Grazie
Table for two, please: Una tavola per due, per favore
I would like: Vorrei
Beer: Una birra
Coffee: Caffè (or "caffè latte," for coffee with milk)
How much: Quanto costa?
Check please: Il conto, per favore
It’s delicious: E 'delizioso