No matter the travel 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
Thank you: Danke
Table for two, please: Einen tisch für zwei, bitte
I would like: Ich möchte
Coffee: Kaffee (or "kaffee mit milch," for coffee with milk)
How much: Wieviel kostet das?
Check please: Die rechnung, bitte
It’s delicious: Es schmeckt ausgezeichnet!
Please: Onegai shimasu (Note: Dozo is also used to mean "please" but only in instances like, "please sit down" and not "check please.")
Thank you: Arigato
Table for two, please: Futari desu
I would like: Wo ippon kudasai…
How much: Kore wa ikura desu ka?
Check please: O-kanjo onegai shimasu
It’s delicious: Go-chisō-sama deshita
Please: Por favor
Thank you: Obrigado (m)/obrigada (f) (depending on the gender of the speaker)
Table for two, please: Mesa para dois
I would like: Eu gostaria
Beer: Uma cerveja
Coffee: Café (or "café com leite," for coffee with milk)
How much: Quanto custa?
Check please: A conta por favor
It’s delicious: É delicioso
Thank you: Dank u
Table for two, please: Een tafel voor twee alstublieft
I would like: Ik wil…
Coffee: Koffie (or "koffie met melk," for coffee with milk)
How much: Hoeveel kost dit?
Check please: De rekening, alstublieft
It’s delicious: Het was heel lekker
Thank you: Teşekkür ederim
Table for two, please: Iki kişilik masa lütfen
I would like: …istiyorum
Coffee: Kahve (or "sütlü kahve," for coffee with milk)