53 Basic Phrases to Learn In Any Language That Will Prepare For Any Travel Adventure

53 Basic Phrases to Learn In Any Language That Will Prepare For Any Travel Adventure

Stressing out over-preparing for your dream vacation? Or perhaps you are worried about making yourself understood by your new colleagues in your new job abroad?

One of the ways to efficiently learn “enough” of a language to make yourself understood is to learn basic phrases. The following are basic phrases to learn in any language in order to prepare yourself for your upcoming travel adventure.  

Important Basic Words to Learn in Any Language

Before we go on to the basic phrases anyone looking to learn an additional language must know, let’s take a short look at some of the most important common words to learn in any language.

We’ve covered some of these words elsewhere in this blog and we’ve linked to relevant articles where it’s applicable. But basically, you should learn to say:

In English, and many languages, these words can be used to begin a longer sentence, but they are often also used as one-word phrases or sentences.

First Basic Phrases To Learn In Any Language

1. My name is _______.

It is important to learn the basic words of greeting in whatever language you are learning. 

However, right after saying “Hello” or “Ola” or “Bonjour” or “Konnichiwa”, it is normally considered polite to introduce yourself.

This is why it is important to learn this basic phrase and to use it after you have said “hello”.

2. What is your name?

Of course, after you have introduced yourself, it is only proper that you also ask the person you are talking to what their name is.

3. How are you?

Most languages have some sort of polite phrase to use to ask about someone’s well being. It is usually considered polite to ask about someone’s state of being or health either in greeting or after a greeting.

4. I’m well.

In most cultures, if someone asks “how are you?” upon meeting you, it’s just to be polite. They don’t necessarily need to know specifics on how your day is going. You can use this phrase to answer them.

5. Where are you from?

You will probably hear this basic phrase from people a lot on your travels. You can also use it yourself to learn more about the new people you are introduced to.

6. I am from _______.

If someone asks you “where are you from?” you can answer them using this phrase. Just add the country/region/city that you are from at the end.

7. What do you do for a living?

8. What do you do for fun?

9. Do you have pets?

10. Do you have hobbies?

The four basic phrases above are great “icebreaking” phrases that will help you get to know someone better, keep a conversation going, and hopefully earn you some new friends.

11. I don’t speak your language well.

Sure, you are hoping to practice your language speaking skills by having conversations with native speakers, but it’s probably best to admit that you are learning the language. 

Letting people know that you are just learning your language will ensure that they will be more patient with you and understanding of any mistakes that you might make. 

12. I am learning your language.

Again, letting people know that you’re a language learner will make your conversations run smoother.

13. Can you please repeat that?

If the person that you are speaking with is aware that you are not a native speaker, there’s no harm in asking them to repeat what they said if you didn’t get it.

14. Can you speak slower?

Sometimes, when you are learning a language, you might have trouble keeping up with daily conversations. This could be because you are still translating and putting together things in your head, while the words are just flying out of the mouths of the native speakers.

If you find yourself a little lost in the conversation, you shouldn’t hesitate to politely ask people to speak a little slower.  

15. I don’t understand.

If you really can’t keep up with the conversation, and it’s important that you do, you should be able to admit that you can’t understand what is being said.

Admitting that you are not following what someone is saying is especially vital if they are trying to impart important information to you, such as directions to your hotel or the nearest bank.

16. Do you speak ______? 

If you are trying to learn a new language, you need to try and speak in that language as much as possible. Sometimes, however, you might need to find something out fast. In these cases, it might be better to try and find someone who can speak to you in your first language.

If you really can’t understand what is being said around you, you can always ask if there is someone who can speak in English or French or whatever is the language you are more fluent in.

17. Excuse me.

This is one of the important basic phrases to learn in any language. You can use this phrase to call someone’s attention to yourself in a polite manner. 

If you need to ask someone for something, you should say this first, and when they turn to you make your request.

18. I need help.

This is a very useful basic phrase to learn in any language. 

You might find yourself needing to use it in an emergency, but it can also be useful in less dire situations. For example, you can use the following bit of dialogue to ask for directions:

Excuse me.

I need help.

How do I get to _______?

19. Call an ambulance/police.

In case you need help due to an emergency, you should know how to ask someone to call for professional help.

20. I am injured/sick.

After you have gotten someone’s attention by saying “I need help”, you need to be able to specify why you might need help.

21. Where is the restroom/bathroom/toilet?

Technically, needing to use the restroom can be a bit of an emergency . . . You’re bound to find yourself needing to use this phrase often on your travels. 

22. Where is_______?

Aside from the restroom, you will probably need to ask for directions to specific places, so you need to know how to say “where is?” is in the language you are learning. 

If, for example, you are looking for your hotel you can ask “where-is” and add the name of the hotel. Ditto if you are looking for a specific restaurant or a shop or even a landmark.

23. How do I get to______?

This is another basic phrase to use to ask for directions to a specific place.

24. Can you show me on a map?

A map of the area that you are in is always a handy thing to have. You should also know this phrase, as it can help you navigate using the map. 

25. How much does this cost?

This is an important phrase to learn. Whether you are trying to buy something to eat or a souvenir, you will find this phrase useful. 

26. Can I pay by credit card/cash?

If you are trying to buy something from a store, this is a good phrase to know and use.

27. What is this?

This is a useful phrase to use while shopping. It can also be useful if you are in a restaurant and are confused about an item on the menu.

28. Can I see that?

You can use this phrase at a shop if you see something interesting.

29. Do you have _____?

If you are shopping for something specific, like a toothbrush or a particular brand of soap, you can ask for it by using this phrase. 

It can also be used if you are searching for a particular dish or drink at a restaurant or bar. 

30. Where can I find____?

If you are looking for something specific and the first shop you are in doesn’t have it, you can ask if they know where you can find it. 

You can also use this phrase to ask a local for advice about where you should go.

31. Where is the ATM/cash machine/money changer/bank?

These are important basic phrases to learn in any language as they pertain to how and where you can get more money.

32. What is the best ____?

This is a useful phrase to know if you are sightseeing. You can use this to ask about a good restaurant or shop. 

33. What is fun to do around here?

This is another useful phrase to know and use while sightseeing. You can use this to ask a local about sights and activities in the area.

34. What do you recommend?

This is a useful phrase that you can use at a restaurant. But it can also be used to ask a local about activities in the area.

35. What are some local specialties?

You can use this phrase at a bar or restaurant or just when you are asking a local for a good place to eat. If they say you really must try _______, you should ask where you can find it or where is the best place to go.

35. I’m allergic to_______

This is a useful phrase to know if you have any food allergies. If you tell this to your server, they will be able to advise you on what dishes to avoid on their menu. 

36. Is this beef/pork/chicken/fish?

37. I am a vegetarian

38. I can’t eat _____

These are useful basic phrases to know and use at a restaurant. If you let your server know about your dietary restrictions, they can help you choose dishes that you can eat. 

39. I would like _____

While you might use this basic phrase more often at a restaurant, you will probably also find yourself using it in other places such as a shop or even a train or bus station.

40. Menu, please

41. Table for one/two, please

42. Check, please

These three basic phrases to learn in any language are important because you will be using them when dining out.

43. Where can I get the bus/train/ferry/plane to_____?

44. What time does the bus/train/ferry/plane leave?

45. How much for a ticket to_____?

These basic phrases are important to learn if you are going to be traveling around the area.

46. Where can I find a taxi/rental car?

This is another important phrase to learn if you are traveling around a new city.

47. What time does it open/close?

If you are going to the store or else want to see a local attraction like a museum, you will find it useful to know this phrase. 

48. What is that building?

If you see an interesting looking place and you are not sure if it’s a theater or a museum or a mall, you can use this phrase.

49. Do I need a ticket?

50. What is the entrance fee?

When you arrive at a local attraction, you might find yourself needing to know and use these two phrases.

51. Do you have rooms available?

52. I have a reservation.

53. I’ll be staying for ____ nights.

These are important basic phrases to learn in any language as they will help you when you arrive at a hotel.


Words are the basic building blocks of any language, so if you want to become fluent, you need to build up your mental library of commonly used words in the language.

Work with your native speaking online language speakers to “translate” these basic phrases into their language. They can help you better understand the proper ways to say these phrases in their native language to ensure that, when you use them in conversation, you will be understood.

If you’re interested in becoming fluent in a new language, check out these top online learning resources: Kick off your learning with Babbel, where interactive, enjoyable lessons are designed to blend smoothly into your routine, fostering fast and effective language learning. For those aiming for an in-depth understanding, Udemy provides a broad spectrum of courses from basic to advanced levels. To enhance your speaking skills, Preply connects you with native speakers for personalized coaching, ensuring significant improvement. Take advantage of a 50% discount on your first lesson at Preply with this link.

What are some important basic words to know in a language?

Hello, Goodbye, Yes, No, Please, Sorry, Thanks.

What are some first basic phrases to learn in a new language?

1. My name is... 2. What is your name 3. How are you 4. I’m well. 5. Where are you from? 6. I am from... 7. What do you do for a living? 8. What do you do for fun? 9. Do you have pets? 10. Do you have hobbies?

What phrases should I learn first in a foreign language?

1. Excuse me. 2. I need help. 3. Call an ambulance/police. 4. Where is the restroom/bathroom/toilet? 5. Can you show me on a map?

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