Why to Learn Important Spanish Phrases before Vacation
Some of the nicest vacation spots in the world are in Spanish-speaking countries: Cozumel, Barcelona, Buenos Aries, and hundreds of other spots make a great destination. But your vacation will be much more enjoyable if you learn some Spanish phrases before you depart. When you are on vacation in your own country, it is easy to be civil with "please" and "thank you". It is easy to learn the Spanish phrases for similar civilities. Everyone's mom taught them to be polite - this includes moms in other countries. Even if you pronounce it wrong, everyone will appreciate that you at least tried to speak their language. Remember, you are a guest and you need to be polite to your hosts. Furthermore, learning Spanish phrases for "pardon me" and other small apologies make people more inclined to help you. For example, yelling "waiter" in English is definitely rude. Instead learn a simple phrase for "excuse me sir". No one likes being summoned in a rude way in a foreign language.
Experiencing the Country
Many tourists visit places but never leave their tourist zone; they stay on the bus, the designated restaurant, the tour. While this is a stress-free way to travel, it is also a little bit disingenuous. Why travel to another country just to watch it like a TV show? But learning a few Spanish phrases can turn a TV experience into something more special.
For example, many people like to take public transportation in their vacation city. After all, that is how the real locals live. And a fifty-cent bus ride is a tour in itself. However it will be very difficult to navigate even a simple bus ride without learning Spanish phrases for direction, destination, distance, and fares.
Also, rarely is the best restaurant the one on the tourist boardwalk with a photographic menu. It is not the one the locals frequent anyway. Learning Spanish food phrases mean a culinary treat on vacation. As long as you know the words for what you do not like or are allergic to, try anything else on the menu. Even if you do not understand everything the waiter says, pointing and smiling helps.
Spanish is a very diverse language, and there are as many nuances as there are Spanish-speaking countries. Be sure to pick up the local words and phrases. Get a guidebook specific to your destination that has a glossary of phrases and language notes in the back.