When you travel to new places and meet new people, it can be an exciting experience.
The taxi driver you just met, the restaurant owner that hooked you up, your new friend on the beach and all of the people you’ve met so far have made your trip absolutely beautiful.
However, did you wish you could speak to them in their language? Did you scroll through Google Translate looking for the words to say “thank you” or “goodbye”?
One of the best ways to make your vacation a hit is by learning a few phrases that will help you stand out with the locals and make a new friend.
1. Hi, how are you?
This simple phrase works everywhere! We all know when we approach someone with a hello and a simple question, it breaks the ice. Most tourists don’t even try to learn this phrase and they end up paying more for local services and losing out on the friends they could have made along the way.
Here’s how to say, “hi, how are you?” in 7 languages:
Spanish: ¿Hola! Cómo estás? (pronounced: Ola, co-mo eh-staws?)
French: Bonjour, comment ça va? (pronounced: bon-j-oor, coh-me say vah?)
Italian: Ciao, come stai? (pronounced: chow, co-meh st-a-”i”?)
Swahili: Jambo, habari yako? (pronounced: j-ah-m-bow huh-bar-ee yah-ko)
Chinese: 你好你好嗎？(pronounced: nee how ni how ma?)
Russian: Привет, как дела? (pronounced: Privet, kak dela?)
Arabic: اهلا كيف انت؟ (pronounced ah-lan kay fuh-anta?)
2. Thank you!
There’s something about saying thank you. It can really show a new friend that you appreciate their help or company. It shows emotion, appreciation and acknowledgment which can often land you a lifelong friend.
Here’s how to say, “thank you” in 7 languages:
Spanish: Gracias (pronounced: gr-ah-see-ahs) *Remember to roll your “r”.
French: Merci (pronounced: meh-el-see)
Italian: Grazie (pronounced: gr-aw-see-eh)
Swahili: Asante (pronounced: uh-saw-n-tay)
Chinese: 謝謝 (pronounced: see-ye see-ye)
Russian: Спасибо? (pronounced: spy-see-buh)
Arabic: شكراً (pronounced: she-ka-run)
3. I like your...
They say compliments get you nowhere but I disagree. Every time someone says, “I like your…” somebody smiles. It’s always nice to compliment someone’s family, personality, clothes, food, etc. It can help the other person feel seen and accepted. I’ve made tons of friends by complimenting the way they surf, talk, dress or travel.
Here’s how to say, “I like your...” in 7 languages:
Spanish: Amo tu...? (pronounced: ah-mo two)
French: J'aime ton… (pronounced: zjem toll-n?)
Italian: Me piace... (pronounced: ah-door-oh eel two-oh)
Swahili: Napenda yako... (pronounced: Naw-pen-da yaw-ko)
Chinese: 我愛你的... (pronounced: why knee duh)
Russian: Я люблю твои... (pronounced: ya luu-blue t-voy... )
Arabic: يعجبن ... (pronounced: you-ah-jeb-nuh)
4. My friend
Want to make a friend? Call them your friend. One of the easiest way to make a friend is to assume they are already your friend. Call them “my friend” in their language and watch a smile emerge on their faces. Many times, by calling someone your friend, the walls that separate you fall and you can make a friend in no time.
Here’s how to say, “how much is it?” in 7 languages:
Spanish: Mi amigo (pronounced: me ah-me-go)
French: Mon amie (pronounced: moan ah-me)
Italian: Mio amico (pronounced: me-oh me-ko)
Swahili: Rafiki yangu (pronounced: rah-fee-key yawn-goo)
Chinese: 我的朋友 (pronounced: whoa-duh pawn-g-yo)
Russian: Мой друг (pronounced: moy d-roo-g)
Arabic: صديقي (pronounced: saw-dee-kee)
5. Let’s hang out
So, you met a cool ass person while you were abroad and you want to hang out, grab a drink or a coffee, head to the beach or visit the sites. You'll want to know how to say, "let's hang out" or let's do something fun later. These one-on-one experiences are what really help people bond and feel connected. By spending time with a new friend and hanging out, you'll likely have them as a friend afterward.
Here’s how you can say, “let’s hang out” in 7 different languages.
Spanish: Salgamos (pronounced: sal gah mos)
French: Viens on se voit (pronounced: vee-yon-eh seh v-wah)
Italian: Ci vogliamo trovare (pronounced: ah-n-de-amo in gee-ro)
Swahili: Wacha tuzunguke (pronounced: wah-cha toon-zoon-goo-ke)
Chinese: 我們一起出去玩 (pronounced: whoa-duh pawn-g-yo)
Russian: Давай оторвемся (pronounced: daw-v-eye aw-tore-vee-yom-sa)
Arabic: دعونا نتسكع في الخارج (pronounced: dah-uuna nah-tah-say-cow feel har-ee-jee)
It’s always hard to say goodbye but it can mean so much to your new friends to say goodbye in their language. By saying goodbye, you leave that place, country, restaurant, hotel, etc. on a good note and can often be invited back at a later date. It’s about closing the book on your trip or destination and building a relationship on the way out.
Here’s how to say, “goodbye” in 7 languages:
Spanish: Adiós (pronounced: “i”-dee-oh-s)
French: Au revoir (pronounced: ooo re-v-wah-r)
Italian: Ciao (pronounced: chow)
Swahili: Kwaheri (pronounced: k-wah-hair-ee)
Chinese: 再見 (pronounced: z-”i”-chen)
Russian: До свидания (pronounced: dough s-vee-dawn-yuh)
Arabic الى اللقاء (pronounced: a-lay-lay kah-oou)
Which of these phrases will be helpful to you on your next trip?
*If you speak one of these languages and you see an error, feel free to leave a comment or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.