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30 ESSENTIAL SPANISH NOUNS When Visiting a Spanish-Speaking Country

In today’s lesson I’m going to teach you treinta sustantivos en español (thirty Spanish nouns). But I want this to be a fun lesson for you. So, I am not going to randomly present Spanish nouns as you might see in other videos. Instead, I came up with a theme: 30 Spanish nouns you must know when visiting un país hispanohablante (a Spanish-speaking country)… And to make this lesson even more practical, I will give you sentences with these nouns that you can start using right away! Pretty neat, right?

We’re starting easy and calm, but we will slowly move to the danger zone and end with nouns that might save your life! Así que quédate hasta el final (so stay until the end) and let me know, in the comments, which was your favorite noun! 

Nouns and why are they important

Los sustantivos (nouns) are everywhere! Why? Porque los usamos (because we use them) to name something, like a place (Mexico), things (avión / plane), concepts (amor / love), or people (Natalie Portman)… so, basically, everything! 

Now, let’s look at 30 Spanish nouns que son importantes para un viaje (that are important for a trip).

Now, learning words in isolation is not always useful, so I will also teach you chunks, that is, fixed word combinations that native speakers always use. If you learn them by heart, they will roll off your tongue while speaking Spanish without you having to even think about grammar.

We actually have a training that explains in detail how you can get fluent in Spanish entirely through discovering and memorizing chunks. If you want to learn more, follow this link!!

Planning the trip

Let’s start at the very beginning: Planning a trip is always a challenge! The hardest part is probably choosing where you want to go. So, our first word is país (country). 

Here are some ways to use the noun país in a sentence: 

  • ¿Qué país? and ¿De qué país?
  • ¿Qué país quieres visitar? (Which country do you want to visit?
  • ¿De qué país eres? (Which country are you from?)

Chunk alert! In Spanish, we say de qué país, which means “from which country”. Learn this chunk by heart and you’ll never have to think about the right preposition anymore. 

Once you have chosen a country, you need to choose una ciudad (a city), another noun.

  • Mi ciudad favorita es Berlín. (My favorite city is Berlin.)
  • ¿Cuál es tu ciudad favorita? (Which is your favorite city?) 
  • ¿Qué ciudad quieres visitar? (Which city do you want to visit?) —Let me know in the comments!

Once you have chosen a city, you need to determine la fecha (the date), our next noun.

  • La fecha, la ciudad y el país aparecerán en tu boleto. (The date, the city, and the country will appear on your ticket.)

Boleto is another important noun, but you should know that not all Spanish-speaking countries use it. Some, like Spain, say billete and others —mainly in Central America— say tiquete.

Chunk alert! In Spanish, we use the chunk “en tu boleto” to say “on your ticket”. 

At the airport

¡Llegó la fecha de tu viaje! (The date of your trip has finally arrived!), así que situémonos en el aeropuerto (so let’s imagine we are at the airport).

Check out Paulisima’s article about Spanish at the airport for a complete explanation of important chunks that will help you in that situation! In the meantime, you should know that maleta or balija are the equivalent of “bag” and equipaje is the equivalent of “luggage”.

Use those words in the following sentences: 

  • ¿Dónde deposito mi equipaje? (Where should I drop my luggage?)
  • ¿Dónde recojo mi equipaje? (Where should I collect my luggage?
  • Creo que me falta una maleta. (I think one of my bags is missing.)

Now, either at the airport or somewhere else in the city you are visiting, you will have to go to the bathroom. So, it’s important that you know how to refer to it in Spanish, right?

This is also one of those words that have a different name depending on the country or the situation:

  • Baño —popular in Mexico.
  • Sanitarios —widely used in Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Uruguay, Venezuela, Mexico, and Dominican Republic
  • Servicios —popular in Colombia, but you’ll also hear it in Mexico 
  • Tocador — (literally, powder room) I’ve heard this one being used as a euphemism for bathroom when it’s women who are going there… because women only go to the bathroom to redo their make-up.

So, to ask for the bathroom, use the chunk ¿Dónde está el baño? or ¿Dónde están los sanitarios?

Don’t starve

A very important word when travelling abroad is our next noun: comida (food).

You could say: 

  • ¿Dónde puedo probar comida típica? (Where can I try traditional food?)

But if you are starving, and you just want to have a sandwich or whatever porque con hambre todo es bueno (because when one is hungry, everything tastes good), ask where can you find a restaurant:

  • Disculpa, ¿dónde hay un restaurante?

Have fun

Si estás de vacaciones (If you are on a holiday), all you can think about is resting and having fun… ¡y la cerveza y el vino son buenos amigos! (beer and wine are good friends!). 

These are useful chunks to order them:

  • ¿Qué cervezas tienes? (Which beers do you serve?)
  • Se me antoja una cerveza. (I have a craving for a beer.)
  • Quiero una copa de vino. (I’d like to have a glass of wine.)

Now, you might prefer beer or wine depending on el clima (the weather), our next noun. 

Calor means warmth and frío means cold. These are useful chunks:

  • Hace muchísimo calor. (It’s really warm.)
  • Tengo mucho frío. (I’m really cold.) 

Chunk alert! In Spanish we say “I have cold”, not “I am cold”. Why? I have no idea, that’s just how it is. Better learn it by heart as a whole, as a chunk, so you always get it right!

The weather might play an important role in you defining what you want to do during your holiday… but, unless it’s snowing outside —which rarely happens in most Spanish-speaking countries—, why would you stay en tu hotel (in your hotel) all day long?

Seguro se te antoja algún paseo (You might want to take a tour). In that case, make sure you ask for la hora del paseo (the time of the tour) or la hora en que sale el autobús (the time when the coach leaves).

Stay safe and ask for help

It’s important that you know keywords that will allow you to ask for help in the event of una emergencia (an emergency), another noun

Make sure that you know el teléfono (the phone number) to call la policía (the police).

If you have been robbed—which I hope never happens to either of us—you could say:

  • Fui víctima de un robo. (I have been robbed. Or literally: I was the victim of a robbery.)
  • Fui testigo de un robo. (I witnessed a robbery. Or literally: I was witness to  a robbery)

Victima, testigo y robo (victim, witness and robbery) are three more nouns for you!

Lastly, you should check out María Fernanda’s article about body parts to be able to tell if you feel dolor (pain) somewhere.

A lifesaving chunk is me duele (it hurts), plus the body part that is hurting. Your throat, for example, might give you trouble if you have una alergia (an allergy).

To ask for ayuda (help), use the chunk: ¡Necesito ayuda! (I need help!)

FREE Spanish Training

That’s it! 30 Spanish nouns and phrases that might come in really handy on your next trip! I hope you enjoyed the lesson and the “chunk alerts” were useful! 

If you’re curious about becoming fluent in Spanish through learning chunks, check out our free Spanish training where we demonstrate how it works and give you a 4-step process to start using chunks yourself when speaking Spanish!

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