Spanish for Female Solo Travelers – Phrases You Should Learn 

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A little Spanish Lesson

for Female Solo Travelers

Spanish for Female Solo Travelers – Phrases You Should Learn 

Hola, chicas! Have you ever found yourself traveling to a country with absolutely no idea of the language? When I traveled to Colombia with just 18 years old I felt like a dog being sent into a cat enclosure. My body and verbal communication was completely off and I was at the mercy of my friend Lisa to navigate me through the country safely. Of course, you won’t learn a language in just a day. However, Spanish for female solo travelers can be more than useful in many situations. Here are five scenarios that you could get into whether you are traveling to Central-/South-America or Spain, and basic responses that you can learn to be prepared for them:


#1 Catcalling

Machismo is more than common in South-America and often considered part of the “dating” culture, if not culture in general. It does not matter if you are going dancing to a club with your hostel mates or simply walking down the street in broad daylight – you will have to be prepared for verbal harassment.

 In Santa Marta, Lisa and I were being catcalled like there was no tomorrow. “Mi reina, mona princesa, espera un momento.” (“My queen, my blonde (in Colombia) princess, stop for a moment!”) or similar phrases did cross our paths especially because Lisa had long blonde hair, and that seemed to trigger quite a lot of people (ehem… I meant men). Even though you might not be aware of what they are literally saying, there are a few phrases you can say to tell them off. (Check out the links on the phrases, they will guide you to a page to hear how it is pronounced.) 

If they get touchy:

 

#2 Asking for Help + Alarming the people around you 

Being able to ask or in dangerous situations to scream for help, can be life-saving (literally…). Keep in mind that if you are in danger and people are around you, try to pick out one person in the crowd point at him/her and say “USTED” before you ask for help. Studies have shown that if you scream for help and multiple people are around, it is less likely that someone will help you at all, because they transfer the responsibility onto others. Therefore, to make use of your newly learned Spanish for female solo travelers, pick out one single person in this situation.

  • ¡Ayudenme, por favor. Estoy en peligro! -  Please help me, I am in danger! (address multiple people)

  • ¿Podría ayudarme? No hablo español y me he perdido. - Can you help me? I don’t speak Spanish and I am lost.

  • ¡Socorro! - Help me! (if you don’t see anyone around, scream this at the top of your lungs)


#3 How to take a taxi as a female solo traveler in Spanish

There is a rule for riding a taxi when you are by yourself. Firstly, never get into the front seat. Secondly, look out for taxi-drivers that seem too eager to get your luggage into the car before you could even have a good look at it. Sometimes you may find another taxi-driver in the front-seat (especially in South America). Get the fuck out of there. They will likely ask you to cash in your credit limit at a bank, abduct or mug you, if not worse. Unless you are using Uber pool, two taxi-drivers mean nothing good and you need to flee as fast as you can! Negotiating a price before you get into the car gives you time to evaluate the safety of the situation and makes sure that you are not getting ripped off too much.

  • ¡Acordamos un precio antes! – Let’s agree on a price before. (In South America)

  • Puede parar aquí – You can stop here.

  • ¿Me lleva al centro? – Can you get me to the center?

  • ¡Tengo prisa! – I am in a hurry!

  • !Coja el camino más rápido, por favor! Conozco el barrio. - Take the quickest route, please. I know the area.

  • !Lléveme a esta direción! – Take me to this address

  • ¿Puede poner el taxímetro, por favor? – Can you turn on the taximeter please?

 

#4 Saying that you are not interested to dance/date/meet

When going out, numerous of guys will ask you to dance with them. While that does not automatically mean that they want to go out with you and dancing is a normal form of contact between people (even though it is quite sexually charged, you will see what I mean), you might just not be up for it. Be aware, a simple no sometimes does not do it. I have often repeated myself about 10 times until various men gave up. Fighting for you and saying no at first is also part of the dating culture in South America. Don’t get irritated too quickly. (Not saying it is a good thing… )

  • Gracias, pero no estoy interesada. - Thanks, but I am not interested.

Before I you read the next two phrases, i want to mention something beforehand. I think there is something fundamentally wrong in women having to justify saying “no”. However, let’s face the reality - we often have to:

  • Tengo novio. - I have a boyfriend (might not work as they usually ask where the hell he is, and if he is not there, nothing should stand in the way of you guys having some fun)

  • No gracias, mi novio ya está en camino. – No thanks, my boyfriend is already on the way.

 

#5 In the Hostel

As female solo traveler I would always try to go for the female-only dorm. You can get to know more guy-friends in the common room, it's just a little bit safer, and you might also feel more comfortable. 

  • Me gustaría estar en el dormitorio feminino, por favor. I would like to stay in the female dorm.

What are some phrases you would want to know in Spanish? Which phrases do you recommend for specific areas in South America? Write it in the comments!

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The Female Travel Collective was founded by Larissa Bluemel as a feminist platform for women who want to set themselves free through traveling, to connect stories from bloggers, with women who simply want to share one and to create a safe space for taboo topics related to travel!

 Berlin-based author of this text is Larissa, founder of the Female Travel Collective, solo travel lover and convinced feminist!

Berlin-based author of this text is Larissa, founder of the Female Travel Collective, solo travel lover and convinced feminist!

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