A Mini Travel Guide to Spain: Language, Customs & Etiquette
Who doesn’t want to visit new places, learn about other cultures, and have a thrilling experience while they can? I know every single person on the face of this world wants to feel alive and create memories that they can cherish in the later years of their life.
A lot of tourists travel to Spain each year. The reason they choose to spend their vacation in Spain is that they are attracted by the magnificent Spanish historical architecture, delicious cuisines, thrilling bullfights, interesting culture, lovely music, and of course, the hospitality that awaits them.
In case, you are planning on spending your summer holidays visiting the famous museums of Spain and witnessing the near-death experience of bullfighters, there are a few things that you should know before you actually get on the airplane.
For instance, it is increasingly important for a foreign tourist like you to learn some basics of the native tongue, while you are visiting a country where the English language isn’t widely spoken or understood. In this case, make sure you learn some common Spanish words. Why do you ask for it? Well, there are numerous advantages of knowing bits of the Spanish language.
Why Should You Learn the Spanish Language?
To Carry Daily Activities Normally
You would be able to move around the country more easily. Such as, you can guide the taxi driver about your destination because you surely don’t want to spend hours in the backseat of the taxi, wishing for the driver to magically understand which hotel you are referring to. Also, being able to speak and understand the language will help you in keeping out of unnecessary trouble. You would be able to know what the next person wants to stop you from, or clear any kind of misunderstandings because the last thing you want on your trip to happen is a dirty fight or worse and end up behind the bars because you got tricked.
Enough of the horrible scenarios already! Knowing the language will also make you able to learn more while you are traveling. Not only can you have a better travel experience, but you would also be able to communicate with the natives. In this way, you can make new alliances that would be increasingly helpful if you ever visit Spain again.
Leaning the native language is a great strategy for appearing approachable and friendly. So, all you have to do is download a language-learning app that can help you in learning Spanish at home.
Why Learn About Spanish Customs?
The second thing that is important for you to learn is the native customs. Again, it will allow you to stay out of unnecessary trouble and you would be able to better understand your surroundings.
In addition to this, knowing some basics about the Spanish customs can help you clear the misunderstandings that you may have in terms of the Spanish culture when you witness it from your own eyes.
Avoid Extra Tipping Culture
There is nearly no tipping culture in Spain. That means you can save on a lot of money if you know about this beforehand. Otherwise, you would just be fooling yourself by giving the waiter some extra tip because you loved the food. Because, in case of extraordinary service, Spanish leave no more than 10 percent tip.
Value their Hospitality
In addition to this, as I said earlier, Spanish people are highly hospitable and gracious. So, you can always expect to get a free bite with every drink you order.
Schedule your Activities According to Customs
There might be a much less advantageous side to the customs held by the Spanish. Such as, the shopkeepers in most of the towns and villages go for a long lunch break between 01:00 to 04:00 pm. So, it is better if you plan your day accordingly to stay away from the disappointment.
Keep yourself well-dressed while in Spain, because, well, that is the custom! Which is why you may get some raised eyebrows; in case, you plan on dressing comfortably in those joggers or flip-flops!
So, try and look smart if you really wish to stay away from embarrassing yourself out in the public.
Why Learn Spanish Etiquettes?
Now, let’s move on to the third and the last thing that I am here to talk about today, the etiquettes. You may even call it decorum, or good manners, whatever you like. You may like to know that the Spanish are very much particular about their etiquettes and manners.
In other words, they think of these things as a representation of a person’s character. Thus, it is highly necessary for you to know what is included in the Spanish list of good manners.
First of all, make sure you greet every Spanish person you are introduced to in the right customary manner. It means you are required to shake hands with the next person, whether it is a man or a woman.
In other case, if it is a woman and she offers you her cheek, you have to exchange two kisses, first on the right cheek and then on the left. However, if you misunderstood me, they are not really kisses. In other words, it is merely a touching of cheeks while you make a kissing face in the air.
The next thing that comes is gifts. Again, this is a result of the friendly attitudes of the Spanish people. What you have to do is make sure that you never go empty-handed if any native invites you over at his place. It is a part of basic manners to take a small gift for the host with you. It could be anything, such as flowers, pastries, or something for the children if the host has any.
Coming to how you should be addressing people formally while in Spain. If you want to refer to someone as Mr. the appropriate word for it is Señor. In case that person is a woman, the Spanish replacement for Mrs. is Señora. Also, you don’t need to be extremely punctual while in Spain, as it is acceptable to be 15 minutes late in northern Spain, and 30 minutes in the Southern part of the country. Adiós travelers!
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About the Author
Lara Smith has worked for Wall Street English for 20 years. After studying at Stanford University and subsequently doing a CELTA course, she began her career in teaching. She is obsessed with languages and currently writes blogs at https://www.mimicmethod.com/.