Arabic Survival Guide: How to Order Food in a Restaurant and More!

Are you planning a trip to an Arabic-speaking country? Whether it's for leisure or business, it's always helpful to learn some survival travel phrases in Arabic. Being able to communicate with locals can make your experience more enjoyable and memorable. In this blog post, we will provide you with basic Arabic phrases that will help you navigate through different situations such as greetings, directions, getting around, food and drink, shopping and emergencies. So pack your bags and get ready to impress the locals with your newfound language skills!

Survival travel phrases in Arabic by

Survival travel phrases in Arabic

Basic Arabic Phrases

If you're planning to travel to an Arabic-speaking country, it's essential to learn some basic Arabic phrases. Not only will this make your trip smoother and more enjoyable, but it'll also show respect for the local culture.

First, learning how to say "hello" in Arabic is a great way to start any conversation. Simply saying "assalamu alaikum" (peace be upon you) will go a long way in making a positive first impression.

Another important phrase is "shukran" which means thank you. Expressing gratitude is always appreciated anywhere in the world and can help build bridges between people from different cultures.

It's also beneficial to know some numbers in Arabic as they are used frequently when bargaining or buying something at the market. For example, knowing how to say one through ten can be helpful when negotiating prices with vendors.

Additionally, understanding common pleasantries such as "please", "excuse me", and "sorry" are crucial for everyday interactions. These simple yet courteous phrases can make all the difference when trying to communicate effectively with locals.

Taking the time to learn basic Arabic phrases before traveling can greatly enhance your experience abroad while showing respect for local customs and traditions.


Greetings are an essential part of any language, and Arabic is no exception. Knowing how to greet someone in Arabic can go a long way when traveling to Arab countries.

The most common greeting in Arabic is "As-salamu alaykum," which means "Peace be upon you." It's used as a general greeting and can be used with anyone, regardless of their gender or social status. The appropriate response would be "Wa alaykumu as-salam," which means "And peace be upon you too."

Another common greeting is "Marhaba," which translates to "Hello" in English. This one is more casual than the previous one and can be used with friends, family members, or colleagues.

If you want to show respect towards older people or someone who has a higher social status than yours, you can use the phrase "Ahlan wa sahlan." It roughly translates to "Welcome" but also conveys sincere warmth and hospitality.

If you're visiting during Ramadan (the holy month for Muslims), it's customary to greet people by saying “Ramadan Kareem” meaning “Have a generous Ramadan”.

Remember that greetings play an important role in Arab culture; they often precede conversations and help establish relationships between individuals. So practice these phrases before your next trip - it will definitely make a positive impression on those around you!


Directions are crucial when traveling in a foreign country, and it's essential to know how to ask for help if you get lost. Here are some key phrases that will come in handy:

- Excuse me, where is the (place)? - عفوا، أين (المكان)؟
- How do I get to (place)? - كيف يمكنني الوصول إلى (المكان)؟
- Is it far from here? - هل هو بعيد من هنا؟

It's also helpful to know some basic directions:

- Right – يمين
- Left – شمال
- Straight ahead – مستقيمًا إلى الأمام
- Turn around – التقدُّم / التحول

In addition, knowing numbers can be useful when asking about distances or bus routes.

Don't forget that body language is universal. Pointing or using hand gestures can often bridge any language barrier when asking for directions.

Getting Around

Navigating a new city can be overwhelming, especially if you don't speak the language. But with these basic Arabic phrases, getting around will be a breeze!

It's important to know how to ask for directions. You can say "Kayf-a-salook la (place name)?" which means "How do I get to (place name)?". Alternatively, you could use "Ay-nuh al-muTarakah at-taqdimah?" which translates as "Where is the nearest transportation?"

If you need to take public transport, here are some useful phrases: "Hal yujad mawqif huna li-lautubus?" meaning "Is there a bus stop here?"; and "MaDaa TaH-Taj li-an takhuDH al-metro aw ath-thariiq as-sa'iiL" which translates as “What do I need in order to take the metro or tram?”

If walking is more your style, try asking locals for directions by saying: “Ayna yuwaffiruuka hadha al-haadik?” which means “Where does this path lead?”. And remember that taxi drivers are always helpful when it comes to finding your way around town.

With these simple Arabic phrases under your belt, exploring new places will be much easier!

Food and Drink

Food and drink are an essential part of any travel experience, and Arabic cuisine is no exception. Here are some helpful phrases to make your dining experiences more enjoyable.

It's important to know how to order food in Arabic. You can use the phrase "Ana a'red al-ta'am" which translates to "I would like food." If you have specific dietary requirements or allergies, be sure to mention them when ordering.

When it comes to drinks, tea is a staple in Arab culture. You can ask for tea by saying "shay" or if you want it with sugar say "shay bi sukkar". Coffee is also popular, especially Turkish coffee known as qahwa arabiyya.

If you're enjoying a meal with others, it's customary to share dishes. In Arabic culture sharing food symbolizes hospitality and friendship. When offering someone else food say “Tafaddal” which means “Please help yourself.”

After finishing your meal don't forget to express gratitude by saying "Shukran" meaning thank you. This simple gesture goes a long way in showing appreciation for the delicious meal and hospitality provided by locals.

Learning basic Food and drink phrases will enhance your cultural experience while traveling through Arabic-speaking countries.


Shopping in Arabic-speaking countries can be a daunting experience for travelers, especially if you're not familiar with the language. But fear not! With some basic Arabic phrases and a smile on your face, you'll be able to navigate through markets and shops like a pro.

When entering a shop or market, it's always polite to greet the vendor with "As-salamu alaykum", which means "Peace be upon you". To ask how much something costs, simply say "Bikam dah?" or "How much is this?". When bargaining for a better price, use phrases such as "Ana bish-tari" meaning "I want to buy" and offer your desired price by saying "Ana 'awza haaga bi..." followed by the amount.

While shopping, it's also important to know numbers in Arabic. For example, one is wahid, two is ithnan and three is thalatha. This will come in handy when negotiating prices with vendors.

To show appreciation towards the vendor after purchase use expressions like “Shukran” which means “Thank you”. And should we need any help finding anything specific we can ask them ”Hal yumkinuka musa'adati?” (Can you help me?).

With these simple shopping phrases under your belt, haggling over prices and purchasing souvenirs become less intimidating experiences while traveling around Arab nations.


Emergencies can happen at any time and in any place, including when traveling to a foreign country. It's important to know how to ask for help or convey an emergency situation in Arabic.

If you need immediate assistance, the phrase "Maddad!" (مدد) is used to call for help. Another useful phrase is "Ana fee haaja mohima" (أنا في حاجة مهمة), which means "I am in urgent need."

In case of medical emergencies, it is essential to know basic words related to health issues such as headache ("Sudaa"), fever ("Humma"), bleeding ("Nazar") and pain ("Wajaa").

In situations that require police intervention, you can say "Maadar alshurta" (مدر الشرطة) which means "Police station." To report a crime or theft, use the phrase "ana shaahidt siyaqat" (أنا شاهدت سرقة).

It's also crucial to have emergency contact information. Memorize or write down the numbers for local emergency services like ambulance service (“Alkhidmah alsihhaiyah”) and fire department (“Idaarat Al’nnar”).

Being prepared with these phrases and contacts will make it easier and quicker for you to get assistance during emergencies while traveling in Arabic-speaking countries.

Learning basic Arabic phrases can be extremely helpful when traveling to Arabic-speaking countries. By familiarizing yourself with common greetings, directions, and transportation phrases as well as food and drink vocabulary or shopping expressions, you will not only show respect for the local culture but also enhance your travel experience.

Moreover, if you are planning on staying in an Arabic-speaking country for a longer period of time or interacting with locals on a regular basis, taking formal language classes can further improve your communication skills and cultural understanding.

Remember that making an effort to communicate in the native language can go a long way in building relationships with people from different backgrounds. So don't hesitate to practice these survival travel phrases and embrace the beauty of Arabian hospitality!

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