Spanish is the official language of Spain and most of Latin America, and millions of people in major U.S. cities such as Chicago and New York speak it, making it a useful language not only for travelling but for interacting with Hispanic communities at home. Before you head off on your Spanish-speaking adventure, get a few basis phrases under your belt.

Keep It Simple

As in English, Spanish phrases for "goodbye" vary depending on the situation. Different Spanish-speaking countries also have different ways of saying farewell. The most universally used and understandable word for "goodbye," is "adios" (ah-dee-oas). Literally meaning "to God," the word strikes a bit of a formal tone among friends but is understood. You may use the word when saying goodbye to individuals, groups, men and women.

Alternatives

In English, you probably use phrases such as "see you later" and "have a good one" more often than you say "goodbye." Similarly, farewells in Spanish tend to rely on informal phrases more often than "adios." "Nos vemos" (nose-vay-mose) means "we'll be seeing each other" and is a common alternative. "Hasta luego" (ahs-ta-loo-ay-go) and "hasta pronto" (ahs-ta-prone-toe) mean "until later/soon" and are commonly used.

A Little Something Extra

Especially when meeting new people, it's customary to say a few extra words during a goodbye. These extra phrases are roughly the Spanish equivalent of "nice to meet you" and may be used to compliment a greeting or farewell. "Un gusto" (oon-goose-toe) and "un placer" (oon-plah-sayr) are the two most common phrases for these situations. Both translate roughly to "a pleasure."

Body Language

Especially in Spanish-speaking countries, your body language may be more important than your word choice when expressing affection or appreciation. Goodbye gestures vary slightly from country to country but all tend to involve closer contact than in most interactions in the U.S. Even in formal situations, handshakes often are accompanied by a light pat on the back or even a gentle hug. Among women or between a man and a woman, it's customary to say goodbye with a kiss on the right cheek. In Spain, that kiss in followed by another on the left side. In Argentina and Uruguay, male friends also greet and say goodbye to each other with a cheek kiss.