I'm planning a trip to South America, in january of next year. My grasp of Spanish or Portugese is very basic. What in your experience are the best language/phrase books to bring with me, in order to be able get by and try and converse with people.
The lonely planet phrase books are absolutely hilarious, you should try and have a look at them anyway, they made really good icebreakers for conversations, ref to the sex and relationships page where they include phrases like "go tiger"...
Otherwise I reccomend getting a dictionary as well as handy phrasebooks, cos often you can pick up the gist of things but get stuck on the meaning of singular words!
take it easy
I found the Berlitz English/Spanish phrase book to be very neatly ordered and easy to use.
people really seem to like the hugo learn spanish in 3 months book. also does one for latin spanish. come with 3 cds
I recommend to all my pupils to bring a good pocket diccionary in step of those phrase books... you can learn the grammar in a short term course or in the way...
Diccionaries help you to say what you really want and not to repeat like sentences like a parrot