What’s Italian for “bon voyage”?

27th June 2023

Ever wondered what to say in Italian for “bon voyage”? Learn exactly how to wish someone a good trip in Italian, as well as other useful phrases for travelling.


Listen to the episode

Imagine setting off for an exciting holiday - to Italy perhaps, to practise your Italian. 

As you’re leaving, your friends and family might say bon voyage! 

In English we borrow this French expression that literally means: “good trip”. But what’s Italian for bon voyage

Wait for it…


It’s remarkably similar to the French expression: bon (buon), voyage (viaggio).

In this post, you’ll learn how to use and pronounce buon viaggio like a native, and pick up a few more phrases that follow this structure, too.

When to use buon viaggio: Italian for “bon voyage”

I’m leaving for Italy!

Buon viaggio!

Gotta go, I’ve a plane to catch!

Buon viaggio!

In a similar way to “bon voyage” you can use this word to wish someone well as they’re leaving to go on a trip. If someone says this to you, you can say grazie (thanks) in response.

Buon viaggio!


How to pronounce buon viaggio

To pronounce buon viaggio just like the Italians do, there are a couple of common mistakes you should avoid. 

Let’s start with buon. It sounds a bit like BWON. Not BON (like in the French “bon voyage”). You need to make a W sound with your lips after the B. Let’s give that a practise:

B-Wo… B-Wo… B-Wo… B-Won… B-Won… Bwon… Buon!

Alternatively, start with the number: “one”, and then add a “b” sound in front:

One… one… b-one… b-one… b-one… buon!

Then there’s viaggio. The trickiest parts are the two “i”s. The first one is like a Y sound: VYA. 

Attenzione! It’s not “Via” as in “viaduct”. 

It’s VYA…

To get this right, try saying “ya”, like the first part of “yak”, but without the “k”. 

Yak… yak… ya… ya…

Then add a “V” sound to the beginning:

Vyak… vyak… vya… vya…

The second “i” is not pronounced. Instead it turns the “g” into a soft “j” sound, like the “j” in the name “Joe”. To say the last part, just say “Joe” but shorten the vowel sound. Not a long “oh” sound, but a short, sharp “o”.

Joe… joe… joe... jo’...  jo’...  gio… gio!

Finally, since there’s a double -gg- sound, remember to hold that consonant just a little longer. Really take your time with it, and enjoy the sound. Viaggggio.

You might find it helps to imagine a little pause between the two ggs: viag-gio

Let’s put it all together:

B-won vyag-gio… bwon vyag-gio… bwon vyag-gio… buon viaggio!

So, now you know how to say buon viaggio, let’s talk about how this phrase works. Once you understand the logic behind it, you can use it to say lots of different things in Italian! 

How does this expression work?

When you think about the literal meaning, it could sound a little strange. 

Buon -  good 

Viaggio -  trip 

If you didn’t say “bon voyage” in English, you’d have to say “have a good trip” - a whole sentence. 

In Italian though, you don’t need those extra words. It works just like the English phrase “good luck!” You don’t need to say “have good luck”, it’s just “good luck”. In the same way, Italians just say buon viaggio. Good trip. 

Perhaps you’ve also noticed that it’s buon and not buono. Normally, to say something is good, Italians say buono:

Il caffè è buono - The coffee is good.

But with this expression, buono changes to buon.

Buon viaggio! - Have a good trip!

When buono goes before the word, like in this expression, buono changes to buon.

Here are some more examples: 

Buon lavoro - Have a good day at work (good work)

Buon sabato - Have a good Saturday (good saturday)

In this next section you’ll learn more phrases that work in a similar way.

Other phrases like buon viaggio

Once you understand how buon viaggio works, you’ll start hearing other expressions that work in a similar way all the time in Italian. 

For example, when someone is leaving for a trip, in Italian you can also say:

Buone vacanze!

Here we have buone, rather than buon, because vacanze is plural in Italian. Can you guess what vacanze are literally? It closely resembles its English meaning: “vacation”. 

Buone vacanze! - Have a good vacation! 

Alternatively, if someone is going back home rather than setting off on their trip, then you can say:

Buon rientro!

That means “have a good trip back”, literally “good return”. You can see that the word rientro looks a bit like “re-entry”, if that helps you remember it.

What about another French expression we know in English? As you’re sitting down for dinner, you might hear someone say “bon appetit” - but how would Italians say this? Just like with “bon voyage”, it’s quite similar to the French:

Buon appetito!

Just remember when you wish someone a good meal in Italian to really pronounce the double “p”s of appetito: ap-petito. 

Do you feel you’re getting the hang of these “buon…” expressions? There are lots. On the subject of food, if your friend is about to go and eat or drink something, you could wish them: 

Buon pranzo! - Have a nice lunch! 

Buon caffè! - Have a nice coffee! 

Buona cena! - Have a nice dinner! 

Buona pizza! - Have a nice pizza! 

Notice that in the last two, we say buona ending in -a because cena and pizza are feminine words. 

After a meal, if you’re on holiday in Italy, and you’re going out for a stroll around town, Italians might say:

Buon giro!

The meaning is “have a nice walk”, although literally a giro is a “turn”. Perhaps you can imagine the connection between making a “turn” and wandering around? You can enjoy un giro especially when you’re wandering around a city you don’t know so well.

Or if you’re tired out and off to bed for a rest, they might say:

Buon riposo!

The meaning is: “have a good rest”. 

…and the list could go on. As you can probably tell, you can apply this structure to many words in Italian to wish someone well in any kind of situation, whether it’s a trip: buon viaggio, or a meal: buon appetito.

Now you know how to wish someone buon viaggio, as well as many other phrases. Not only that, you understand what it means, and hopefully how to get the pronunciation right too.

If you want to test your knowledge of what you’ve learned, then check out our quiz below.

Good luck! Buona fortuna!

What’s Italian for “bon voyage”: Review

Looking to refresh your memory? Here’s a quick summary of the main points you learned in this lesson: 

The Italian for “bon voyage” is buon viaggio. 

The first word is buon - which sounds like BWON, with a “W” sound after the “B”

The second word is viaggio - here, watch out for the two “i” sounds. 

  • At the beginning (via), don’t say VIA, say VYA. 
  • At the end, (gio), don’t say JEE-OH, say JO - like the first part of the name “Joe”. 

And remember to pause on the double G: viag-gio.

Finally, you learned some other phrases that work in a similar way:  

  • Buone vacanze (good holidays)
  • Buon rientro (good return trip)
  • Buon appetito (bon appetit - enjoy your meal)

Can you remember any others? Feel free to check back through the last section to see the rest, then head over to our quiz to test your memory!

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Vocabulary: What’s Italian for “bon voyage”?

buone vacanze = good holidays / have a good vacation
buon pranzo = good lunch / have a nice lunch
buona cena = good dinner / have a nice dinner
buon caffè= good coffee / have a nice coffee
buona pizza = good pizza / have a nice pizza
buon giro = good walk / have a nice walk
buon riposo = good rest / have a good rest
arrivare = to arrive
prima di = before
cucinare = to cook
mangiare = to eat
partire = to leave
buon viaggio = bon voyage / have a good trip
buon appetito = bon appetit / enjoy your meal
buon rientro = good return / have a good return trip

Quiz: What’s Italian for “bon voyage”?

How much did you learn? Find out in the quiz!

Click here to take the quiz for this episode: What's Italian for "bon voyage"?

Flashcards: What’s Italian for “bon voyage”?

Remember the vocabulary from this lesson by downloading the digital flashcards

Not sure how it works? Click here to watch the tutorial

Transcript: What’s Italian for “bon voyage”?

Please note, this is not a word for word transcript.

K: Ciao a tutti e benvenuti! Hi everyone and welcome to “Learn Italian with Joy of Languages”. Before we get started, did you notice? We’re celebrating our 100th episode! 

M: Sììììììì!!!! 

K: Grazie a tutti! Thank you for learning Italian with us and supporting this podcast. 

M: We hope you’ve learned a lot over the last 100 episodes, and we can’t wait for you to learn more in the next 100! 

K: And we have a prize to celebrate. The doors to our online Italian school open this September 

M: And we’re giving away a 4-month subscription to one lucky student! 

K: To enter, all you need to do is join our online Italian school mailing list. To find out more about the online school and join our mailing list, click the link in the description, or go to courses.joyoflanguages.com/online-italian-school. 

M: We’ll let the winner know on September 1st 2023. After a few months of learning Italian in our school, you’ll be ready for your next trip to Italy. And speaking of which, today, we’re talking about how to wish someone a nice trip. 

K: In English, we sometimes use the French phrase, bon voyage. What’s bon voyage in Italian? 

M: Buon viaggio (x 3)

K: So as you can hear, it’s quite similar to the French one. We have: 

M: Buon 

K: Which means “good”, and: 

M: Viaggio

K: Which means “trip” or “journey”. But how exactly do we use it? Matteo goes to Naples quite a lot, and this is a typical phone conversation we might have when he’s due to come back that day. As you listen, can you spot the expression buon viaggio, or any others that sound similar?

K: A che ora arrivi? 

M: Alle 8:00

K: Cucino qualcosa? 

M: Nooooo, mangio un'altra pizza prima di partire. 

K: Certo! Allora buon appetito. E buon viaggio! 

K: At the end, you heard our expression buon viaggio. But what did the rest of the conversation mean? First, we’ll break it down word for word, then you’ll learn how to use and pronounce the phrase buon viaggio, just like Italians do. 

I asked Matteo: 

M: A che ora arrivi? 

K: What time do you arrive? Literally: 

M: A - at

che - what

ora - hour

arrivi? - you arrive?

K: And he replied: 

M: Alle 8:00 - at 8 o’clock. 

K: And if you need some help telling the time in Italian, you can check out episode 31.

Next I asked: 

M: Cucino qualcosa? 

K: Shall I cook something? Literally: 

Cucino - I cook

Qualcosa - something

K: An extra thing to notice here is how we often use the present tense to talk about the future in Italian: 

M: cucino

K: I’ll cook, literally “I cook”. Matteo doesn’t seem very enthusiastic about this idea… 

M: Noooo, mangio un’altra pizza prima di partire

K: No, I’ll eat another pizza before leaving. Literally:

M: No - no

mangio - I eat

un’altra - another

pizza - pizza

prima di - before

partire - parting

K: To say “before doing something”, it’s

M: Prima di

K: You need that extra di in Italian that doesn’t appear in English. Before leaving: 

M: Prima di partire

K: Notice how “leaving”, partire sounds a lot like “part”

M: Partire. Prima di partire. 

K: Unbelievable. I offered to cook for Matteo, but he decided he’d prefer to have another pizza in Naples rather than face my cooking. Understandable really, I’d do the same. 

M: Eh, sì. 

K: In fact, I replied: 

M: Certo! 

K: Of course! 

Allora - well

buon appetito - bon appetit, literally “good appetite”. 

K: Here’s another French phrase we sometimes use in English: bon appetit. Which is like saying: “have a good meal”, or “enjoy your meal”. In Italian once again it’s:

M: Buon appetito

K: Notice how the double P sound is much longer in Italian.

M: ap-petito

K: You’ve got to really enjoy that P sound!

M: ap-petito

K: Here we see this structure with buon. In Italian, we don’t say “have a good meal” or “enjoy your meal”. 

M: In Italian, it’s really simple. We just say “good”, buon!  

K: So to say “have a good meal”, or “enjoy your meal”, we literally say “good appetite”

M: Buon appetito!

K: Finally I said:

M: E buon viaggio

K: And have a good journey

M: E - and

Buon - good

Viaggio - trip

K: Another structure with “buon”. To say have a good journey, or enjoy your journey, we literally say “good journey”: 

M: Buon viaggio! 

K: Let’s move onto pronunciation, because there are a couple of details to pay close attention to. First, there’s:

M: Buon

K: It sounds like there’s a W sound there: 

M: B-www-on

K: Not like “bon” of the French “bon voyage”. In Italian, it’s:

M: Buon

K: To say this word correctly, try saying “one”, as in the number “one”:

M: One

K: And then add a B sound before it: B-one, b-one, b-one… then get fast… bb-one… b-one… b-one… buon, buon, buon!

M: Buon (x 3)

K: Then we had viaggio, which has two unusual “i” sounds. Viaggio is spelt: V - I - A - G - G - I - O.  The first I, directly after “v” is like a “y”

M: Vya

K: Imagine you’re saying “yak”, as in the big hairy animal: “Yak”. Then cut the “k” off the end, “ya”, “ya”, then add a “v” sound to the beginning. Vya, Vya, Vya…

M: Vya (x 3)

K: The “v” kind of slides into the “a” sound. It doesn’t make two syllables, like “via”. It’s just “vya”.

M: Vya 

K: The last part of the word is spelt G - I - O.  This second “i” sound, after the “g”, actually isn’t pronounced. It just makes the “g” a soft “j” sound, like in the word job. In fact, to say the last part of viaggio, try saying the word “job”.Then remove the b. Job, job, job, jo, jo, jo.

K: Another common pronunciation mistake is to say Joe, with a long oh sound. In Italian, it’s gio. 

M: gio. 

K: The last common mistake is to pronounce the “i” and say JEE-OH. But actually it’s JO. 

M: Giò (x 3)

K: Let’s try and say the whole word together: viaggio. 

M: viaggio (x 3) 

K: The last thing to bear in mind is the double “g” consonant. Just like the “p” of 

M: appetito

K: You should linger on the “g” sound:

M: viag-gio

K: You can even think of it like a little pause in between the two g-g’s. That often helps. 

M: viag-gio (x 3)

K: Let’s put it all together!

M: Buon viaggio (x3)

K: Perfect! Thanks Matteo, it’s always good to have you back, once you’ve had your fill of pizzas… 

M: Ah, yes when someone’s coming back from holiday you can also say buon rientro

K: Like “good return”, literally.

M: Buon rientro (x 3)

K: There are actually loads of phrases that work just like buon viaggio. Do you remember the other one we heard today?

M: Buon appetito

K: And now also:
M: Buon rientro

K: You can learn more of these over on the blog, but first, let’s listen to the conversation one more time:

K: A che ora arrivi? 

M: Alle 8:00

K: Cucino qualcosa? 

M: Nooooo, mangio un'altra pizza prima di partire. 

K: Certo! Allora buon appetito. E buon viaggio! 

K: So, now you know how to say buon viaggio, as well as a few other phrases!

M: And it’s not just buon viaggio and buon appetito. You can use this kind of expression in many contexts in Italian. 

K: If you’re curious to learn a few more of these expressions with buon, don’t miss our blog post on this topic. There, you’ll also see everything from this lesson written down, and get bonus materials, like vocabulary cards and a quiz. Head over to our website, joyoflanguages.com/italianpodcast and search for [episode 100]. 

M: Ah, and don’t forget the prize for our 100th episode! 

K: Our online Italian school is opening in September, and you can find out more by going to courses.joyoflanguages.com/online-italian-school/ or clicking on the link in the description. And if you join our newsletter, you’ll also be in with a chance of winning a 4-month subscription, from September to December. 

M - See you next time.

K - Or as we say in Italian.

Alla prossima!

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