I did French at school and later holidaying in Almeria, one had to have a go and learn certain words as supermarkets weren't the norm from shopkeepers in order to get by - food names and terminology were learned from menus too. We hired a car so learned associated words for use when driving. There with sis and family, ruddy great sign up on the main road before major roadworks headed up 'Ministeria de Obras Publicas' - hah! Ministry of Public Works - we all understand that! Even 4 yo Andrew was telling my sis to 'mind out for the obras, mummy!' Then I took a nightschool course, after which I did understand the grammar a bit more but once you learn one romantic language, none of it is rocket science cos you understand the terminology - 'cases' of verbs etc.
Sis and I didn't have any trouble in Italy, well prior to the Spanish holidays - and apparently there's always Google Translate on your mobile phone, for lazy folk! LOL