English is spoken in airports and better hotels worldwide. Signs are almost always in English, the native language, and in some cases, additional languages such as French, Spanish, German, Mandarin, and Japanese. At all inclusive hotels in Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, staff at hotels that interact with guests will all speak and understand enough English to perform their jobs adequately.
Others that are less likely to require interaction with guests, such as cleaning staff, clerical staff and cooks, may speak limited or no English, which can cause some frustration in some rare circumstances. Be prepared that you may have to wait for someone who does speak passable English to translate.
Outside of hotels and airports, taxi drivers, retail employees, and restaurant employees will speak limited English, except where they are specifically catering to tourists. It is a good idea to have the address and phone number of your hotel written down, as well as your destination address and phone number when hiring a taxi where English is either not spoken, or spoken poorly. A small attempt on behalf of tourists to use some key phrases, “Where are the washrooms?”, “Thank you”, “You’re Welcome” or How much is this?” will go a long way in getting better service from non English speakers.
Many times, an attempt, no matter how bad it sounds, is enough to reduce the feeling of embarrassment about their own English skills. Your demonstration of how bad your foreign language skills are will likely result in some attempt to communicate. Simple phrase books are a great asset in such situations.