47 Survival German Travel Phrases [You Need To Know]
Are you dreaming about your next trip to Germany? Maybe this is your first visit and you’re keen to blend in. Or perhaps you’ve visited German speaking countries a few times but always resorted to using English.
In this post you will discover 47 tried and tested German travel phrases that have worked well for me on my many trips to Germany. You’ll also hear audio of each of the phrases.
After reading this post you will:
- Know how to say 47 essential German travel phrases
- Hear how each of the phrases sound
- Be able to mix and match which ever phrases you want to try out on German speakers
Why Learn German Travel Phrases?
Before we get started I want to give you a quick pep talk.
If you’re travelling to a German speaking country any time soon, you may head there with the idea that ‘everyone speaks English’.
If you’re heading for a city break, you’ll probably meet people in the tourist industry that do speak a bit of English. But once you step off the tourist path, you’ll realise that many people don’t speak much English at all.
Even if you’re opting for a city break, it shows a great deal of respect to the local people to at least learn how to say ‘hello’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in German. If you expand your knowledge and learn how to say more German tourist phrases such as ‘I would like’ or ‘can I check in?’ the person you’re speaking to will be really impressed.
In my many trips to Germany, I’ve learned to never be afraid of speaking German with the locals. Even during my earlier visits when I tried and butchered that poor language, the German speakers I spoke to were so happy that I was even trying.
Don’t let the fear of making mistakes stop you from trying. Even if you mostly speak English, then throw in one of these German travel phrases somewhere, you’ll make progress.
Common German Words
Let’s make a start with the most common German travel phrases and words you’ll encounter as a tourist. These are simple pleasantries that will be appreciated by the locals. So make sure you learn some of these even if you don’t learn anything else.
| Tschüss ||Goodbye|
|Danke ||Thank you|
|Schönen Tag noch ||Have a nice day|
|Entschuldigung ||Excuse me|
Asking For Help / Not Understanding
Whenever you’re in a country where you don’t speak a lot of the language, it’s always helpful to learn a few ’emergency phrases’.
For example, one time when I was in Germany, but didn’t know much German at that point, another guest in a hotel started chatting to me in German. My go-to phrase to politely end a conversation was sorry, mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut (sorry, my German isn’t very good).
And just so you know, in a real emergency, the emergency number in Germany is 112.
|Kann ich Ihnen helfen? ||Can I help you?|
|Können Sie mir bitte helfen? ||Can you help me please?|
|Ich habe mich verloren ||I’m lost|
|Ich habe mein Handy verloren ||I’ve lost my phone|
|Ich verstehe nicht ||I don’t understand|
|Mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut ||My German isn’t very good|
|Ich weiß es nicht ||I don’t know|
|Sprechen Sie Englisch? ||Do you speak English?|
|Langsamer bitte ||Slower please|
Whether you’re stopping for a quick coffee or a full on meal, there are loads of chances to practice some German travel phrases with the waiting staff when you order food and drink in German. At the very least, memorise ich hätte gern… (I would like…) and then add your drink or meal of choice. It’s really polite and shows a lot of respect to the person serving you to order in this way.
Some key words to listen out for are trinken (drink) and essen (eat). These are great words to train yourself to listen for so you can get a feel for what is being asked.
|Haben Sie einen Platz für 2 Personen? ||Do you have a table for 2?|
|Haben Sie schon bestellt? ||Have you already ordered?|
|Haben Sie eine Speisekarte? ||Do you have a menu?|
|Was möchten Sie trinken / essen? ||What would you like to drink / eat?|
|Ich hätte gern… ||I would like…|
|Was empfehlen Sie? ||What do you recommend?|
|Bitte schön ||Here you go|
|Kann ich bitte bezahlen? ||Can I pay please?|
|Zusammen oder getrennt? ||Together or separately?|
|Stimmt so ||Keep the change|
In a hotel you’re most likely to meet English speakers, but if you want to practice some German, the receptionists are usually very happy to speak to you. Why not try some of these essential phrases out?
|Kann ich bitte einchecken? ||Can I check in please?|
|Ich habe eine Reservierung ||I have a reservation|
|Bis wann muss ich auschecken? ||When do I have to check out by?|
|Wann gibt es Frühstück? ||When is breakfast?|
|Kann ich bitte auschecken? ||Can I check out please?|
Getting Around & Directions
Thanks to Google Maps, you probably won’t need to ask a local for directions, but it’s always helpful to know how to ask the way to the toilet / bathroom if you’re in a café.
|Wo ist [die Toilette]? ||Where is [the toilet / bathroom]?|
|Wie komme ich zu [dem Bahnhof]? ||How to I get to [the train station]?|
|Gibt es [eine Tankstelle] in der Nähe? ||Is there [a petrol / gas station] nearby?|
|Ich suche [die Touristeninformation] ||I’m looking for [the tourist information]|
|Da drüben ||Over there|
|Geradeaus ||Straight on|
|Auf der linken / richtigen Seite ||On the left / right side|
One thing to keep in mind when shopping in Germany, is that you’ll encounter shops, cafés and restaurants that only accept cash. So it’s a good idea to check before you order.
German has 3+ words for receipt, and in my experience they seem to be interchangeable. One way of saying receipt isn’t limited to the area you’re in, so you might hear Quittung, Bon and Beleg being used all in the same city. Keep your ears alert for these tricky words!
|Wie viel kostet das? ||How much does it cost?|
|Kann ich mit Kreditkarte / Bargeld bezahlen? ||Can I pay by card / cash?|
|Ich schaue nur ||I’m just looking|
|Wollen Sie eine Quittung / einen Bon / einen Beleg? ||Do you want a receipt?|
So there you go, 47 essential German travel phrases, all tried and tested and ready for you to use on your next trip.