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German Travel Phrases: Cheat Sheet For Getting Around

While many of the younger generations of Germans are taught German in school, there are still many people in the country who do not speak English.

So, learning a few of the more common words and phrases will go a long way in helping you have the trip of a lifetime while traveling to Germany.

Below is a handy infographic containing the most common phrases along with other information you will find valuable as you plan your future trip to Germany.

If you are a savvy traveler, then you already know the importance of learning a few of the more key phrases in the language of the country you will be visiting.

So, as you plan your trip to Germany, there are key German travel phrases, words, sentences, and greetings you should know to help make yourself less vulnerable as a traveler and tourist while also allowing you to get so much more out of your trip abroad.

Why You Should Learn German Travel Phrases

germany parliament building berlin

Still not convinced you to need to learn more German phrases?

Well, let’s take a look at a few beneficial reasons for doing just that.

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Native German Speakers Are More Appreciative

Whenever a native German speaker sees that a tourist has put more effort into learning the language, you will find that they are much more appreciative. It shows a level of respect and demonstrates to them that you want to reach out and connect to as many people as you can on your trip.

No Need to Clutch Your German Phrasebook

As a tourist, you probably have all the travel guides and German phrasebooks you can carry.

Well, when you take the time to learn common German travel phrases, you won’t have to rely so much on your phrasebook. You will have the chance to respond more quickly when you are spoken to and you might be able to meet a couple of locals during your trip.

Avoid Being Taken Advantage Of

When you can express yourself with common German travel phrases, there is less chance that you can be taken advantage of by taxi drivers, souvenir shops, or restaurants you visit.

Not All Germans Speak English

Finally, you will find that despite some people’s perceptions, not all Germans speak English. Even when visiting the larger and more touristy German cities, you will find many people who know very little English.

It can disrupt your trip if you need to hunt down an English speaker whenever you have a question or want to reach out and meet new people.

See Related: What Does Sprechen Sie Deutsch Mean?

Learn Your Basic German Phrases and Greetings

handshake of two german friends in city

Now that you know the importance of taking the time to learn key German phrases, let’s break it down a bit more before getting to the handy German travel phrase cheat sheet at the end.

Start with Hello

Hallo! Guten Morgen! Guten Tag! Guten Abend! Hello, good morning, good day, and good evening!

This is the best place to start when meeting new people in Germany. Then quickly follow this greeting with Ich heiße and insert your name.

A few other key phrases that will help with an opening conversation include:

  • Wie heißen Sie? – What is your name?
  • Wie geht’s? – How are you?
  • Wie geht es dir?  How are you?
  • Wie geht es Ihnen?   How are you? (informal)
  • Ich komme aus? – I am from…
  • Auf Wiedersehen – Goodbye 
  • Tschüß Bye!

Now for Some Shopping

Once you have your greetings learned and nailed down, think about the different activities you will be participating in while on your trip. We are willing to bet you are going to do a little shopping while you are away!

To help, we have a few basic German phrases to help make your shopping experience easier and more memorable.

Haben Sie Andenken? Do you have any souvenirs? This phrase will come in handy when you want to find some neat knickknacks to bring back home to your family and friends.

You can also say Verkaufen Sie… and input the name of the specific item you may be looking for. Once you find the item and need the price, Wie viel kostet das? This means, how much is that?

Other common basic German travel phrases you may want to practice:

  • Haben Sie das in einer [kleineren/größeren] Größe? – Do you have that in a smaller/bigger size?
  • Darf ich mit Bargeld bezahlen? – May I pay with cash?
  • Nehmen Sie (Visa/Mastercard, etc.)? – Do you accept (Visa/Mastercard, etc.)
  • Wo ist der nächste Geldautomat? – Where is the closest ATM?
  • Wo sind die Toiletten, bitte? – Where are the restrooms, please?
  • Wo ist die Toilette? – Where’s the restroom?
  • Ist es weit? – Is it far?

Asking for Directions

road train in germany

Ahh, directions. As a tourist in a new location, you will most likely find yourself getting lost and needing directions every once in a while.

One of the more important parts of traveling in a foreign country is ensuring you safely reach your destination.

Here are some of the more common transportation you will want to learn:

  • Wann fährt der nächste Bus nach …? – When does the next bus leave to…?
  • Wann fährt der nächste zug nach …? – When does the next train leave to…?
  • Wann kommt dieser Bus an? – When does this bus arrive?
  • Wann kommt dieser Zug an? – When does this train arrive?
  • Was kostet eine Fahrkarte nach …? – How much is a ticket to…?
  • Sprechen Sie Englisch? – Do you speak English?
  • Sprichst du Englisch? – Do you speak English? (informal)
  • Ich habe mich verlaufen – I’m lost. 
  • Ich verstehe nicht – I don’t understand.
  • Ich verstehe Sie nicht – I don’t understand you.

Restaurant and Take Out Phrases

a german restaurant

Once you figure out how to go from point A to point B, you have probably worked up quite a hunger and thirst. Let’s learn a few basic German travel phrases to help you order at a restaurant.

You will love being able to order your meal like a local!

  • Ich habe eine Reservierung auf den Namen… – I have a reservation under…
  • Die Speisekarte, bitte – The menu, please
  • Haben Sie… – Do you have….
  • Ich bin Vegetarier – I’m a vegetarian
  • Leitungswasser – Tap water
  • Suppe – Soup
  • Bier – Beer
  • Wein – Wine
  • Um die Ecke – Around the corner.
  • Guten Appetit – Enjoy your meal.
  • Wo ist die Toilette? – Where’s the restroom?
  • Darf ich eine Quittung haben, bitte? – Can I have a receipt, please?
  • Die Rechnung, bitte – The bill, please.
  • Guten Abend – Good night.

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Lodging Phrases

Now that your belly is full and you have seen some of the amazing sights that Germany has to offer, it is probably time to rest.

Here are a few of the more common German phrases for the lodging you want to learn before your trip.

  • Sind noch Zimmer frei? – Do you have any rooms available?
  • Einzelzimmer – Single Room
  • Klimaanlage – Air Conditioning
  • Ist Frühstück inklusiv? – Is breakfast included?
  • Ich bleibe [eine Nacht/zwei Nächte/drei Nächte] – I am staying (one night, two nights, three nights)
  • Ich möchte auschecken – I would like to check out

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Emergency German Phrases

Finally, let’s review a few important but simple German phrases for emergencies, so you can be prepared for anything.

  • Sprechen Sie Englisch? – Do you speak English?
  • Hilfe! – Help!
  • Feuer! – Fire!
  • Ich brauche Hilfe – I need help.
  • Ich brauche die Polizei – I need the police.
  • Ich brauche einen Arzt – I need a doctor
  • Wo ist das nächste Krankenhaus? – Where is the closest hospital?
  • Kann ich dein Telefon benutzen? – Can I use your phone?
  • Es ist ein Notfall – It’s an emergency
  • Wie komme ich zur [amerikanischen/kanadischen/australischen/britischen] Botschaft? – How do I get to the (American/Canadian/Australian/British) embassy?

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How to Learn Travel Phrases in German

You can learn travel phrases in German while you are on the go, there are some great ways to learn German travel phrases. One way is to use an app on your phone or tablet.

There are many different apps that offer this service. You can also find audio files that you can download to listen to while you are driving or walking.

Another great way to learn German is to find a website that offers free audio files. There are many different websites that offer this service. This can make learning German a lot easier as you can do it while you are working or relaxing.

One of the best ways to learn German travel phrases is to find a course that offers this service. While you are on vacation, it can be helpful to know some key phrases in the language of the country you are visiting. This way, you will be able to communicate with the locals and get around easier. German is a great language to learn for this purpose, as it is spoken in many different countries.

There are many different ways to learn, so don’t be afraid to try a few different methods to see which one works best for you. Just be sure to get started soon, so that you can start enjoying your trip even more.

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Which Basic German Words Are Used in English?

As you learn the German language, you will find that many basic German words are also used in English like kindergarten, iceberg, angst, sauerkraut, and Volkswagen.

Like other languages, English has many words that have been taken and adopted from other languages.

If you are a native speaker, you already know and understand the words we mentioned, but did you know they came from a foreign language?

How Quickly Can You Learn German?

German has currently rated a category 2 language, meaning that it is actually pretty similar to English.

For this reason, it is estimated that you can learn the German language in approximately 30 weeks or over 750 classroom hours. To learn German fast, you need to find a motivating factor.

For example, maybe you have a trip planned in the future. Make it your goal to learn the language before you board your plane.

When learning, it is important that you also learn all the fundamentals involved with the language.

To keep things interesting and keep you learning, don’t steer clear of slang words, funny words, or idioms. Go all the way and learn everything you can to the more common German phrases.

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What Is Considered Rude in Germany?

Did you know that Germans are known for their punctuality?

Many consider it extremely rude and deem you unreliable if you arrive late.

So, if you find yourself running late for an appointment or reservation, make sure you call ahead of time and apologize.

You also want to avoid jaywalking, entering a home wearing shoes, and walking in the bicycle lanes.

How Many German Words Do You Need to Know to Be Fluent?

Most fluent speakers should have a passive German vocabulary of around 20,000 words and an active German vocabulary of approximately 5,000 words.

To achieve a higher level of fluency when it comes to the German language, practice, practice, practice. Spend as much time as you can speaking German phrases and words in your every day, which is the easiest and most effective to start learning German.

Many students learning the language will spend around 25 hours a week on practice in class combined with three hours each day of their own individual practice.

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Where in the world is German spoken?

In central and northern Europe, mostly in Germany, but also in Austria and Switzerland. So if you are planning a trip around Europe, you will want to know at least the basics of German words and phrases.

Absolute beginners might want to consider a course that offers online learning, so they can start with the basics and work their way up.

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Abschließend (In Closing)

Learning useful German phrases and words before visiting the country can help ensure a smoother and more enjoyable trip all around.

You won’t find yourself clutching your German phrasebook, and you can respond much faster than if you had to flip through phrases. You won’t look like a tourist and can meet a lot of friendly people along the way.

As you can see, there are many different ways that you can go about learning the German language. What’s important is that you find a method that works best for you.


What are popular German phrases?

There are many popular German phrases, but some of the most common ones include: Good morning = Guten Morgen, Hello = Hallo, Good Day = Guten Tag, Ich heiße… = I’m…, and Thank You = Danke.

What is the most beautiful German word?

The most beautiful German word is Gemütlichkeit which means comfort. It generally translates to comfort but coined a distinctive feeling that encompasses the feelings of home, family, and community rather than just physical comforts.

What are some fun German words?

Some fun German words are Schweinhund which means pigdog, Torschlusspanik which means gate closing panic, and Lebenszeit which means life tired. These words are all translated to English quite literally, so they can be a lot of fun to use when speaking German. Additionally, there are a variety of other humorous words in the German language that can make for a more enjoyable experience when speaking or learning the language.

How can I learn German quickly?

Learn German easily by doing this! Find the right motivational reason for it and start learning the German basics and keep it interesting with fun words or jokes. Practice every day but do so in practical real life and try to speak German as much as possible.

Download this German travel phrases cheat sheet: Easy German Travel Phrase Guide [Infographic]

German Phrases (Infographic)

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