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60 Essential German Travel Phrases

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Published:
Aug 12, 2021

Are you planning a trip to a German-speaking country? There are so many reasons for learning basic German travel phrases before you jump on that plane. And we invite you to try out Drops to learn more than 2500 useful German words and phrases!

The locals will appreciate any effort you make to speak the local language. You’ll make traveling far easier on yourself as you’ll be able to communicate more clearly. You can get to know people who don’t speak English and experience a different culture.

Despite the common belief, not everyone speaks English. Even if you are planning a city break, it will be appreciated if you make an effort to speak a bit of German. It’s a sign of respect for the people in the country you are visiting.

If you want to venture away from the cities, you’ll likely encounter a lot of people who hardly speak any English at all. So it’s worth being prepared!

So let’s dive right in and take a look at my favorite tried and tested German travel phrases.

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German Greetings & German Basics

Hallo - “hello”

Tschüss - “bye”

Auf wiedersehen - “goodbye”

Tschau - “ciao”

Guten Morgen - "good morning”

Guten Tag - "good day”

Guten Abend - "good evening”

Gute Nacht - "good night”

Danke / Vielen Dank / Dankeschön - "thanks” and “many thanks”

There are a few ways to say thank you in German. Just use danke for now but expect to hear the other versions as well.

Bitte - "please”

Sorry - "sorry”

Entschuldigen Sie bitte - "excuse me” or “sorry”

Ja - "yes”

Nein - "no”

Learn German Travel Phrases


German Phrases You Might Hear

You might also hear the following German expressions:

Gerne - "gladly” or “my pleasure”

Bitte schön - "there you go” or “you’re welcome”

Both of these are often used in restaurants and cafes, when the waiting staff bring your food or drinks over, and also in shops. More on that later!

German Phrases in the Hotel

One of the first things you’ll do when you arrive in a German-speaking country is check into your hotel. There are a few standard phrases which you can use, and the checking in procedure usually follows the same pattern. 

The receptionist will ask if you have a reservation (listen for ‘Reservierung’), they’ll ask your name (listen for ‘Name’ [Nahmeh]) and they’ll give you your key (listen for ‘Schüssel’).

Checking in to the Hotel in German

Kann ich bitte einchecken? - “Can I check in please?”

Ich habe eine Reservierung - “I have a reservation”

Mein Name ist (...) - “My name is (...)”

Ich bleibe bis Montag hier / bis zum vierundzwanzigsten (24th) Juni hier - “I’m staying here until Monday / until the 24th June”

Wann / wo gibt es Frühstück? - ”When is breakfast?”

Gibt es hier WLAN [vee-lan]? - “Is there wifi here?”

Wie lautet das WLAN-Passwort? - “What is the wifi password?”

Um wie viel Uhr muss man auschecken? - “By what time must I check out?”

Kann ich bitte auschecken? - “Can I check out, please?”

What You May Hear in German at the Hotel

Haben Sie eine Reservierung? - “Do you have a reservation?”

Wie ist Ihre Name? - “What is your name?”

Bleiben Sie hier für drei (3) Nächte / eine (1) Woche / zwei (2) Wochen? - “Are you staying here for 3 nights / 1 week / 2 weeks?”

Frühstück ist bis sieben (7) Uhr bis zehn (10) Uhr - “Breakfast is from 7am until 10am”

Ihre Zimmernummer ist… - “Your room number is…”

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Shopping in German

If you’re out exploring the city, you’ll probably want to do a bit of shopping for souvenirs. The first phrase (ich schaue mich nur um) in this section was pretty essential for me in the early days when I was too nervous to speak much German. If a shop assistant comes up to help and you’re just having a look around or you’re too nervous to speak, this phrase can come in handy.

What You Can Say When Shopping in German

Ich schaue mich nur um - “I’m just looking around”

Ich suche nach… - “I’m looking for…”

Wie viel kostet das? - “How much does that cost?”

Kann ich mit Bargeld / Kreditkarte bezahlen? - “Can I pay with cash / credit card?”

Könnte ich eine Tüte haben? - “Could I have a bag?”

What You May Hear While Shopping in German

Kann ich Ihnen helfen? - “Can I help you?”

Möchten Sie es probieren? - “Would you like to try it?”

Eating Out in German

When it comes to eating out, this is a really great way to practice a bit of basic German. You only need a few phrases to get by. Your power phrase in this section is ich hätte gern… which you can use for any food or drink order. It’s very polite and the serving staff will appreciate it.

Like when checking into the hotel, there is usually a set pattern to look out for when in a cafe or restaurant:

The waiter will ask for your drinks order (listen for trinken), they will then ask for your food order (listen for essen) and later they will ask if you’d like a dessert (listen for Nachtisch).

What You Can Say in German When Dining Out

Haben Sie ein Tisch für ein (1) / zwei (2) / drei (3) Person(en)? - “Do you have a table for 1 / 2 / 3 person / people?”

Ich hätte gern (…) bitte - “I would like (...) please”

  • einen schwarzen Tee (mit Milch) - “a black tea (with milk)”
  • einen Kaffee - “a coffee”
  • ein Mineralwasser - “a mineral water”
  • ein Glas Rotwein - “a glass of red wine”
  • ein Glas Weißwein - “a glass of white wine”
  • ein Bier - “a beer”

Könnte ich ein stück Kuchen haben? - “Could I have a piece of cake?”

Was empfehlen Sie? - “What do you recommend?”

Kann ich bitte bezahlen? - “Can I pay please?”

What You Might Hear in German at a Restaurant

Was möchten Sie? - “What would you like?”

Ich empfehle (...) - “I recommend (...)”

Was möchten Sie trinken? - “What would you like to drink?”

Was möchten Sie essen? - “What would you like to eat?”

Möchten Sie die Nachtischkarte? - “Would you like the dessert menu?”

Essential travel phrases in German


Sightseeing in German

When you’re out sightseeing, you’ll probably be able to find an English language tour guide. But there are a lot of situations where you might be on your own and need to ask where something is. The simple phrase wo ist… is very useful and easy to remember.

Entschuldigen Sie bitte - “excuse me please”

Wo ist (…)? - “Where is (...)?”

  • die Touristeninformation - “the tourist information”
  • das Stadtzentrum - “the city centre”
  • das Museum - “the museum”
  • der Dom - “the cathedral”
  • das Rathaus - “the town hall”
  • der Bahnhof - “the train station”

When You Struggle to Understand German

If all else fails, here are some phrases to memorize to help you if you have trouble understanding German. Trust me, I used these a lot when I first started visiting Germany. If you’re a bit nervous about your German, committing a few of these phrases to memory can help you get out of tricky situations.

Ich verstehe nicht - “I don’t understand”

Ich spreche kein Deutsch - “I don’t speak German”

Mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut - “my German is not so good”

Sprechen Sie Englisch? - “Do you speak English?”

Langsamer bitte- “slower please”

Können Sie das bitte wiederholen? - “Can you repeat that, please?”

Was bedeutet (…)?- “What does (...) mean?”

Bitte haben Sie Geduld mit mir - “please be patient with me”

So now you know all my essential German travel phrases! These helped me out a lot, and I hope you find them useful on your travels, too! 

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About the Author: Emma Jackman is the founder of Emma Loves German an all-round resource for German learners. You’ll find articles on speaking, reading, writing, and listening in German as well as grammar tips, frequently used phrases, and other language learning tips.

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