Linguistics

German for Travelers: 101 Useful Phrases Every Backpacker Should Know

Passport? Check. Bags? Packed. Tickets? Booked. How’s your Deutsch? Get ready for your upcoming trip to Germany with this handy list of German phrases for travelers to cover every situation!


Why you should learn these
German phrases for travelers

Are you getting ready to visit Germany? Or is it Austria? Switzerland? Whatever the country, these German travel phrases will make your trip that much more enjoyable. So, print them out or keep them on your phone!

Even if you’re not looking to become fluent in German, these common German phrases for travel are a great way to connect with native speakers and immerse yourself in the country during your journey. But, in case you need more convincing, here are a few other reasons why you should pick up some basic German for travelers:

Travel better: First, it’ll be easier to move around, ask for directions, and communicate with locals. Besides, you’ll score points with native speakers!

More independence: Second, you’ll rely less on expensive phrase books, awkward translations from your phone, and complicated hand gesturing. Additionally, we promise you’ll feel great after successfully ordering a beer in German all on your own. 

Not everyone speaks English: Third, the idea that every single European speaks English is not true. So, avoid the hassle of tracking down an English speaker every time you need help.

Easier to meet new people: Fourth, meeting people and making friends will be easier. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your new best friend or someone special thanks to a smooth Hallo, wie geht es dir?

Make learning German easier: Lastly, if you’re interested in fully learning this European language, good news! Learning phrases in your target language is one of the best ways to learn German.


German phrases for travelers: a note on pronunciation

Before we get to our list of German phrases for travelers, here’s a quick, helpful note on German pronunciation. 

Generally, German is a highly phonetic language: its words tend to sound exactly like they’re written. It’s also a close linguistic relative to English and uses the Latin alphabet, so its pronunciation is not that difficult to grasp. That being said, there are a few tricky letters and sounds to consider. Here’s a quick rundown:

Vowel or consonant

What it sounds like

ei  Mine 
ie lea
ö worm (but without the r)
ü flea (with rounded lips)
ä  let
eu or äu soy
sch shoe 
sp and st shp and sht
ß moss
z

cats

To help you out even more, we’re adding the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) of each phrase so you know exactly how to pronounce it. 

Remember: the Fluent Forever app is chock-full of even more useful German travel phrases you can learn.

Various papers with German words printed on them

Keep these phrases handy! Photo by Skylar Kang


The top 101
German phrases for travelers


Greetings, introductions, and farewells

From “hello” to “goodbye,” these first group of German phrases for travelers will help you pick the right salutation for the right context. 

Phrase

Translation

Hallo! [ˈhaloː] Hello!
Guten Morgen! [ˈɡuːtən ˈmɔrɡn̩] Good morning!
Guten Tag! [ˈɡuːtən ˈtaːk] Good day!
Guten Abend! [ˈɡuːtən ˈaːbn̩t] Good evening!
Bitte [ˈbɪtə] Please
Danke [ˈdaŋkə] Thank you
Tschüss [ˈtʃʏs] Bye
Auf Wiedersehen [ˈaʊ̯f ˈviːdɐzeːən] Goodbye
Entschuldigung [ɛntˈʃʊldɪɡʊŋ] Excuse me
Bis später! [ˈbɪs ˈʃpɛːtɐ] See you later! 

Basic questions and answers

These aren’t life’s most pressing questions, but they’re certainly some of its most common ones. This next list has some great questions you’ll need, along with their answers.

Phrase

Translation

Wie heißen Sie? [ˈviː ˈhaɪ̯sn̩ ˈziː] What is your name? 
Ich heiße … [ˈɪç ˈhaɪ̯sə] My name is …
Wie geht’s? [ˈviː ɡeːts] How are you? 
Mir geht’s gut. [ˈmiːɐ̯ ɡeːts ˈɡuːt] I’m doing well. 
Mir geht’s nicht gut. [ˈmiːɐ̯ ɡeːts ˈˈnɪçt ɡuːt] I’m not doing very well.
Freut mich. [ˈfrɔɪ̯t ˈmɪç] Pleased to meet you.
Wo kommen sie her? [ˈvoː ˈkɔmən ˈziː ˈheːɐ̯] Where are you from?
Ich komme aus Amerika.
[ˈɪç ˈkɔmə ˈaʊ̯s aˈmeːrika]
I am from America.
Wie lange bleiben Sie in Deutschland?
[ˈviː ˈlaŋə ˈblaɪ̯bn̩ ˈziː ˈɪn ˈdɔɪ̯tʃlant] 
How long are you staying in Germany?
Ich bin in Deutschland für [x] Wochen.
[ˈɪç ˈbɪn ˈɪn ˈdɔɪ̯tʃlant ˈfyːɐ̯ ˈvɔxən]
I am in Germany for [x] weeks.
Wo ist die Toilette? [ˈvoː ˈɪst ˈdiː toˈlɛtə] Where is the toilet? 
Wie ist dein Name? [ˈviː ˈɪst ˈdaɪ̯n ˈnaːmə] What is your name?
Was ist das? [ˈvas ˈɪst das] What is this?
Was ist dein Lieblingsessen?
[ˈvas ˈɪst ˈdaɪ̯n ˈliːplɪŋsˌʔɛsn̩]
What is your favorite food?
Ich esse am liebsten Pizza.
[ˈɪç ˈɛsə ‘am ˈliːpstn̩ ˈpɪtsa]
My favorite food is pizza.
Wie lautet deine Telefonnummer?
[ˈviː ˈlaʊ̯tət ˈlaʊ̯tət ˈteːləfoːnnʊmɐ]
What is your telephone number?
Meine Telefonnummer lautet: [xxx-xxx-xxx].
[ˈmaɪ̯nə ˈteːləfoːnnʊmɐ ˈlaʊ̯tət]
        My telephone number is [xxx-xxx-xxx].


Eating out

You’ll need to eat during your trip, right? Well, these phrases will help you navigate your first time ordering a Bratwurst.

Phrase

Translation

Ich habe einen Tisch reserviert.
[ˈɪç ˈhaːbə ˈaɪ̯nən ˈtɪʃ rezɛrˈviːɐ̯t]
I reserved a table.
Einen Tisch für [zwei/drei/vier], bitte.
[ˈaɪ̯nən ˈtɪʃ ˈfyːɐ̯ (ˈtsvaɪ̯/ˈdraɪ̯/ˈfiːɐ̯)ˈbɪtə]
A table for [two/three/four], please.

 

Ich hätte gern … [ˈɪç ˈhɛtə ˈɡɛrn] I would like …
Kann ich bitte die [Speisekarte/Weinkarte] sehen?
[ˈkan ˈɪç ˈbɪtəˈdiː (ˈʃpaɪ̯zəkartə/ˈvaɪ̯nkartə) ˈzeːən]
Can I see the [menu/wine list], please? 
Können Sie etwas empfehlen?
[ˈkœnən ˈziː ˈɛtvas ɛmˈpfeːlən]
Can you recommend something?
Noch ein Glas Wasser, bitte.
[nɔx ˈaɪ̯nˈ ɡlaːs ˈvasɐ ˈbɪtə]
One more glass, please.
Kellner!/Kellnerin! [ˈkɛlnɐ/ˈkɛlnərɪn] Waiter/Waitress!
Guten Appetit. [ˈɡuːtən apeˈtiːt] Enjoy your meal.
Die Rechnung, bitte. [ˈdiː ˈrɛçnʊŋ ˈbɪtə] The check, please.
Haben Sie ein veganes Gericht?
[ˈhaːbn̩ ˈziː ˈaɪ̯n veˈɡaːnəs ɡəˈrɪçt]
Do you have a vegan meal?
Haben Sie vegetarisches Essen?
[ˈhaːbn̩ ˈziː veɡeˈtaːrɪʃəs ˈɛsn̩]
Do you have vegetarian food?
Ein Glas Leitungswasser, bitte.
[ˈaɪ̯n ˈɡlaːs ˈlaɪ̯tʊŋsvasɐ ˈbɪtə]
One glass of water, please.
Ist das glutenfrei? [ˈɪst das ɡluˈteːnˌfʁaɪ̯] Is that gluten-free?
Noch einmal, bitte. [ˈnɔx ˈaɪ̯nmaːl ˈbɪtə] Another one, please.
Darf ich eine Quittung haben, bitte?
[ˈdarf ˈɪç ˈaɪ̯nə ˈkvɪtʊŋ ˈhaːbn̩ ˈbɪtə]
May I have a receipt, please?
Getrennt oder zusammen?
[ɡəˈtrɛnt ˈoːdɐ tsuˈzamən]
Separately or together?


At the hotel

Be it at a hostel or a five-star hotel, the following phrases will come in handy when you’re looking for a place to spend the night.

Phrase

Translation

Haben Sie noch ein Zimmer frei?
[ˈhaːbn̩ ˈziː ˈnɔxˈaɪ̯n ˈtsɪmɐ ˈfraɪ̯]
Do you have a free room? 
Ich hätte gern ein Zimmer.
[ˈɪç ˈhɛtə ˈɡɛrn ˈaɪ̯n ˈtsɪmɐ]
I would like a room. 
Ich bleibe [eine Nacht/zwei Nächte/drei Nächte].
[ˈɪç ˈblaɪ̯bə (ˈaɪ̯nə ˈnaxt/ˈtsvaɪ̯ ˈnɛçtə/ˈdraɪ̯ ˈnɛçtə)]
I am staying [one night/two nights/three nights]. 
Ist Frühstück inklusiv?
[ˈɪst ˈfryːʃtʏk ɪnkluˈziːvə]
Is breakfast included?
Um wieviel Uhr muss man auschecken?
[ˈʊm viːˈfiːl ˈuːɐ̯ ˈmʊs ˈman ˈaʊ̯sˌt͡ʃɛkn̩]
What time is checkout?
Können Sie mich um [x] Uhr wecken?
[ˈkœnən ˈziː ˈmɪç ˈʊm X ˈuːɐ̯]
Can you wake me up at [x] o’clock?
Zimmerservice [ˈtsɪmɐˈsɜː(r)vɪs] Room service
Wie viel kostet ein Zimmer pro Nacht?
[ˈviː ˈfiːl ˈkɔstət ˈaɪ̯n ˈtsɪmɐ ˈproː ˈnaxt]
How much is a room per night?


Locations & asking for directions

You’ll also need to know how to get to places. So here’s a list of phrases you can use to find your way through Berlin’s lively downtown. 

Phrase

Translation

Wo? [ˈvoː] Where?
Entschuldigung, wo ist …? [ɛntˈʃʊldɪɡʊŋ ˈvoː ˈɪst] Excuse me, where is the …?
In welcher Richtung finde ich … ?
[ˈɪn ˈvɛlçɐ ˈrɪçtʊŋ ˈfɪndə ˈɪç]
In which direction can I find … ?
Ist es in der Nähe? [ˈɪst ˈɛs ˈɪn deːɐ ˈnɛːə] Is it nearby?
Ist es weit weg? [ˈɪst ˈɛs ˈvaɪ̯t ˈvɛk] Is it far away?
Wo ist der [Eingang/Ausgang]?
[ˈvoː ˈɪst deːɐ(ˈaɪ̯nɡaŋ/ˈaʊ̯sɡaŋ)]
Where is the [entrance/exit]?
Bringen Sie mich bitte zu dieser Adresse.
[ˈbrɪŋən ˈziː ˈmɪç ˈbɪtə ˈtsuː ˈdiːzɐ aˈdrɛsə]
Please bring me to this address.
Welche Straßenbahn, Metro oder Bus muss ich nehmen?
[ˈvɛlçə ˈʃtraːsn̩baːn ˈmeːtroː ˈoːdɐ ˈbʊsˈmʊs ˈɪç ˈneːmən]
Which underground or bus do I have to take?
Wo ist die Haltestelle?
[ˈvoː ˈɪst ˈdiː ˈhaltəʃtɛlə]
Where is the station?
Kann ich dorthin zu Fuß laufen?
[ˈkan ˈɪç ˈdɔrthɪn ˈtsuː ˈfuːs ˈlaʊ̯fn̩]
Can I get there on foot?
Zum Stadtzentrum, bitte.
[ˈtsʊm ˈʃtatˌt͡sɛntʁʊm ˈbɪtə]
To the city center, please.   
Zum Bahnhof, bitte. [ˈtsʊm ˈbaːnhoːfˈbɪtə] To the train station, please. 
Zum Flughafen, bitte. [ˈtsʊm ˈfluːkhaːfn̩ ˈbɪtə] To the airport, please. 
Es ist da. [ˈɛs ˈɪst ˈdaː] It’s there. 
Um die Ecke [ˈʊm ˈdiː ˈɛkə] Around the corner
Nach links [ˈnaːx ˈlɪŋks] To the left
Nach rechts [ˈnaːx ˈrɛçts] To the right
Geradeaus [ɡəraːdəˈʔaʊ̯s] Straight ahead
Halten Sie bitte hier an.
[ˈhaltn̩ ˈziː ˈbɪtə ˈhiːɐ̯ˈ an]
Please stop here. 


Transport

Most German-speaking countries have efficient public transport. Make sure you keep these next phrases handy for when you need to use the metro.

Phrase

Translation

Wo kann ich eine Fahrkarte kaufen?
[ˈvoː ˈkan ˈɪç ˈaɪ̯nə ˈfaːɐ̯kartə ˈkaʊ̯fn̩]
Where can I buy a ticket?

Fährt dieser Bus nach … ?
[ˈfɛːɐ̯t ˈdiːzɐ ˈbʊs ˈnaːx]
Is this bus going to …?
Fährt dieser Zug nach …?
[ˈfɛːɐ̯t ˈdiːzɐ ˈtsuːk ˈnaːx]
Is this train going to …?
Können Sie es mir auf der Karte zeigen?
[ˈkœnən ˈziː ˈɛs ˈmiːɐ̯ ˈaʊ̯f deːɐ ˈkartə ˈtsaɪ̯ɡn̩]
Can you show me on the map?
Wo ist die Bushaltestelle?
[ˈvoː ˈɪst ˈdiː ˈbʊshaltəʃtɛlə]
Where is the bus stop?
Wo ist die U-Bahn?
[ˈvoːˈɪst ˈdiː ˈuːˌbaːn]
Where is the underground train (subway/metro)?
Wie viel kostet eine Fahrkarte nach [x]?
[ˈviː ˈfiːl ˈkɔstət ˈaɪ̯nə ˈfaːɐ̯kartə ˈnaːx]
How much is a ticket to [x]?
Muss ich umsteigen?
[ˈmʊs ˈɪç ˈʊmʃtaɪ̯ɡn̩]
Do I have to do a transfer?


Shopping

Your friends and family will probably expect souvenirs. Don’t let them down and get them something nice at the gift shop! Here’s how:

Phrase

Translation

Wie viel kostet das? [ˈviː ˈfiːl ˈkɔstət das] How much is that? 
Kann ich das für [x] Euro kaufen?
[ˈkan ˈɪç dasˈfyːɐ̯ ˈɔɪ̯ro ˈkaʊ̯fn̩]
Can I buy that for [x] Euro? 

 

Darf ich mit Kreditkarte bezahlen?
[ˈdarf ˈɪç ˈmɪt kreˈdiːtkartə bəˈtsaːlən]
May I pay with a credit card?
Darf ich mit Bargeld bezahlen?
[ˈdarf ˈɪç ˈmɪt ˈbaːɐ̯ɡɛlt bəˈtsaːlən]
May I pay with cash? 
Haben Sie Andenken? [ˈhaːbn̩ ˈziː ˈandɛŋkn̩] Do you have souvenirs? 

 

Verkaufen Sie …? [fɛɐ̯ˈkaʊ̯fn̩ ˈziː] Do you sell …?

 

Haben Sie etwas Billigeres?
[ˈhaːbn̩ ˈziː ˈɛtvas ˈbɪlɪɡəʁəs]
Do you have something cheaper?

 

Ich kann nur [x] Euro zahlen.
[ˈɪç ˈkan ˈnuːɐ̯ ˈɔɪ̯ro ˈtsaːlən]
I can only pay [x] Euro. 
Was möchten Sie? [ˈvas ˈmœçtən ˈziː] What would you like? 
Haben Sie das in einer [kleineren/größeren] Größe?
[ˈhaːbn̩ ˈziː dasˈɪn ˈaɪ̯nɐ (ˈklaɪ̯nəʁən/ˈɡʁøːsəʁən) ˈɡrøːsə]
Do you have that in a [smaller/bigger] size? 
Um wieviel Uhr [öffnet/schließt] das Geschäft?
[ˈʊm viːˈfiːl ˈuːɐ̯ (ˈœfnət/ʃliːst) das ɡəˈʃɛft]
What time does the shop [open/close]?


Emergency phrases 

Emergency? Fret not, these last group of phrases are sure to help you out in your moments of need!

Phrase

Translation

Hilfe! [ˈhɪlfə] Help!
Ich brauche die Polizei.
[ˈɪç ˈbraʊ̯xə ˈdiː poliˈtsaɪ̯]
I need the police.
Ich habe [meine Tasche/mein Portemonnaie] verloren.
[ˈɪç ˈhaːbə (ˈmaɪ̯nə ˈtaʃə) (ˈmaɪ̯nˌpɔʁtmɔˈneː) pɔrtmɔˈneː fɛɐ̯ˈloːrən]
I lost my [bag/wallet].
Wo ist das Krankenhaus?
[ˈvoː ˈɪst das ˈkraŋkn̩haʊ̯s]
Where is the hospital?

 

Wo ist die Apotheke?
[ˈvoː ˈɪst ˈdiː apoˈteːkə]
Where is the pharmacy?
Mir geht’s schlecht.
[ˈmiːɐ̯ ɡeːts ˈʃlɛçt]
I don’t feel well.
Ich habe mich verlaufen.
[ˈɪç ˈhaːbə ˈmɪç fɛɐ̯ˈlaʊ̯fn̩]
I am lost. 
Ich verstehe nicht.
[ˈɪç fɛɐ̯ˈʃteːə ˈnɪçt]
I don’t understand.
Können Sie das bitte wiederholen?
[ˈkœnən ˈziː das ˈbɪtə ˈviːdɐhoːlən]
Can you repeat that, please?
Sprechen Sie Englisch?
[ˈʃprɛçn̩ ˈziː ˈɛŋlɪʃ]
Do you speak English?
Ich spreche nur ein wenig Deutsch.
[ˈɪç ˈʃprɛçə ˈnuːɐ̯ ˈaɪ̯n ˈveːnɪç ˈdɔɪ̯tʃ]
I only speak a little German.
Können Sie das ins Englische überstzen?
[ˈkœnən ˈziː das ˈɪnsˈɛŋlɪʃə ˈyːbɐzɛtsn̩]
Can you translate that into English, please?


Learn
German phrases for travelers with these online resources

If you’re looking to learn even more German, there are different resources you can tap into online. As we’ve already mentioned, even if you’re not looking to become fluent, locals will appreciate the effort you make to speak their language. 

First, you can learn with a language exchange partner. It’s a fun way to practice any language and meet someone at the same time. Additionally, if they’re from the place you plan to visit, they can give you useful information and travel tips. My Language Exchange is a great place to start your search.

Second, YouTube is a fantastic platform for online language tutors. There are a lot of people who upload free courses and provide tips in simple and straightforward videos. Here’s a list of some well-known German language YouTubers: 

Third, you can take a free German course before you step on the plane. Here’s a neatly compiled list of free online courses you can check out. 

Lastly, what better way to learn German online than with Fluent Forever? You can download our app and learn through our unique, science-backed method that’ll get you speaking in no time. Plus, you can sign up for our Live Coaching program to get 1-on-1 sessions from a native speaker who’s certified in our language learning system. 

Bis später!

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