29 common German phrases you’ll need on your travels

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Pack your socks and sandals, and hold on to your Bretzel. We’re going to Germany – the land of beer and sausages! 

Whether you’ve booked a trip to go to the Oktoberfest in Munich, the carnival in Cologne, or just a nice, relaxing hiking trip around the Black Forest, knowing how to get by in Germany will make your stay much more enjoyable.

We’ve gathered the most essential, basic German words and phrases that’ll help you get by on your travels.

From saying hi to ordering Bratwurst: here are 29 common German travel phrases for your travels

10 common German phrases: the basics

From basic German greetings to pleas for help when you get stuck, we’ve got you covered.

  1. Hallo (Hello)
  2. Tschüss (Bye)
  3. Bitte (Please)
  4. Danke (Thanks)
  5. Entschuldigung (Excuse me)
  6. Sorry (Sorry)
  7. Formal: Können Sie mir helfen?; informal: Kannst du mir helfen? (Can you help me?)
  8. Formal: Sprechen Sie English?; informal: In Sprichst du Englisch? (Do you speak English?)
  9. Einen Moment, bitte. (One moment, please.)
  10. Das ist alles, danke. (That’s all, thank you.)

6 phrases for getting around 

Try these phrases out when Google Maps (or the paper version, if you’re that retro!) lets you down.

  1. Wo finde ich… (Where do I find… ) … den Bahnhof? (… the train station?)
    … einen Geldautomaten? (… a cash machine?)
    … die Touristeninformation? (… the tourist information?)
    … ein Taxi? (… a cab?)
    … eine Toilette? (… a toilet?)
  2. Darf ich bitte vorbei? (Could you let me pass please?)
  3. Wie viel kostet das? (How much does this cost?)
  4. Wann fährt…  (When’s… )
    … der nächste Bus? (… the next bus?)
    … die nächste Bahn? (… the next train?)
  5. Ich habe mich verlaufen. (I’m lost.)
  6. Wie komme ich zu… (How do I get to… )

7 common German phrases for eating out

Wining and dining out on the town? Whip out this list to hold your own in any German restaurant.

  1. Ich habe eine Reservierung auf den Namen… (I’ve got a reservation under… )
  2. Ich möchte bitte… (I would like… )
    … einen Tisch reservieren. (… to book a table, please.)
    … ein Glas Wein. (… a glass of wine, please.)
    … die Speisekarte. (… the menu.)
    … zahlen.(… to pay, please.)
  3. Kann ich mit EC-Karte / Kreditkarte zahlen? (Do you take debit cards / credit cards?) 
  4. Zum Wohl! / Prost! (Cheers!)
  5. Guten Appetit. (Enjoy your meal.)
  6. Die Rechnung, bitte. (The bill, please.)
  7. Stimmt so. (Keep the change.)

Top tip:
The service at restaurants or cafes usually isn’t included in the bill. Tipping is welcomed and should reflect how happy you were with food and service – 10% of the bill is the norm.

6 German sentences for talking about your travels

You never know who you might meet on your travels… open yourself up to meeting new people with these basic German conversation-starters.

  1. Ich heiße… (My name is… )
  2. Ich komme aus… (I’m from… )
    … Großbritannien (… the UK.)
    … den Staaten (… the States.)
    … Australien. (… Australia.)
  3. Ich habe… (I have…)
    … ein Zimmer reserviert. (… booked a room.)
  4. Ich bin zum ersten Mal hier. (This is my first time here.)
  5. Ich bleibe für… (I’m staying for… )
    … das Wochenende (… the weekend.)
    … ein paar Tage. (… a few days.)
    … eine Woche. (… a week.)
  6. Ich fahre weiter nach… (I’m travelling on to… ) 

Did you know this?
Besides hip places like urban Berlin, it’s still most common to approach people you don’t know with the polite Sie instead of the personal du, which we use with friends, family or children.

Though if you’ve been chatting with someone for a while, they might ask if you want to use the informal du – especially after you’ve been trying all these new phrases out on them. They might ask: Wollen wir uns duzen? (Should we use “du”?) Of course, you’ll want to say: Ja!


That’s all from us! Just one last thing: remember that being able to communicate always also means being able to connect. 

Knowing the local lingo is not only useful for navigating around unfamiliar places. Speaking German will also open many cultural doors for you. Even if it’s just a friendly danke (thanks), you’ll have shown you’ve made an effort. 

And who knows? You might even make a German smile!


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Anna is one of Busuu’s German Language Experts. She is from Potsdam in Germany where she studied German Linguistics and Sociology. She loves writing short stories and anything related to art and design. Her favourite food is cheese!