Travel Phrases In German

Common German Phrases and Words for your Travels

Summary

You are planning your next trip to Germany and want to know the most important German phrases and words? Or you want to impress your colleague or family with your German skills? Here you will learn the German basics such as how to say hello or goodbye in German, but also the German numbers, the difference between formal and informal speech, and other important German basics. Watch the video first, listen to the correct German pronunciation with the audio recordings, and then don't miss out on doing some speaking exercises to practice German for free.

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Basic German For Travelers

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Transcript

You plan to go to Germany and want to learn a few basics? If you meet somebody, you can just say “Hallo”. A more casual way, to greet friends or rather young people, is to use “Hi”. And if you want to get more advanced use for good morning - "Guten Morgen", for afternoon "Guten Tag" or for the evening "Guten Abend". If you want to ask a stranger something, you can start a conversation with “Entschuldigung”, which is the same as “Excuse me” in English. In an informal situation you could just use the English word “Sorry”. To ask somebody for his well-being you’d say “Wie geht’s?”, literally, ‘how is it going?’, the short form of “Wie geht es?”. The important thing to know here is: in Germany it’s not used as a way of greeting. The rather common answer however is “Gut”. Or “Gut, und dir?” which means “Good, and you?” To introduce yourself you can say “Ich bin ...” followed by your name, e.g. “Ich bin Christopher”. To say where you are from you’d say “Ich bin aus ...” followed by the name of your country. It literally means “I’m from”. For example: "Ich bin aus Spanien." For a bit more advanced students, you can also say “Ich komme aus Spanien” which means “I’m coming from Spain”. If you want to ask where something is, you would say “Wo ist ...” followed by what you are looking for. For example “Wo ist die U-Bahn” - where is the metro? Or “Entschldigung, wo ist die Toilette” - “Excuse me, where is the toilet?” If you don’t understand the other person you can say “Ich verstehe nicht” - I don’t understand. Or try asking “Sprichst du Spanish”? - Do you speak Spanish? Now let’s look at some few basic words that you absolutely need to know: "Ja" - yes. "Nein" - No. "Danke" - Thanks. "Bitte" - Please. Pretty basic, right? It doesn’t also hurt to know a few numbers to be able to order drinks or tickets or something."Eins" - one. "Zwei" - two. "Drei" - three. To order something you’d say: "Ich nehme" … or "Ich hätte gerne..", followed by what you want. So ordering a soup you’d say “Ich nehme die Suppe.” or “Ich hätte gerne die Suppe”. If you want to pay, just ask “Kann ich zahlen?” which literally means “Can I pay?” And whenever you end a conversation you want to say some sort of ‘good-bye’. The most common thing to say is “Tschüss”. The super formal way would be “Auf Wiedersehen” which literally means “until we see again”, used no matter if you actually intend to see the person again.

German Phrases for Travelers

Travel Phrases In German

Imagine you are standing at the airport in Germany. Do you have any idea how to greet the staff there? Have a look at the examples and find out what kind of greeting suits you.

Situation
Informal
Formal
Addressing
One person
Multiple persons
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Hallo.
Hello.
expand phrase

The greeting "Hallo" is the simplest and most common informal greeting in the German language area. You can use it everywhere and address everyone very shortly. You can also just smile, raise your hand to greet them or wave to them.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Young people
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Friends
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Elderly people
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Mood
👋

Good

Situations

at the airport, at the train station, at a cafe

Guten Tag!
Good Day!
expand phrase

The greeting "Guten Tag" is the most common formal greeting in the German language area. You can use it all day. It is used in more formal situations, e.g. when you are talking to your boss.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Boss
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Friends
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Elderly people
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Mood
👋

Good

Happy

Situations

at the airport, at the train station, at the hotel

Tschüss!
Bye!
expand phrase

The farewell "Tschüss!" is the simplest and most common greeting in the German language area. Sometimes it is written with the "ß" - Tschüß! - which has the same sound as "ss". You can use it when saying goodbye to friends or colleagues. Possible variations are "Tschü!" or "Tschüssi!".

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Young people
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Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
👋

Good

Friendly

Situations

at the airport, at the train station, at a club

Auf Wiedersehen!
Goodbye!
expand phrase

The farewell "Auf Wiedersehen!" is the most common formal greeting in the German language area. "Auf" is a preposition in this case. "Wieder" means again and "sehen" means to see. In summary, "Auf Wiedersehen" literally means - "See you again".

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Colleagues
person image
Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
👋

Good

Friendly

Situations

at the airport, at the train station, at a cafe

Most important words in German

Imagine you want to express your agreement or you want to contact someone. Not so easy, is it? In this section you will learn the most important words in German. The simplest form of 'Excuse me' is for example "Entschuldigung". It is also possible to say simply "Sorry!". To say “Thank you” you can use “Danke”.

Situation
Informal
Formal
Addressing
One person
Multiple persons
Expand
Collapse
Danke.
Thank you.
expand phrase

This is the easiest way to say thank you. Although it is considered quite informal, it is suitable for most situations, whether informal or formal. It is not impolite to use it even with people you know less well. It can be reinforced by "vielen" (Vielen Dank) which means thank you very much.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Colleagues
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Friends
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Elderly people
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Mood
🙏

Good

Thankful

Situations

at the airport, at the bus station, at a bar

Ich danke Ihnen.
Thank you.
expand phrase

You want to say thank you formally? The "Ihnen" makes it clear that your statement is formal. You use it when you're at a business dinner or talking to a stranger in a hotel.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Boss / Colleagues
person image
Elderly people
person image
person image
Mood
🙏

Good

Thankful

Situations

at the airport, at the bus station, in the office

Bitte.
Please. / You’re welcome.
expand phrase

"Bitte" is a very multifaceted word and it is essential to know. It is one of the very first words you will probably learn when you start learning German. In addition to "You are welcome", its common meanings are "Please!", "Excuse me!" and "Can I help you?". The meaning changes depending on the context of the conversation.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Colleagues
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Friends
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Elderly people
person image
Mood
🙏

Helping

Thankful

Situations

at the airport, at the train station, at a restaurant

Bitte sehr.
You’re very welcome.
expand phrase

Bittesehr is a formal word and it is essential to know. In addition to "you are very welcome", common meanings are "please", "excuse me" and "can I help you?" in the formal way. The meaning changes depending on the context of the conversation.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Boss / Colleagues
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Elderly people
person image
person image
Mood
🙏

Helping

Thankful

Situations

at the airport, at the train station, at a restaurant

Ja.
Yes.
expand phrase

When you learn a new language, one of the first things you learn is certainly how to say "yes" and "no". The most common way to say "yes" in German is simply to say "ja" (YAH). Just like in other languages, there are many other words and expressions you can learn in German to signal agreement or acceptance.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Boss / Colleagues
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Friends
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Elderly people
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Mood
👍

Agreeing

Thankful

Situations

at the airport, at the train station, at a bar

Ja bitte.
Yes, please.
expand phrase

When you learn a new language, one of the first things you learn is certainly how to say "yes" and "no". You want to express yourself very formally? The most common way is to say "ja bitte". Just like in other languages, there are many other words and expressions you can learn in German to signal agreement or acceptance.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Boss / Colleagues
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Family
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Elderly people
person image
Mood
👍

Agreeing

Thankful

Situations

at the airport, at the train station, at a bar

Nein.
No.
expand phrase

The easiest way to say no is to say "nein". There are even more polite ways, but for the beginning, this word should make it easier to get started in the German language.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Boss / Colleagues
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Friends
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Elderly people
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Mood
🙅‍♂️

Disagreeing

Angry

Situations

at the airport, at the train station, at a bar

Das ist nicht möglich.
That's not possible.
expand phrase

You don't want to say just no, you want to express yourself in a more chosen way, but you still don't agree with one thing. Then you can use: It's not possible. - Das ist nicht möglich.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Boss / Colleagues
person image
Family
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
🙅‍♂️

Disagreeing

Angry

Situations

at the airport, at the train station, at a bar

Vielleicht.
Maybe.
expand phrase

“Vielleicht” is used when you want to think again whether they really want to be part of something. So maybe you can use it if you don't want to say yes or no, or even with the two words together.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Colleagues
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Friends
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Elderly people
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Mood
🤔

Not sure

Uncertain

Situations

at the bus stop, at the train station, at a restaurant

Das könnte sein.
This could be right.
expand phrase

You are not sure and you want to express "this could be" very formally? Then, you can simply say "Das könnte sein”. It's a more formal answer than just that maybe.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Boss / Colleagues
person image
Elderly people
person image
person image
Mood
🤔

Not sure

Uncertain

Situations

in the office, at the train station, at a restaurant

Entschuldigung!
Excuse me!
expand phrase

The formal expression "Entschuldigung!" is the quickest term to excuse yourself. You can use the expression anywhere to ask someone or to excuse yourself. “Entschuldigung, wo ist der Bahnhof?” - "Excuse me, where is the station?"

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Boss
person image
Friends
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Elderly people
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Mood
🤗

Sorry

Situations

at the airport, at the bus station, at a restaurant

Sorry!
Sorry!
expand phrase

The informal expression "Sorry" is a simple and common term especially in between young people. You can use the expression anywhere and just smile nicely or raise both hands when apologizing. When you are in a bar and run into someone you would just simply say: “Sorry!” and move on.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Colleagues
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Friends
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Elderly people
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Mood
🤗

Sorry

Situations

at the airport, at the bus station, at a restaurant

Eins / Zwei / Drei
1/2/3
expand phrase

The first three numbers in German are “eins”, “zwei” and “drei”. If you pronounce them, you can also show the number with your fingers. One is the index finger. Two is the index and middle finger and three is the thumb, index and middle finger.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Colleagues
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Friends
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Teacher
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Mood
🔢

Good

Situations

at the ticket counter, at the bus station, in a bar

Most important phrases for travel

You are planning your trip to Germany and want to learn the most important German sentences? Besides "The bill please", you should be able to ask for directions in German. You can also read about how to present yourself.

Situation
Informal
Formal
Addressing
One person
Multiple persons
Expand
Collapse
Sprichst du …?
Do you speak ...?
expand phrase

Sprichst du ...? You can use it if you want to ask someone for help informally. And first you want to ask if he or she speaks a language.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Young people
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Friends
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Elderly people
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Mood
🙂

Asking

Curious

Situations

at the ticket counter, at the bus station, at a bar

Sprechen Sie …?
Do you speak ...?
expand phrase

Sprechen Sie ...? You can use it if you want to ask someone for help. And first you want to ask if he or she speaks a language. The "Sie" is the polite form of address.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Boss / Colleagues
person image
Elderly people
person image
person image
Mood
🙂

Asking

Curious

Situations

at the ticket counter, at the bus station, at a bar

Ich verstehe nicht.
I don’t understand.
expand phrase

"Ich verstehe nicht" can be used to say that unfortunately you don't understand the other person. It can help you to get the other person to speak English with you. Most people in Germany also speak English.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Young people
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Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
😒

Uncertain

Situations

at the ticket counter, at the bus station, at a bar

Ich verstehe Sie nicht.
I don’t understand.
expand phrase

"Ich verstehe Sie nicht" is a formal way of saying you don't understand the other person. It can help you to get the other person to speak English with you. But it can also be used to show that you do not understand something.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Boss / Colleagues
person image
Elderly people
person image
person image
Mood
😒

Uncertain

Situations

at the ticket counter, at the bus station, at a bar

Ich brauche Hilfe.
I need help.
expand phrase

"Ich brauche Hilfe", is the long and informal way to ask for help. If you need it fast, just tell "Hilfe" loud and clear.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Young people
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Friends
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Elderly people
person image
Mood
😒

Helpless

Situations

at the ticket counter, at the bus station, at a bar

Ich brauche Ihre Hilfe.
I need help.
expand phrase

"Ich brauche Ihre Hilfe." Is the long and very formal way to ask for help and support.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Boss
person image
Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
😒

Helpless

Situations

at the ticket counter, at the bus station, at a bar

Wo ist …?
Where is …?
expand phrase

You are looking for a place and want to ask in German. Then, you can simply ask for your destination with these two words and the respective German word. "Wo ist ...?" means "Where is ...?". Important places are: Bahnhof (Train Station), Flughafen (Airport), Bus (Bus), Taxi (Taxi), Polizei (Police).

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Family
person image
Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
😒

Helpless

Situations

at the airport counter, at the bus station, at a bar

Wo geht es zum ...?
Where is the …?
expand phrase

You want to ask for a place in German. Then, you can simply ask for your destination with these words. "Wo geht es zum...?" means "Where is the ...?"

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Boss
person image
Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
😒

Helpless

Asking

Situations

at the airport counter, at the bus station, at a bar

Wie viel kostet ...?
How much is ...?
expand phrase

You want to ask the price? Then, you can just say “Wie viel kostet …? But don't worry. Most of the time you can find prices in all supermarkets, shops and restaurants.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Boss
person image
Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
🤩

Excited

Situations

at the airport counter, at the bus station, at a market

Ich hätte gern .…
I would like ....
expand phrase

You want to order something politely in German. Then, you can just say "Ich hätte gern ....". This will help you to strike the right note in a fancy restaurant.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Boss
person image
Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
🤩

Excited

Situations

at the airport counter, at the bus station, at a bar

Ich nehme ....
I take ....
expand phrase

You want to order something very quick in German. Then, you can just say "Ich nehme ....". This will help you to strike the right note in a normal restaurant or bar.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Family
person image
Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
🤩

Excited

Happy

Situations

at the airport counter, at the bus station, at a bar

Kann ich zahlen?
Can I pay?
expand phrase

You want to ask about the bill? That's easy. Just say: “Kann ich zahlen.” In Germany, even friends often pay their own bill. You can invite the other one nutritiously, but that's not a must. The waiter then asks: zusammen (together) or getrennt (separately).

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Family
person image
Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
🙋‍♀️

Friendly

Situations

at the restaurant, at a bar

Die Rechnung, bitte.
The bill, please.
expand phrase

You want to politely ask for the bill? Just say: Die Rechnung, bitte. In Germany, even friends or the boss often pay their own bill. You can invite the other one nutritiously, but that's not a must. The waiter then asks: zusammen (together) or getrennt (separately).

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Boss
person image
Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
🙋‍♀️

Friendly

Situations

at the restaurant, at a bar

Ich bin ….
I am ….
expand phrase

If you want to introduce yourself simply, you can just say "Ich bin...." and your name. You can also add your last name. In most parts of Germany, the first name is said at first and then the surname is said. In the south of Germany, however, it can also happen that the surname is said at first and then the first name is said.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Family
person image
Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
👋

Welcoming

Friendly

Situations

at the airport, at the train station

Ich bin Frau ….
I am Mrs. ….
expand phrase

If you want to introduce yourself formally as a woman, you can say "Ich bin Frau ...." and your last name. As a man you use "Herr". This is often used by teachers in the first lesson. "Frau" is used for women and "Herr" for men.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Boss
person image
Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
👋

Welcoming

Friendly

Situations

at the airport counter, at the bus station, at a work meeting

Ich komme aus ….
I am from ….
expand phrase

To tell someone where you come from, you can start with the personal pronoun "Ich" then, use the regular verb "komme" and then, use the preposition "aus" to introduce the country you come from. Examples are: England, Spanien, Italien, Japan, Singapur, or Australien. Ich komme aus Deutschland.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Young people
person image
Mood
😄

Happy

Friendly

Situations

at the airport, at the train station, in a restaurant

Wie geht’s?
How are you?
expand phrase

This is the short version of "How are you?" and it is used to greet friends, relatives, and younger people. Other situations are talks with the neighbors: "Frau Müller, wie geht's?" or if at work if the "du" was discouraged for some reason: "Hallo. Wie geht's?” The short version is: "Wie geht's?" In this case, the "wie" means “how”, "geht" comes from "gehen", which means to go or to walk, and the "s" comes from "es", which means it.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Friends
person image
Colleagues
person image
Young people
person image
Mood
😄

Happy

Friendly

Situations

at the airport, at the train station, in a restaurant

Mir geht’s gut.
I am fine.
expand phrase

This is the informal, singular version of answering "Wie geht's?" and it is used to greet friends, relatives, and younger people. Other situations are the talks with neighbors, or if at work, if the "du" was discouraged for some reason. If you are very good you can say: “super” or “sehr gut”.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Friends
person image
Colleagues
person image
Young people
person image
Mood
😄

Happy

Friendly

Situations

at the airport, at the train station, in a bar

Practice German Dialogues

When you are chatting informally at the train station

This is an informal dialogue using "Hi!" and "Hallo?! Wie geht es dir?!" that takes place at the train station.

dialog avatar
Hey.
Hey.
dialog avatar
Hi.
Hi.
dialog avatar
Fährst du mit dem Zug?
Are you taking the train?
dialog avatar
Ja. Und du?
Yes. And you?
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Nein, ich nehme den Bus.
No, I take the bus.
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Da kommt mein Zug. Auf Wiedersehen.
Here comes my train. Goodbye.
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Tschüss.
Bye.

Check in at the airport

Below you will find a dialogue that takes place at the ticket counter of a bus station. It will give you an understanding of the use of “Danke!” and “Bitte!” and many helpful phrases.

dialog avatar
Hallo.
Hello.
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Guten Tag.
Good day.
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Ich hätte gern ein Ticket.
I would like one ticket.
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Wohin?
To where?
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Nach Berlin.
To Berlin.
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Mit dem Bus oder mit dem Zug?
By bus or by train?
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Wie viel kostet der Bus?
How much does the bus cost?
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Der Bus kostet 10€.
The bus costs 10€.
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Dann bitte den Bus.
Then the bus, please.
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Eine schöne Reise.
Have a nice trip.
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Danke.
Thanks.
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Tschüss.
Bye.
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Auf Wiedersehen.
Goodbye.

Asking for help

Below you will find a dialogue that takes place in the city center, and will give you an understanding of the use of “Entschuldigung” and “vielleicht”.

dialog avatar
Hallo? Entschuldigung?
Hello? Excuse me?
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Hi. Ja, bitte?
Hi. Yes, please?
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Kannst du mir vielleicht helfen? Wo ist der Bahnhof?
Could you tell me where the station is?
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Nein. Sorry, das weiß ich leider nicht.
No. Sorry, I don't know.
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Trotzdem danke.
Thanks anyway.
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Tschau.
Bye.
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Tschüss.
Bye.

Having small talk

Two people meet, have a formal conversation and introduce themselves. Then, one of them asks for help.

dialog avatar
Hallo.
Hello.
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Guten Tag.
Good day.
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Ich bin Frau Müller.
I am Mrs. Müller.
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Ich bin Herr Wilson.
I am Mr. Wilson.
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Wie geht’s?
How are you?
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Mir geht es gut. Und Ihnen?
I am fine. And you?
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Mir geht’s sehr gut. Danke.
I am very well. Thank you.
dialog avatar
Sprechen Sie Englisch?
Do you speak English?
dialog avatar
Ja.
Yes.
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Ich brauche Ihre Hilfe.
I need your help.
dialog avatar
Ok.
Ok.
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Ich komme aus den USA und ich verstehe nicht.
I am from the USA, and I don't understand.

Free e-book: 10 most important conversations in German

You have just learned the most important German phrases and words for traveling. Do you want to use the right vocabulary, perfect sentences and correct grammar in your next conversation? Creating your own German dialogue scripts with our "shower hack" method will help you to make more progress with your German every day with just little effort! Download the dialogue templates and the instructions how to easily integrate a bit of practice in your busy daily life.

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