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German Survival Phrases for Shopping, Eating, and Hotels

written by: Heather Marie Kosur • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 7/12/2012

If you are traveling through a German-speaking country, you will need to know a few common phrases and vocabulary words to get by. Learn how to shop, eat, and rent a hotel room in Germany in the following article.

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    Quick German Phrases for Travel

    Here are a helpful few phrases for that long stopover in a German-speaking nation or an overnight stay before you fly to your actual destination. Print out the article, tuck it in your carry-on bag, and be prepared to shop, eat, and rent a hotel room in German.

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    Hotels

    Use the following German vocabulary and phrases when booking or staying in a hotel:

    • I have a reservation – Ich habe eine Reservierung
    • Do you have...? – Haben Sie?
    • a single room – ein Einzelzimmer
    • a double room – ein Doppelzimmer
    • yes – ja
    • no – nein
    • I'm sorry – Es tut mir leid
    • We are booked full – Wir sind voll
    • with a bathroom – mit Bad
    • with a shower – mit Dusche
    • breakfast included – mit Fruehstueck
    • with – mit
    • without – ohne
    • I (we) stay... – Ich (wir) bleibe(n)...
    • one night – eine Nacht
    • one week – eine Woche
    • My departure is... – Ich reise am...ab
    • tomorrow – morgen
    • today – heute
    • My luggage – Mein Gepaeck
    • This is broken/doesn't work – Das ist kaputt
    • Where is...? – Wo ist...?
    • the dining room – der Speisesaal
    • the powder room – die Toilette
    • Ladies – Damen
    • Gents – Herren
    • I pay with... – Ich zahle mit...
    • cash – bar
    • credit card – Kreditkarte
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    Restaurants

    The following phrases and vocabulary is useful when eating out in a restaurant in a German-speaking area:

    • A table for.... – Ein Tisch fuer
    • one – eins
    • two – zwei
    • three – drei
    • four – vier
    • please – bitte
    • thank you – danke
    • The menu please – die Karte bitte
    • The food is... – das Essen ist...
    • cold – kalt
    • delicious – sehr gut
    • too much – zu viel
    • salt – Salz (n)
    • pepper – Pfeffer (m)
    • Waiter! – Herr Ober!

    Remark: Waitresses were, regardless of age, addressed as Fraeulein (Miss). However, during the past few years, the word has disappeared from the German language because it is considered discriminating and politically incorrect. So, when summoning a waitress, just make a hand signal.

    • the bill (check) please – die Rechnung bitte

    Remark: You tip if you are particularly pleased with the service. Contrary to in the United States, tax, tips, and service are included in the bill. Tipping is a nice gesture but not a must in Germany.

    • a beer – ein Bier
    • a glass of wine – ein Glas Wein
    • white – weiss
    • red – rot
    • a bottle of wine – eine Flasche Wein
    • I am a vegetarian – Ich bin Vegetarier
    • Do you have a child portion or special dish for kids? – Haben Sie einen Kinderteller?
    • Do you have a child seat? – Haben Sie einen Kinderstuhl?
    • child – Kind
    • children – Kinder
    • Are dogs allowed? – Sind Hunde erlaubt?

    Remark: Smoking is not allowed in any German restaurant. Questions about smoking areas and ashtrays are no longer relevant.

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    Shops and Market

    When shopping in Germany, use the following words and phrases:

    • I want, I would like... – Ich moechte...
    • a dress – ein Kleid
    • a skirt – einen Rock
    • a pair of pants – eine Hose
    • shoes – Schuhe (f)
    • Can I try this on? – Kann ich das probieren?
    • Where is the changing room? – Wo ist die Umkleide?
    • How much does that cost? – Wieviel kostet das?
    • too expensive – zu teuer
    • I am size... – Ich habe Groesse...
    • cosmetics – Kosmetika (f)
    • more – mehr
    • less – weniger
    • enough – genug
    • a slice – eine Scheibe
    • a piece – ein Stueck
    • a pair – ein Paar
    • one pound – ein Pfund
    • half pound – ein halbes Pfund
    • Is it fresh? – it es frisch?
    • frozen – gefroren
    • meat – Fleisch (n)
    • fruit – Obst (n)
    • fish – Fisch (m)
    • vegetables – Gemuese (n)
    • egg – Ei (n)
    • sausage – Wurst (f)
    • cheese – Kaese (m)
    • check out – Kasse (f)

    Remark: Price tags in Germany already include the sales tax. Weights and measures are metric. Also, in most German supermarkets, one cent or more is charged for each plastic bag. Recycle or ask for paper bags.

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    For additional vocabulary and phrases for traveling in a German-speaking country, check out "German Travel Vocabulary Lesson Plan and Activity."

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