10 expressions for traveling in Germany that you won't find in a guide book

10 handy expressions for traveling in Germany

Ich habe Jetlag und brauche Schlaftabletten.

"I have jetlag and need sleeping pills." Depending on where you're coming from, jetlag can be fierce when you arrive in Germany. Fortunately, pharmacies can be found on nearly every corner here. (They're separate shops and are not located inside supermarkets or drug stores.) Just look for a sign with a big red "A" for "Apotheke."

10 handy expressions for traveling in Germany

Ich übernachte in einer Airbnb-Wohnung im Hipster-Viertel.

"I'm spending the night in an Airbnb apartment in the hipster neighborhood." Keep this phrase especially handy for Berlin. While the house rental service has taken flak among locals for driving up rents in the capital, it's still a popular option for visitors. Looking for the hipster neighborhoods? Try Kreuzberg or the northern part of Neukölln.

10 handy expressions for traveling in Germany

Lohnt es sich, Neuschwanstein zu besuchen?

"Is it worth visiting Neuschwanstein?" Sure, sometimes it's fun to play the tourist - and yes, the Bavarian castle is worth a trip during the less busy off-season. But when you're in Germany, be sure to spend some time away from the sights. Take a long walk on the Rhine River in Cologne, mingle with the locals in a corner kebab joint in Hamburg, or learn to surf in Munich's English Garden.

10 handy expressions for traveling in Germany

Ich hätte gerne einen Latte Macchiato mit Sojamilch.

"I'd like a latte with soy milk." Yes, gourmet coffee drinks have arrived in Germany, too. For vegans, hipsters and lactose-intolerant coffee lovers, you're likely to find soy milk in many urban specialty coffee shops. While we would call it just a "latte," you'll usually find the steamy drink with the Italian word "macchiato" attached - meaning "stained" or "marked" by espresso streaks.

10 handy expressions for traveling in Germany

Darf ich zahlen, um Ihre Toilette zu benutzen?

"Can I pay to use your restrooms?" Only ask this question in cafes or shops, not at someone's home. It's common to pay for restrooms inside of restaurants and department stores, even if you're a customer. If you're out and about and have to go, it can be hard to find a public restroom. If it's very urgent, you may have to offer 50 cents for the favor at a cafe if you're not a guest there.

10 handy expressions for traveling in Germany

Wo finde ich die coolsten Turnschuhe in der Stadt?

"Where can I find the coolest sneakers in town?" Sneakers are in - especially in capitals of cool like Berlin. To find a pair to take home, you can always try the Mall of Berlin or the Alexa mall on Alexanderplatz. But for a less mainstream selection, try Münzstrasse in the Mitte distrinct. And if you just want to people watch and admire the footwear, head to Oranienstrasse in Kreuzberg.

10 handy expressions for traveling in Germany

Wie streng sind die Türsteher vor dem Club?

"How strict are the bouncers at the club?" If you want to enjoy Germany to the fullest, then indulge in some nightlife while you're here. Drinking beer and wine is legal at 16, though you have to be 18 to consume anything harder than that. So unless you're a minor, it shouldn't be a problem getting in - as long as you're wearing shoes and a shirt and your outfit suits the club's style.

10 handy expressions for traveling in Germany

Ich bin auf der Suche nach einem guten Katerfrühstück.

"I'm looking for a good hangover breakfast." Breakfast after a night out includes the same thing the world over: plenty of grease. On weekends, many Germans like going out for brunch, and the classic brunch includes a few good hangover remedies, such as scrambled eggs and salami sandwiches. But if you want fried potatoes and sausage, you'll have to look for a British or American breakfast place.

10 handy expressions for traveling in Germany

Dieser Zug verspätet sich wegen einer Oberleitungsstörung.

"This train is delayed due to a defect in the overhead wiring." That's one of many possible reasons for a longer-than-expected train ride and certainly a common one. Compared to other countries, German trains are relatively punctual, but - despite the clichés - don't be surprised if you arrive later than planned.

10 handy expressions for traveling in Germany

Mein Koffer hat (kein) Übergewicht.

"Mein suitcase is (not) overweight." Depending on how much you've indulged in German sausage and cakes (not to mention Latte Macchiatos), you might end up leaving Germany with a few extra kilos. But if you want to avoid extra airline fees, your suitcase should not. It might be best to stock up on digital photos as souvenirs, rather than cuckoo clocks.

Planning a trip to Germany? Then learn these useful expressions first. They might just be more helpful than your travel guide.

You've already learned to say "ein Bier, bitte" (a beer, please) and "wo is die Toilette?" (where's the restroom?), but that is only enough to get you drunk in Germany - which is not that far.

In this gallery, we've compiled some useful, real-life phrases that could come in handy when traveling in Germany, especially if you're young, hip and adventurous.

If you happen to be on the road during the summer months, the gallery below also provides some useful German terms that are suitable for the season.

For more on German language and culture, visit dw.com/meetthegermans

11 German expressions you need for the summer


After months of hard work, you're more than ready for a vacation. In German, you would literally be "vacation ripe." Quick, get that bikini on before you start feeling like a plump tomato. And if you really need a break from the office, then it's probably best to leave that laptop at home.

11 German expressions you need for the summer

Fernweh / Heimweh

Do you suffer from "distance pain"? That means you want to travel to a far-off land so badly it hurts. Germans are known for being world travel champs (though the Chinese surpassed them in 2012), but what happens when you're abroad and miss your mom's homemade sauerkraut? Then you have Heimweh: "home pain," or homesickness.

11 German expressions you need for the summer

All-In Urlaub

Vacation time is relaxing when you don't have to cook - and don't even have to go to the trouble of looking for a restaurant. When all your meals (and often drinks) are included in your one-price resort stay, it's called an All-In Urlaub, or all-inclusive vacation. While Germans otherwise love long words, they often shorten English terms. The German term Pauschalurlaub is also commonly used here.

11 German expressions you need for the summer


In many ways, Germans like to play things safe and be prepared. If you want to book a vacation early, but there's a chance something might come up - like an illness or a political crisis in your destination country — it's a good idea to buy insurance that will guarantee a refund if you cancel. The German word for that is a real tongue twister that literally means "travel withdrawal insurance."

11 German expressions you need for the summer


Germany's 16 states stagger their schools' six-week summer breaks so that the entire country isn't traveling all at once during the summer months. But traffic jams — Stau — still tend to break out on the first and last weekend of each state's school break. It's a good idea to travel mid-week. Since fewer people commute to work in the summer, the city roads are noticeably clearer then.

11 German expressions you need for the summer


Meaning "summer freshness," Sommerfrische is a more or less outdated term from the 19th century. In their German dictionary, the Brothers Grimm defined it as the desire of urban dwellers to flee to the countryside for a refreshing break during the summer months. That was a common practice among the nobility of the time. Back then, sewage systems were lacking, making cities less fresh in the heat.

11 German expressions you need for the summer


It's so hot outside that you're sweating like a pig. In that situation, Germans would put another animal into the mix: an ape. This Borneo orangutan in Indonesia seems to be dealing with the Affenhitze ("ape heat") quite well by finding a shady spot in the treetops.

11 German expressions you need for the summer


If you can't find shelter in a tree like an ape, then you'd better find another shady spot. Otherwise you risk getting a "sun sting," or a Sonnenstich. Symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, dehydration and the inability to think straight. These chairs, which are typical for Germany's northern beaches, are intended to block the wind — but on particularly warm days, they'll also prevent a sunstroke.

11 German expressions you need for the summer


There are some 7,000 public swimming pools in Germany and over half of them are so-called "free pool" — Freibäder. No, they're not free of charge; they're dubbed "free" because they located outdoors rather than in a hall (Hallenbad). While indoor pools are open all year, the Freibad is particularly popular during the summer months.

11 German expressions you need for the summer


Summer is "pickle time" — or Sauregurkenzeit in Germany. No, people here don't eat more pickles this time of year. Instead, the term dates back to the 18th century when it referred to times when food was scarce and pickles were all that was left. Later it was adapted to refer to times with little work. With parliament out of session, journalists in particular often call summer Sauregurkenzeit.

11 German expressions you need for the summer


Wouldn't it be wonderful if summer lasted forever? Some years early fall brings a stretch of sunny days, too. What we'd call Indian summer in English is Altweibersommer in German. At first glance, the term literally seems to mean "old hag summer," but "weiber" is more likely derived from the word for weave, refering to the spider webs that become more prevalent as summer merges into autumn.

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