Nine essential German phrases for the modern traveller

We’ve all been there. You think you've prepared for your trip to an exciting new country until you arrive and realise you really should have brushed up on the language.

Nine essential German phrases for the modern traveller
Photo: Glazunophoto/Depositphotos

So you reach for the trusty phrase book you picked up second-hand on Amazon. ‘Now I can communicate with all the panache of a native speaker,’ you think as you congratulate yourself on having the foresight to pack it.

That is, until you flick through the pages and realise there isn’t a single useful phrase for modern travellers.

Knowing how to ask if you can send a fax or where to exchange traveller’s cheques may have cut it back in the nineties, but this is 2017, pal! You need to know how to ask the relevant questions, and you don’t want to sound like a robot reciting them off the page.

Practice German with native speakers on Tandem

But what to learn beyond basic greetings and pleasantries? And unless you have the free time and cash to pay for lessons before you go, how are you meant to learn a language to begin with?

For tips, we talked to our friends at Tandem — a nifty language exchange app that instantly connects you with a community of native speakers around the globe.

There are plenty of language apps out there (after all, this is 2017!), but none of them are quite as useful when it comes to nailing useful phrases and perfecting the accent.

These nine phrases have been cherry-picked by the seasoned travellers of the Tandem community:

1. Can you tell me the WIFI code, please?

Können Sie mir bitte das WIFI-Passwort mitteilen?


2. Are you on TripAdvisor?

Sind Sie auf TripAdvisor?

Photo: Franklin Heijnen/Flickr


3. I have an online booking for a room tonight

Ich habe eine Online-Buchung für ein Zimmer heute Nacht

Photo: Pixabay


4. Do you accept contactless?

Kann ich kontaktlos bezahlen?

Photo: ING Nederland/Flickr


5. Do you have a website?

Haben Sie eine Website?


6. Can I buy tickets online?

Kann ich Tickets online kaufen?

Photo: Pexels


7. Where can I charge my phone?

Wo kann ich mein Handy aufladen?


8. Where can I top up my phone?

Wo kann ich mein Handy aufladen?

Photo: Wikipedia


9. Are selfie sticks allowed here?

Sind Selfie-Stangen hier erlaubt?

Photo: Syda_Productions/Depositphotos

Download Tandem on the Play Store for free

Now you know these everyday phrases you could join Tandem and practice the pronunciation with a native speaker. With a bit of help they’ll roll off the tongue like you’re a native speaker in no time at all.

What’s more – learning the basics of the language will make you feel more confident travelling in a new country, saving the day in tricky situations, and helping you to get the most out of your trip. And the locals always appreciate it when you’ve taken the time to learn a few words and phrases!

But how do you connect in the first place? It’s really easy – all you have to do is download the Tandem app, log in, find someone online who speaks your target language, and invite them to chat. You can even find people who specialise in different dialects. The whole process takes minutes. And it’s totally free.

In exchange you’ll help your tutor with your own language, so you can teach them useful phrases like “How much is your cheapest drink?” and “Where’s the nearest late-night takeaway?”.

You can download Tandem here – get a head start learning the words and phrases you actually need and, even better, learn them wherever and whenever you want.

Download the Tandem app on iTunes

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Tandem.


Coronavirus pandemic: German schools lagging behind on digital learning

Schools in Germany had a harder transition to online teaching during the coronavirus crisis compared to several other countries.

Coronavirus pandemic: German schools lagging behind on digital learning
Children on a laptop in Freiberg, Saxony. Photo: DPA

That's according to a representative survey of parents in Germany, Australia, the UK, Italy, Canada, Mexico and Singapore commissioned by the technology company Citrix.

Germany came in last place compared to the other six countries, with only every tenth student (10 percent) reporting a smooth transition to online teaching during the pandemic.

But even in Singapore, the country with the best score, only 30 percent of children said they had a smooth transition to online lessons. That was followed by Australia (25 percent), Mexico and the UK (19 percent each), Canada (16 percent) and Italy with 14 percent.

During the lockdown, pupils were forced to stay at home and lessons had to be conducted online. However, there were issues in Germany with a lack of equipment and slow digital connections.

Many schools 'not prepared'

In Germany, 50 percent of the parents surveyed said that schools had not been prepared at all. This is why distance learning was only provisionally carried out during the crisis, they said.

READ ALSO: Digital upgrade – How Germany plans cheap Internet access for all school pupils

Yet as many as 38 percent of the parents said that their children's schools had been “sufficiently prepared” because, for example, some distance learning systems were already in use.

In the survey, the parents also named the areas in which they felt there was room for improvement: at the top of the list was teacher training for distance learning (53 percent), better organisation of distance learning (48 percent) and more direct interaction with teachers via video (45 percent). However, 20 percent of parents think that online teaching is generally bad for their children.

Among the students surveyed, almost half (49 percent) are in favour of a hybrid model of classroom and online sessions, while 12 percent would like to continue their entire studies online after the corona crisis.

One Poll surveyed 3,500 parents with children aged 6 to 18 years and 3,500 university students in July and August 2020 on behalf of Citrix. The survey was conducted simultaneously in Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK, Italy, Mexico and Singapore. From each country, 500 students and 500 parents took part.

Digital upgrade planned for German schools

Among the students surveyed, almost half (49 percent) are in favour of a hybrid model of classroom and online sessions. 12 percent would like to continue their entire studies online after the corona crisis.

In general, it is widely acknowledged that Germany is behind the times when it comes to broadband speed and connectivity.

Last month, German authorities drew up a plan to inject the education system with a digital upgrade.

The federal and state governments have agreed that schools should have faster WiFi connections, there must be affordable Internet access for pupils and that laptops should be available to teachers.

READ ALSO: More schools in Germany reopen to pupils – but with strict social distancing rules


Online learning – (der) Online-Unterricht

Distance learning – (der) Fernunterricht

Sufficiently prepared – hinreichend vorbereitet

Room for improvement – (der)  Verbesserungsbedarf

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.