How Speaking as a Local Can Save Time and Money While Traveling
You are at a bar somewhere in Spain and desperately want to have a drink. You need it after a long day of walking around and taking photos under the hot sun. But a bartender seems not to pay any attention to your orders and keeps serving the drinks to the local tanned and smiley public. Then you finally realize that there are some secret words you need to add to your order to speed up the process and get the beverage in no time.
All travelers know that learning some basic phrases to be able to communicate with locals is always a good idea. Some of them can help you avoid the scams targeted on poor tourists, save money while shopping and spend less time waiting for your order at a bar. Here’s some valuable information on Italy and Germany that will help you pretend to be an ordinary local person living just around the corner in case you decide to visit one of these countries. People will stop thinking of you as a source of their possible income but treat you as if you were one of them.
Italians are horribly spoiled by the constant attention of the tourists. They know that we are in the best place for spending money on cheap postcards, fridge magnets, etc. Last year, you could see some smart entrepreneurs selling monopod selfie sticks near the famous sights (the price was quite discouraging as you can imagine). It’s very important to stay focused and not to fall for their tricks.
When you decide to order a cup of delicious Italian coffee, don’t make a common mistake of drinking it at the table. You’ll get charged twice more money for that. Just drink it at a bar counter.
They say caro/cara (dear) and bello/bella (beautiful) not only to their friends but also to their acquaintances.
You can say “coso”, “robo”, “cosetto” or “cosetta” when you don’t know a person’s name or simply forgot it.
Italians consider the number 17 to be unfortunate. The explanation is the ancient tradition of writing VIXI – I lived – on the burial tombs. This can be interpreted as an anagram to number XVII (VI = 6, XI =11, VIXI=17). You’d better avoid this number just in case.
Here are some more slang phrases you can use to sound as a local:
Alzare il gomito – to drink too much
Smamma! – Go away!
Figurati! – Don’t worry about it!
Dai! – Come on!
Meno male! – Thank God!
Ma, che sei grullo?! – Are you crazy?!
Using public transport in Germany is a great pleasure. It always arrives on time and is very clean. The only situation when it’s better not to pretend to be local is if for some reason you decide not to buy a ticket and get caught for it. The officers are polite there and if you act like a confused tourist that couldn’t understand where or how to buy a ticket, the chances are you’ll avoid the punishment of paying a penalty.
Get used to seeing the half-page long sentences and search for the most important word at the end. It’s like an evil plan to make tourists suffer and spend hours trying to decipher the main idea of a sentence.
You’re still using ‘Hallo’ and ‘Guten Tag’ to greet someone? It’s time for you to sound as a native and start using ‘Was geht ab?’ (What’s up?) instead. It’s more of an informal way of saying hello so don’t overuse it.
If you need to buy a ticket on a train from city A to city B, don’t focus mainly on the journeys without stops. Sometimes, getting first from A to C and from C to B can be twice cheaper. You can ask for some help at the railway station if you need some piece of advice.
When someone asks you: “Hast Du nicht alle Tassen im Schrank?”, it’s not about your real cups in your real cabinet. It’s an equivalent of asking “Are you crazy?” in English.
Here are some more slang expressions and words in German that are frequently used by the locals:
Lecker! – Yummy!
Süss! – How cute!
Das ist ja wirklich ganz toll! – This is awesome!
Das geht/Das geht nicht! – That works/ That doesn’t work!
Quatsch! – That’s nonsense!
Alda/Alta/Alter – dude (it’s better ti use it only among friends)
One more tip on traveling around Europe is making new friends. It’s so exciting to get to know the culture of other nations and their customs. With the help of the modern technologies, it’s so easy to stay connected with anyone anywhere. You can write long emails sharing the local traditions. And don’t worry if you don’t speak the language. There are a lot of translation services that can help you communicate with your friends around the globe.