I'm 100% sure that it's right and fine to use:

"Gute Reise" which means "Have a nice trip".

But is it also fine to use "Gute" for vacations?

"Gute Urlaub" - is that wrong?

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    Often you hear: Erholsamen Urlaub! for relaxing holidays. Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 12:27
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    Good questions in this forum show certain effort by the person asking to solve the problem by other means, e.g. using dictionaries etc. Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 13:20

5 Answers 5


"Guten Urlaub!" ("Urlaub" is masculine, so note the "n") is possible, but uncommon. The usual phrase is "Schönen Urlaub!"

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    Which is short for "Ich wünsche Dir/Euch/Ihnen einen schönen Urlaub" which is equally common. Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 10:03
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    @infinitezero as a nitpick, wouldn't "dir" and "euch" typically be all-lowercase? Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 11:02
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    @ToivoSäwén That depends on whether or not you believe that the KMK (= Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic) has the authority to dictate how to express politeness.
    – Uwe
    Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 11:06
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    @finitud Don't know what Uwe is referring to, but as a German, "dir" feels correct to me, "Dir" is only correct at the beginning of a sentence, "euch" feels correct for addressing a group of people, and "Euch" would be correct at the beginning of a sentence or for addressing a king or god (Pluralis Majestatis).
    – orithena
    Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 13:01
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    @finitud In the pre-reform orthography, "du", "ihr", and derived forms of "du" and "ihr" were capitalized when addressing somebody, such as in letters. The post-reform orthography kept the capitalization of "Sie" as a formal address, but eliminated the capitalization of "du" and "ihr".
    – Uwe
    Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 13:05

German is not my first language, but I remember hearing Schöne Ferien a lot when I was learning it!

A quick Google search shows it is a commonly used sentence, albeit I can't be sure if it is used informally with a slightly different meaning (Like "Happy Holidays").

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    "Ferien" would refer to schools or universities. Students have "Ferien", employees have "Urlaub".
    – user2508
    Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 14:28
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    @EikePierstorff ... but Ferien is widely used in compounds. There are lots of Ferienwohnungen around me. Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 15:00
  • @EikePierstorff Yeah, I got that. But vacation could mean both Ferien und Urlaub, right? It's unclear from the original question which exacltwasmeant. BTW, I find amusing that German has some distinctions between words that other languages consider the same. Like trinken und saufen oder essen und fressen.
    – gmauch
    Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 16:25
  • @gmauch likewise English has the words holiday and vacation. I often mix them up and not sure when to use which one, since both would just be "vakantie" in my native language (Dutch)
    – Ivo
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 9:47
  • @IvoBeckers In Portuguese (my native language) férias is used for both. I know exactly how you feel when trying to pick the correct word!
    – gmauch
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 12:25

"Guten Urlaub" works, but "Schönen Urlaub" feels more natural.

You might also just say "viel Spaß" or "erhol' Dich gut" (very informal, implies that the person spoken too needs to recharge their batteries), as appropriate.


"Gute Reise" is fine and commonly used, but "Reise" technically only refers to the act of traveling itself. (getting from place a to place b) So you only use this phrase when you know the person is going to travel.

"Guten Urlaub" would be correct in theory, but is very uncommon and doesn't sound natural.

As others have said, the most common phrase would be "schönen Urlaub"

"Urlaub" can also be used if the person does not travel at all. Going on vacation is "Urlaub" but having a day off and sitting at home is also "Urlaub".


For "have a good travel" you can use "Gute Fahrt!" (usually by car but also boat) which relates only to traveling, however, not what you do for recreation. Famously an uncle of mine wished American relatives "Have a good Fahrt!" to some irritation since the right word in English escaped him at the moment.

Typical vacation wishes tend to be a bit more verbose, like "Schönen Urlaub und gute Erholung!" or "Viel Spaß im Urlaub!". If you just got an explanation about where the person is travelling, you can conclusively say "Dann mal einen schönen Urlaub!" ("In that case and for this particular occurence, I wish you a nice vacation.": colloquial speech patterns can embody a lot of formalisms in single syllables).

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