If you are preparing for a trip to Germany, there are a few things you should know before you go. Your travel preparations will probably be similar to other preparations for traveling abroad, but if this is your first time flying overseas or you don’t speak German, you may not know how to proceed. Traveling in and of itself can be stressful, and traveling internationally adds another layer of factors to consider. Fortunately, there are plenty of tips and tricks for first-time tourists to Germany. Read on for some ways to prepare for your trip to Germany in advance so you can stress less and get excited for delicious German food and fun attractions.
1. Budget for Your Trip
While it may be the least exciting part of planning a trip to Germany, budgeting for your trip is essential. It is possible to travel to Germany on a budget if you watch for sales online and strategically plan to travel during a time of year when hotel reservations and plane tickets are least expensive. Germany’s tourist season is between May and September, and this tends to be when flights are most expensive. An early spring flight might be best. When traveling internationally on a budget, it also pays (literally) to be flexible and not too book too far in advance. Using public transportation while in Germany can also help you avoid unexpected Uber and Lyft fees, which quickly add up. In large cities like Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich, public transportation is combined into a single system called the U-Bahn.
2. Research German Culture and Language
You don’t have to be fluent in German to travel to Germany, but it will probably help to brush up on a few key phrases. You will want to know a few polite German phrases like “Thanks” (Danke) and “Excuse Me” (Entschuldigung). It’s always good to be polite in any language. In case of an emergency, make sure you know how to ask “Can you help me?” (Können Sie mir helfen?), “Do you speak English?” (Sprechen Sie English?), and “How do I get to…?” (Wie komme ich zu…?) If you want to go above and beyond, you can study a bit more in-depth and try your hand at ordering food in German. Ordering food in another language is a great way to test your linguistic ability!
There are a few cultural differences between Germany and the United States. That’s what makes traveling to Germany so fun! Before you go, though, it is important to know that not as many Germans speak English as some other European countries. Also, many stores in Germany only take cash, and public restrooms typically require payment to use. It is also frowned upon to jaywalk or talk loudly in public in Germany. While it may be difficult to adjust to these societal norms, it can be fun to try a new way of living for a week or two.
3. Create an Itinerary
This is the fun part! You get to decide which cities in Germany you want to visit, which foods you want to eat, and which landmarks are a must-see. Germany has plenty of rich history and entertainment, so whether you love the outdoors or you’re a history buff, you will find plenty to do in Germany. Brandenburg Gate, Neuschwanstein Castle, Cologne Cathedral, and Miniatur Wunderland in the Historic Port of Hamburg are just a few popular tourist destinations. Germany is also famous for its Currywurst, sausages, and pretzels, so definitely don’t miss it if you’re a foodie.
4. Gather Your Personal Documents
If you have traveled anywhere outside of the country, then you know that your legal documents are your most important item to pack. Germany specifically requires your passport to be valid for up to three months past your planned date of departure from the country and this is strictly enforced. You should also make a copy of your passport and other essential legal documents. Germany doesn’t require any vaccinations or a tourist visa, but it does have a currency restriction of 10,000 euros for entry and exit. Finally, make sure that your plane tickets and any other attraction tickets or reservations are organized well in advance.
5. Pack Other Essentials
In addition to the usual toiletries and clothing that you will pack in your luggage, you will want to bring a carry-on bag with an extra pair of clothes in case of flight delays, a few toiletries, electronics (and extra battery packs), snacks, and anything that you might want to read or listen to on the plane. Make sure you also bring your itinerary so you’re prepared when you land.
If your plane does land early, you will have some extra time to start exploring the city before your hotel or dining reservations. If you don’t want to carry your luggage around with you, try searching for luggage storage in Munich (or whichever German city you’re visiting) so you can rest assured that your luggage is safe until your reservations are ready.