Germany has a vast history which encompasses many decades of both peace and war. Most people know Germany as the home of Hitler and the Nazi Party. That is not the Germany of today. Today’s Germany is full of amazing people with kind hearts and a true sense of hospitality.
If you have never been to Germany here are a few insider tips to make your journey more enjoyable and less stressful.
Your passport must still have 90 days remaining at the conclusion of your visit to Germany.
There is no visa needed if you are from the countries of the United States of America, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. You can stay in Germany up to 3 months without a visa but you cannot work.
The best way to travel from city to city is by train. The train system goes to every major city in the country. It is best to make your reservations before you get there. You will need both a ticket for the train and a seat reservation. They are two different tickets. If you only have a ticket for the train you may end up sitting on your luggage the duration of the ride. The seat reservation will cost you about 2£. It is worth the extra little bit of money to have a seat and be able to enjoy your journey around the country.
If you are going between smaller towns the regional trains run to most of them. They however do not take seat reservations. Because of that, try to travel during non-commute times to avoid the large work crowd.
In case of emergency the number to call for police, fire or ambulance is 112. For minor health issues go to the pharmacy (apotheke). They can help you with getting cold or allergy medicine. The pharmacies are generally open Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm. In rural areas they usually close early on Wednesdays.
When it comes to dinning out don’t wait to be seated, just sit where you want. If it is crowed and you see a seat open at an occupied table just ask “is this seat available?” “ist dieser platz noch frei?” It is not uncommon to share a table with someone you don’t know. It is also a great way to meet new people and learn more about the best things to do and see while you are there.
Water is not free like it is in most restaurants in the United States. If you want a glass of water you will need to order it just like you would any other beverage.
Tips are not compulsory but if you had excellent service and want to give a little extra make sure to hand it to the waiter, don’t leave it on the table. There is already a fee for the waiter built into your bill. If you still want to tip 5% or 10% is appropriate.
If possible to plan your trip during the Oktoberfest celebration you will not regret it. Oktoberfest events happen throughout the entire country during the end of September, ending in October. The original location for this extraordinary festival is in Munich and they still have the largest celebration. Whether you are a beer drinker or not there is something for everyone young and old.