I’m sure you’re very excited now that you’ve booked your trip to Germany. You’re likely excited thinking about all of the many castles, breweries, vineyards, etc.
But you may also be brainstorming to come up with things that you may forget! In this article, we will attempt to get you as prepared as possible so that once you get there, you’re prepared and ready to maximize your enjoyment.
How to Plan a Trip to Germany
I can’t go over every little detail in this article, but I’ll go over the most important things.
1. Currency Conversion
Currently, Germany is using the Euro. So, you’ll need to convert your currency to Euro.
You can either do this at a local bank in your country of origin, or you can bring some cash with you and convert it to the airport.
Once in Germany, there are ATMs, just like in the U.S. and other countries, but you’ll want to get some Euro right away to buy food and get transportation, so be prepared and don’t forget to convert your cash into Euro as soon as possible. For more, see our page about German currency.
2. Power Conversion
If you’re from the U.S., this is very important, and I’m sure it is also regularly overlooked. If you plug your U.S. appliances into a power outlet in Germany, there is a possibility of your appliance being ruined!
That’s because German power outlets have a 220-volt output, while U.S. power outlets have 110. Many newer appliances are “dual-voltage,” meaning you can plug them into either, and the appliance will recognize it and operate just fine, but older appliances and some newer appliances (usually smaller things like phones) are NOT dual voltage!
You will need a power converter if you want to use any electrical device/appliance in Germany that is 110. For more info on this, see our page on the dangers and cautions while in Germany.
3. Transportation in Germany
You’ll need to understand how the transportation system in Germany works! This is extremely important, as if you just show up and try to figure things out on your own, you may be in for a rude awakening!
Don’t be alarmed; it’s not incredibly difficult to understand, but I highly recommend getting things figured out ahead of time, rather than trying to figure it all out once you’re there!
The train system will be your best friend, as there are trains that go everywhere. Learn how it works ahead of time… you can even get train schedules and maps online from DeutschBahn.
For more info, see our page about getting around in Germany.
4. Emergency Prep
In the U.S., you simply dial 911 from any phone for any type of emergency. In Germany, the number is 110. Technically 110 is for the Police (Polizei), and 112 is for fire and ambulance, but if you call 110, they will dispatch whatever you need, so just remember 110.
Remember that! For more information and numbers, see our page on emergencies while in Germany.
Your cell phone may or may not work in Germany! It all depends on the type of phone you have and the type of service you have. If it does work, you may end up with a large bill after your trip.
For these reasons, it is very important to get in touch with your cell phone provider ahead of time and figure out exactly how your phone works and how your plan is set up, including what options you have.
For more info on this, see our page about cell phones in Germany.
See Related: How to Find Cheap Flights to Germany
Believe it or not, even though you’ve never passed a driving test and have likely never even see a German driving study guide, you can legally drive a rental in Germany.
For the most part, driving in Germany is very similar to driving in the U.S.
However, there are a few differences, and those few differences can be VERY dangerous if you’re not aware of them!
For one, there are many intersections in Germany where there are no stop signs or lights, but you are expected to yield. Failure to do so could cause an accident.
Also, there is no right before left rule, and you cannot turn right on red. For more info on this, see our page about driving while in Germany.
Also, if you plan on driving, check out these different day trips for each city:
- Day Trips from Hamburg
- Day Trips from Leipzig
- Day Trips from Dresden
- Day Trips from Nuremberg
- Day Trips from Berlin
7. Red Light District
In most German towns and every big city, there are areas known as the “Red Light District.” I can’t tell you exactly where each one is, as there are so many, but you will want to stay away from these areas –> ESPECIALLY <– if you will be traveling with children!
The red light districts are full of drug dealers/users, prostitutes, and various other dangerous people.
They are generally not difficult to spot … just think of the bad “side of town” in any big city of your home country. That’s basically what the red light districts amount to.
They are often very close to the train stations, so just be vigilant when taking walks outside of train stations and downtown of any city or town, especially if you will be traveling with children! For more info on this, see our page on the dangers of Germany.
These are the most important things to keep in mind when planning your trip to Germany. As I mentioned before, there are many other things to keep in mind, but these, I would say, are the most important.
Enjoy your trip! I hope these tips help you prevent anything bad that could potentially happen. Overall, Germany is a safe and fun Country to visit.
The Regions of Germany
When planning a trip to Germany, you want to familiarize yourself with the map of Germany and its regions. That way, you have the opportunity to explore Germany differently while seeing different regions that have the most to offer a traveler.
In Northern Germany, you will find the city of Hamburg. It is the largest city in this region and can be found alongside smaller cities like Lubeck, Stade, and Bremen. In Northern Germany, you will find beautiful beaches with the North Sea and Baltic Sea.
You will also discover the Wadden Sea national park, the islands of Sylt Flor, and Heligoland. This region is flat and looks so much different than Bavaria. It is a great region for biking to see the sights.
One of the cities most featured in Eastern Germany is, of course, Berlin. You will also find Dresden, Leipzig, Magdeburg, Weimar, and a few other smaller cities in this region as well. For sights, you will find the Harz Mountains, Swiss Saxony national park, the Grottoes in Thuringia, and Wenigerode Castle.
If you prefer city life, you definitely want to visit Cologne, Dusseldorf, and Frankfurt in Central Germany. Here you will find the Rhine Valley and Mosel River, vineyards, national parks, and rolling hills. Central Germany is also the location of several of the cheaper airports you can fly into in Germany.
If you are looking for folk festivals, fairytale towns, castles, history, and rich culture, then a visit to Southern Germany should definitely be on y our itinerary.
Here you will find the Bavarian Alps and the crystal clear waters of the alpine lakes. One of the more popular cities in Southern Germany is Munich. One of the more famous festivals you will find here is Oktoberfest.
How Much Time Do You Have?
When planning a trip to Germany, you also have to consider how much time you will have. You can then create your itinerary based on this so you can see and do as much as possible.
A Few Days
If you only have a few days scheduled in Germany, then it would be best to focus on one city at a time and take a day trip. Hamburg is a great city to visit on a day trip.
If you have a week to spend in Germany, you can visit more than one city and take two-day trips to different parts of the country. Keep in mind that you also have to factor in travel time between each German city you want to visit. You can easily spend a few days in Berlin and then take a day trip to one of the smaller cities close by.
If you have two weeks, then you have the opportunity to discover much more of Germany. We recommend that you start in Berlin and then stop in each region, ending your trip in Munich. You can travel between regions by car or by train.
Train Travel in Germany
If you choose to travel to Germany by train, you will find that it is a quick, easy, and convenient mode of transportation. You can get almost anywhere between one hour and six hours from the train station. For example, the time between Berlin to Munich by train is approximately four and a half hours.
Germany Road Trip
If you prefer to rent a car and take a Germany road trip, you can drive the German Timber-frame Road, Romantic Road, Wine Road, and more. Germany certainly makes long road trips worth the time and effort. The free autobahns are well-maintained, and there are speed limits posted on the autobahn, despite popular belief. You will also get to see scenic countryside views.
Small Town Vibes
If you prefer to explore a small town or little villages where you can appreciate the architecture, you may want to visit one of the following cities in Germany:
- Rothenburg Ob der Tauber
You can find cobblestone streets, charming local shops, and more when you take a walking tour through these small town locations. Find a Germany travel guide that dives a bit deeper into local culture, so you know what sights and areas you want to include in your itinerary.
Big City Exploration
If you prefer to visit bigger cities on your travels, then Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, and Dusseldorf are prime locations. Hamburg, for example, is crossed by hundreds of canals.
The city’s central Jungfernstieg Boulevard connects the Neustadt (New Town) with the Altstadt (Old Town). Here you will find amazing landmarks like St. Michael’s Church from the 18th-century.
The Best Time to Visit Germany
Honestly, the best time to visit Germany is any time you can do so! There really isn’t a bad time during the year to visit this country.
If you want warmer weather, then the summertime is when you will want to visit. You will have long days during the summer for sightseeing, and it’s a great time if you are more interested in the mountains or beaches.
However, summer can also be a crowded time of the year to travel since many people travel during their summer break. Additionally, not all lodging and hotel locations have air conditioning, so you may want to avoid Germany during the middle of summer.
Traveling to Germany during the winter will be cold, but it will also prove to be beautiful. It gets darker earlier during the winter months, but this gives the chance to take in the lights and decorations. You can also find the Christmas Market open during this time as well. If you love winter sports and skiing, then this is the time to visit.
Fall and Spring
Fall and spring are also great times to visit Germany because the weather is nice; you can comfortably sit outside at a café or restaurant and take advantage of each hour of your day while seeing the leaves change color and enjoying cooler evenings and mornings.
More Tips When Planning Your Trip to Germany
We will leave you with a few more tips for planning your trip to Germany. Always try to book your Germany trip early and in advance, especially if you will be traveling during a peak season. You can find lower mileage rates when you choose specific travel dates and times.
It never hurts to look for last-minute deals either. If you can be flexible with your travel dates, even better! Finally, flying in or out of a smaller regional airport may work best for your trip, depending on where you want to visit. Look at Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Munich, and Dusseldorf for some deals.
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