We have been leading trips to Oktoberfest since 2007, and here are some of the most relevant bits of information that you should consider when preparing for your trip to Munich.
Visitors to Germany must have a valid passport. Please be aware that in the US there is a large backlog for passport requests and we strongly urge you to apply for a passport sooner rather than later as they can take weeks if not months to arrive. You can apply for a passport at your local post office. When traveling around the country, carry a copy of your passport with you, NOT the actual document. The risk of it being set down and forgotten or (much more unlikely) stolen is far greater than leaving it at the hotel, which are generally safe (particularly the hotels we have chosen). It is also a good idea to leave a copy or two with a friend or family member at home.
VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW: Your passport needs to be valid more at least 7 months from the time of time of your departure. Don’t test this, and get a new passport if you are even close to expiring. We’ve had clients literally turned away at the airport and this is not an immediate fix.
Citizens of the US, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union countries are not required to obtain a visa to enter Germany unless you plan to stay longer than 3 months in the country. For detailed information on which nationalities require a visa please click here.
A service tip is usually included in the bill you will receive at most sit-down restaurants, but if you felt the service was exceptionally good you can leave up to an additional 10%. Most of the time, you just round up to the nearest big amount.
Germans speak, of course, German. High German is spoken throughout the country, and a variety of dialects (many which are difficult to understand) are common throughout the rest of the country, including Bavaria, the province in which Oktoberfest takes place. Many Germans speak English, however, especially in hotels, restaurants and tourist sites.
In this day and age, most US cell phone networks have a customer friendly internet option. However, we are also in a world where streaming is a large part of our daily phone use. Your hotel will have a complimentary wi-fi signal for you to use.
There should be an expectation set about cell phones at Oktoberfest, though. There are close to 200,000 people located in one small area simultaneously, so it’s not a given that text messages and phone calls go through while on the grounds.
Cell Phones Within Germany
Germany’s main cell phone provider is T-Mobile, and you can purchase phones that are with pre-paid minutes. The upside is that incoming calls are free (tell your friends and family to use an international calling card from home); the downside to this is that you must purchase the phone itself. Phone cards can be purchased at most stores, and both coin and card-operating telephone booths can be found along many main streets. Beware that rates of outgoing international calls might be high!
Traveling within Germany
Germany offers a large network of fast trains (S-bahn) and subways (U-bahn) in most large cities (including Munich) which offer services every 3-10 minutes. Transportation in Germany is very prompt, so if you’re taking one of the many buses also offered throughout the city be sure to arrive on time! You can also travel in and out of the country by train, which in Munich is located in the Hofbahnhauf station where tickets can be purchased on site.
Germans tend to be direct yet polite, and are nearly always willing to help out if you have a question. Be aware, however, that there are several things considered rude. Jaywalking, for example, is not acceptable – you will almost never see a German crossing during a red light. Sidewalks are often divided with a solid line to differentiate paths for pedestrians and bikers—be sure to stay out of the bike lane or you may get a comment or two!
Germany is on Central European Time, which is 1 hour ahead of GMT, 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard time, and 9 hours ahead of the Pacific Standard time and 14 hours ahead of Australia.
Germany uses 220V, 50 Hz alternating current, which is compatible with United Kingdom 220V but not US 110V applications, which will need a transformer that you can buy at a travel shop or Radio Shack type of store.
Want to get a custom quote for your Oktoberfest trip and get more details? Fill out the form and our Oktoberfest event manager will respond to you shortly.