Every trip to a new place comes with its own moments of confusion, but your trip to Germany doesn’t have to be a total culture shock if you come prepared. Here are a few tips to help make your visit as efficient as possible so you can dedicate your time and effort to enjoying all the sights and experiences available to you!
1) Check in advance to see what days and times stores and other important stops on your visit are open. Most grocery stores are closed on Sundays, and museums are commonly closed one day of the week, usually Monday. If you’re in need of something outside of German business hours, check the main train station. There may be a grocery store open there.
2) Even if you don’t have a car, you can cover large parts of Germany by train, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Get together with your friends when it’s time to travel. The German Rail (Deutsche Bahn) offers a special flat rate for groups to travel anywhere in one of Germany’s 16 states for the whole day. Be aware that these special tickets only work with local and regional trains, not inter-city express trains.
3) Decide in advance which museums you want to visit while you’re in a specific area. Many cities in Germany offer low-priced admission cards that grant entrance into several of a city’s museums, so you could explore them all on the same day.
4) It might come as a shock to some travelers that they would need to pay to use a public toilet, but that is sometimes the case in Germany. At train stations and the like, there is usually a gate in front of the bathroom so that you must pay to get in the stall. Toilets on long-distance trains and at restaurants are not locked like this, but you still have the option to leave a tip for the bathroom attendant.
Of course, each area is different, but if you plan ahead with these tips in mind, you’ll hopefully have a better understanding of how to explore Germany without a hitch. Whether your German excursion takes you to the Black Forest or the Elbe River, you’ll have many delightful and diverse new experiences to look forward to.