Germany is a country renowned for picturesque towns, vibrant natural scenery, fascinating history, and abundant food. A trip to Germany is well worthwhile but can be a source of culture shock. In many of the big aspects of life, the culture is similar to that of North America, which may make the smaller differences even more confusing. Here are some tips to help your vacation in Germany go as smoothly as possible.
1. Bring Your Own Charging Station
If you're like most people, you rely on devices such as smartphones to survive and function in your daily life. You'll probably continue to rely on them during your trip to Germany, which means you need a way to keep them fully charged. This can be tricky because the power system in Germany is different than in the United States, so you will probably need a converter for your devices to be compatible. At that point, it is a simple matter of plugging a power strip into the converter, and voila! You can charge all your devices at once.
By the way, you may be interested to know that Germany is one of the top implementers of solar power in the world. Look around while you're there for the world's best solar panels that may be charging your devices during your time abroad.
2. Pack Appropriately to the Time of Year
There's not really a bad time to visit Germany. There are fun activities happening at all times of the year. However, you're unlikely to get much enjoyment if you fail to pack appropriate clothing for the season. Spring and summer in Germany can be very hot, while fall and winter can be bitterly cold, so much so that some seasoned travelers recommend bringing two warm coats, just to be on the safe side. It is always a good idea to pack so that you can dress in layers and remove or add on as needed.
3. Convert Your Currency and Carry Cash
As part of the European Union, Germany's currency is the Euro. This is convenient for you if you also plan to travel elsewhere in Europe during the same trip because you won't have to change your money every time you enter a new country. However, you might want to think about converting your money before arriving in Germany. North American expatriates report that it is difficult to find German bank personnel who speak much English.
Though generally a modern and technologically advanced nation, credit card use is not as ubiquitous in Germany as it is in North America. Therefore, it is recommended to carry at least some cash with you at all times.
4. Learn Some Basic German Phrases
When you visit a foreign country, it is not necessarily fair to expect everyone you encounter to speak your language. As you travel in Germany, you may be very surprised to find that most people actually do speak English, and quite well. However, it never hurts to learn a few useful German phrases beforehand. This could help to smooth things over if you have an encounter with someone who, in fact, does not speak English.
You might think that people who work in environments where they encounter foreign visitors on a regular basis, such as banks or customs, would have learned English as part of the job. However, people from North America who have spent significant time in Germany report that the opposite seems to be true, and people in bureaucratic settings such as these seem to be less fluent in English than ordinary German citizens.
5. Stay Healthy
If you take prescription medications, you should definitely make arrangements ahead of time to take these with you during your trip to Germany. Even if you have medical conditions for which you do not take prescriptions, you should bring over-the-counter medications to take care of them. For example, pollution in Germany may cause allergies or asthma to act up, so in addition to any prescription inhaler that you need, you may want to take along some over-the-counter antihistamines.
People who visit Germany report that they find the people quiet and cold. Stoicism is part of the German culture, so do not take it personally.