Are you on your way to go on a trip to Germany? I’m sure that about now, you are on your heels trying to decide on what to bring and what things to arrange for your trip there. Planning your itinerary and knowing where you are heading is almost always a sure way in ensuring that you get the most out of your vacation. Planning ahead will give you an easier time while travelling.
It is always helpful to know a few things about the country that you are heading to. And if you are off to Germany, it would be wise to learn the dos and don’ts of the country. Here are a few travel tips you can take note of once you reach your destination.
1. Water in restaurants and bars is not free
Once you are inside a restaurant or a bar, you will not get water for free. You will need to pay for it. If you order water, you will receive carbonated water. You can still request tap water in most restaurants, although you will need to check whether there is a charge or not. The water that will be given to you would most likely be straight from the sink.
2. Food in American fast food restaurants in Germany may have different tastes
If you happen to eat at an American fast food restaurant while in Germany like McDonalds, one thing to note is that the food there may not be exactly the same as what you were used to back home. And also, you must pay for ketchup (just like with water). Even if you recognize a sandwich on the menu that is similar to what you have back home, the taste may be a little different or it could be smaller in size.
3. You can pick your own table at a restaurant
When dining at a most of the restaurants, you can actually just walk right in and pick your own table. You do not need to wait to be seated and just find one that is free or to your liking.
4. You can give a smaller tip
Tipping is something we do to thank the waiters and waitresses for their service. When you give a tip in Germany, it should be much smaller than what you would normally give in the States. The reason for that is because waiters and waitresses in Germany get paid more than in the States. You can give two or three EUR. That would already be considered a good tip for ever good service. Of course, you can still give something higher than that to show your appreciation to them.
5. Supermarkets use rolling carts
If you decide to go grocery shopping in Germany, you will notice that supermarkets have all of their large rolling carts outside in a designated area and they are locked to one another. If you want to use the cart, you need to pay one EUR in the cart itself. There can find the slot I the handle of the cart. Once you are done with the cart, you can latch it back to the other carts and pull the device out where you placed the coin. That will let you get your coin back.
6. You will need to purchase plastic bags for your groceries
After you’re finished selecting the things that you want from the shelves, you can proceed to the check-out counter. The plastic bags that you will use to hold your items would need to be purchased. They are usually visible at the counter and would usually cost just a few cents. If the line is long at the purchase counter, my advice would be to just put the groceries back in the cart and bag them away from the line. This avoids congestion at the counter and would be less of a hassle for you and the other customers. If you don’t want to pay for the plastic bag, I suggest you bring your own shopping bag. Just make sure that it is big enough to hold all of your groceries.
7. Almost everything is closed on Sunday
The Germans do take their rest day seriously. Expect to find almost all of the stores and establishments closed on Sunday. Only a few restaurants, bars, gas stations and shops at the main train station and bigger airports remain in business during that day. There are bigger stores aiming to take advantage of the money they can make since there is less competition during Sundays and that is why they are open. But just to be sure, don’t rely on it and plan well if you are in Germany on a Sunday.
8. Shops in Germany close early
On weekdays, especially in bigger cities, the shops and stores close around 8 p.m. at the latest. The shops in smaller cities close much earlier than that. If you would like to go around the shops in Germany, it would be best to do it in the morning.
9. Public phones are rare
In Germany, public phones are very rare and hard to find. And if you ever come to need and find one, you will notice that you can only use telephone cards in order to make a call. You can purchase these telephone cards in various shops like “T-Punkt”, “Telekom”, “Post” or “Vodafone.” You can also go to an Internet café.
10. “Bad” in Germany does not mean bad at all
There are towns in Germany that have “Bad” written before their names. It does not hold the same meaning in English. In Germany, cities like “Bad Homburg” normally mean that the city is designated as a healthy place with very clean air and water.
These are just a few of the things that you need to know about Germany. Knowing these things will surely help in improving your experience as you travel the country.