Europe Travel Guidelines: Germany
Germany is a beautiful country to visit, especially if you’re interested in history or knowing historical elements that make a specific region different that the others. Germany is located in the heart of Europe and May to October is the best time to visit Germany. Festivals and popular events are organized during this time. Read on to know more about life in Germany…
All visitors must have valid passports (needs to be valid for 3 months beyond the departure date). Australian, Canadian and U.S. nationals do not require a visa for a less than 3-months visit. EU countries’ visitors must have a valid national ID, which could either be a passport or some other ID. EU countries’ visitors do not require a visa at all.
- Coastal Germany has temperate climate with warm summers and mild cloudy winters. The interiors are warmer during summers and winters are colder. Expect rain throughout the year. Carry clothing accordingly and do not forget an umbrella.
- Although banks are shut on weekends, exchange bureaus at the airport and main stations remain open everyday between 6:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M.
- In Germany, it is advised that you change currencies only at the banks or legitimate exchange bureau.
- Cash your traveler’s checks at exchange bureaus as banks would seldom accept it. Although Germans prefer cash transactions, nowadays major credit cards are being widely accepted.
- Probably the most convenient and quickest way to obtain cash would be at an ATM.
- In Germany, unless asked, do not address people by their first names. Also take a small gift such as unwrapped flowers or a bottle of champagne for the hostess. Make sure that you take uneven number of flowers and that they are not red roses.
- Courtesy states that on entering stores or restaurant use greeting such as Guten Tag before asking for anything. Also do not offend the Germans by just leaving without saying anything. The phrase to be used here is Auf Wiedersehen or Tschuss.
- Normally casual dressing is acceptable, but in theaters, opera, certain restaurants, casinos and important social functions one must be appropriately dressed.
- Smoking is banned wherever notified, public transports and buildings. Restaurants and bars are exempted.
- Food joints and restaurants offer variety of foods, which are European specialities. Try some delicious Veg and Non-veg German Cuisine with the local brand of beer available. Don’t miss on freshly baked German Cheesecake.
- Shops generally remain open between 10:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M.- Monday to Saturday. The bigger stores, departmentals and supermarkets may remain open till 8:00 P.M. Countryside stores close by 6:00 P.M. and usually shut down for an hour in the afternoon.
- If the service charge is not added to the bill leave a 5 to 10 per cent tip on the check amount. Also tip the cleaning staff, hairdressers, porters and taxi drivers in small amounts.
- Non-EU visitors require an international driving license or an official German translation.
- In order to hire a car you have to be a minimum of 21 years of age and require a valid driver’s license and a major credit card.
- Germany drives on the right and overtakes on the left. Always.
- If there are no signals/traffic police/sign indicating right-of-way, then right-of-way is always valid for traffic coming from right. This is true also for small side streets and main roads intersections.
- German laws are very strict on drunken driving. Front and rear seat belts are mandatory everywhere. Hand held mobiles while driving are not allowed.
- There are no tolls to be paid on the German Autobahns.
- Radar traps to monitor speeds are frequent in Germany. Maintain speed limits while driving. Within cities the limit is 50 kph and two-lane highways 100 kph. Although most motorways or autobahns do not specify a speed limit, avoid topping over 130 kph.
- Public toilets are easily available in Germany. They are marked as Toilette or WC. Larger cities would have spherically shaped or automatic cubic “boxes.”These toilets operate on coins of up to 50 Eurocents or even 1 Euro. Therefore keep some change handy. Also at several of these washrooms you will find attendants. Do leave small tip for them.
- Choose the correct toilet. ‘Manner’ is for men whereas women’s toilet would have ‘Damen’ or ‘Frauen’ sign boards.
- A comprehensive travel insurance is advised for all travelers. Travelers can either purchase it from their respective countries or from the Insurance agencies in France. Remember, doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
- For medical emergencies (ambulance) call 112 and 110 for police.
(Reference resources – http://www.worldtravelguide.com)