Travel Tips

Read these 55 Travel Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about German tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What is DB?

DB - The Railway System

What is DB? Those initials stand for the national German company "Deutsche Bundesbahn". The company is state subsidized and offers a regular, punctual and comprehensive range of services across the entire country. Check out their website for train schedules, travel information, reduced tickets and much more. This site is in German. It is searcheable.

http://www.bahn.de/

   
Which car rentals exist at Hamburg airport?

Car rentals at Hamburg Airport

Avis Tel.: + 040 - 50 7523 14
Sixt Tel.: + 040 - 593 94 80
Fax: + 040 - 596 232
Hertz Tel.: + 040 - 593 513 67
Fax: + 040 - 591 273
Europcar Tel.: + 040 - 500 21 70
Fax: + 040 - 500 21 766

   
What are the essential cosmetics & related products for traveling?

Hair dryer

Forget about taking your American hair dryer to Germany. You would need an adapter, and you would have to change the voltage. It is not worth it. Buy a cheap hair dryer at one of the bigger department stores (Karstatt, Hertie, Wertheim)instead. Prices start at ca. DM 10. You may also want to get one of those that come in a pouch and have a folding handle.

   
Are baggage carts free at German airports?

Baggage carts

It is possible to use baggage carts for free in most German airports, but usually, you will not be allowed to take them out of the building.

   
Where can I get info on the weather?

Weather forecast on the radio

Any German radio station will transmit frequent weather forecasts, usually at the top of the hour. The forecast is usually combined with a newsreport.

   
Where can I get infos for a trip to Germany?

Travel Pro German Travel

Travel Pro is the German traveler's travel agent. Visit them at www.vacationcenter.com, or write to: Travel Pro, PO Box 139, Weston, WI 54476. Phone: 800 - 765 - 0112.

   
Where is the best German carnival?

Carnival in Cologne

If you are traveling Germany, try to make it in time for the annual carnival in Cologne (every February). Other cities that have one are Mainz and Wasung. You will see an unusual side of Germany at its best. I recommend you do a web search on 'Cologne' for more details. There are also some tips and links in my 'customs' section. Look for "Fastnacht".

   
How can I save on breakfast?

Inexpensive lifesavers

Packets of instant oatmeal and other hot cereals can be an inexpensive lifesaver if your hotel does not offer complimentary breakfast. Bring a small supply in your suitcase and replenish your supplies in any German
grocery store. Quick meals in a disposable plastic cup (made by German companies such as "Maggi" and "Knorr") are cheap and widely available.

   
What happens if I ride public transport without a ticket?

Schwarzfahren

"Schwarzfahren" is the act of using the public transport system for free (for details see tip: subway cops). If you want to engage in this sport, you need to either be a fast runner and an excellent liar. Once you get caught, you will get fined. If you get caught too often, you may be denied access to public transport altogether. Talking your way out of it ("I have a daily/weekly/monthly ticket and left it at home/the hotel") will not help much. Your ID can get confiscated. To retrieve it, you will need to bring the ticket to public transport headquarters, and you will still have to pay a (slightly lower) fine. Ok, being a tourist might help you somewhat. Generally speaking, though, Schwarzfahren is not advisable.

   
What happens if I ride public transport without a ticket?

Subway cops

It is possible to get on some subway trains without paying, i.e. there is no barrier between the point where you (should) buy your ticket and the train platform. That's why plainclothes "cops" are a frequent occurence on the underground. They are legally entitled to check your ticket. If you do not have one, or refuse to show it, they will take you off the train, check your ID and fine you. Fines can be anything from DM 60 to 400, especially if you are a frequent offender. If you can not pay or do not cooperate, they will call the police. Don't risk it.

   
Where can I find weather info online?

Weather news in German at Procumulus.de

Go to the Procumulus website to find information on the current weather trends in Germany.

http://www.procumulus.de/html/news_155.html

   
Which car rentals exist at Koelln/Bonn airport?

Car rentals at Koeln/Bonn Airport

Avis Tel.: (02203) - 40 23 43
Sixt Tel.: (02203) - 95 450
Fax: (02203) - 95 45 40
Hertz Tel.: (02203) - 61 085
Fax: (02203) - 69 53 03
Europcar Tel.: (02203) - 353 16
Fax: (02203) - 324 77

   
My car broke down, what do I do?

ADAC car breakdown service

The ADAC is similar to the AAA in the US. Meaning they will help you out if your car breaks down. Call + (49) 01802 22 22 22 if you need help.

   
Which car rentals exist at Duesseldorf airport?

Car rentals at Duesseldorf Airport

Avis Tel.: + 0211-4216747/48
Sixt Tel.: + 0211-942 970
Fax: + 0211-428 095
Hertz Tel.: + 0211-411 083
Fax: + 0211-418 05 83
Europcar Tel.: + 0211 -942 38 0
Fax: + 0211 -942 38 66

   
What´s the time in Germany?

Time Zone

Germany is always one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Clocks advance an hour at the end of March and lose an hour in late October.

   
How can I save on meals?

Immersion coil

Should you plan to stay in one or more German hotels, you can save by bringing along an adaptor and a small electric immersion coil, which will enable you to heat up hot drinks and quick meals directly in your hotel room. In general, you will not find a coffee maker in your room, although there may be a hairdryer.

   
Why take cabs?

Cabs

Cabs are useful if you want to get around at night and do not have access to a night bus. In smaller cities, there might not even be a night bus system. Check for cab companies in your district in the local phone directory. Prices are not always fixed. Generally speaking, German cabs are expensive. Inquire at your hotel for details.

   
What are the cheapest methods of traveling?

Use the public transport system

If you visit Germany's larger cities (e.g. Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Dresden, Leipzig, Frankfurt) you may not need to rent a car. Parking space is limited, and the public transport system (bus, underground, city train) is well developed. Most cities have nightbusses, too. Car rental would be advisable in rural locations only.

   
Where can I find information about Wertheim?

City info Wertheim

This page provides infomation about Kreuzwertheim, Wertheim, Hassloch and Roettbach:

http://www.realschule-wertheim.de/brd/index.htm

   
Is there a car sharing service in Germany?

Mitfahrzentralen

If you want to save money going places, check your local German phone directory for "Mitfahrzentralen". These agancies will provide you with phone numbers of drivers willing to take on passengers. The fee is very small, and usually, all you need to pay the driver is your share of gas. Highly recommended.

   
What´s the weather like?

Weather report by phone

Call + (49) 0190 11 64 01 for an update about the current weather in Germany. Can be handy if you cannot watch the weather report on TV, or on the radio.

   
Where can I book my winter vacation?

Abenteuer und Sportreisen GmbH

Abenteuer und Sportreisen GmbH (Adventure tours) is a German online travel agent, which helps you to book your winter vacation. Site features winter highlights, ski tours, ice climbing, snow boarding, trekking and igloo building. Site is in German.

http://www.adventours.de/Winter/

   
Where can I find addresses for Dresden?

DDCity Dresden

DDCity – “Dresden City information and newsmagazine” provides you with news, tips, addresses and much else.

http://www.ddcity.de/

   
Why do I need small change?

Having bus fares ready

German busdrivers do not have to accept large bills (Geldscheine) as a rule. Before going on a bus, make sure you either have a supply of small coins (50 Pfennig, 10 Pfennig, 1 DM, 2 DM) handy, or even better, try to buy a tourist ticket in advance. Most transport services have vending machines near the stops. In some towns, this is cheaper than getting a single fare directly on the bus.

   
Which car rentals exist at Frankfurt airport?

Car rentals at Frankfurt Airport

Sixt Tel.: + 0180 - 526 25 25
Fax: + 069 - 690 563 81
Hertz Tel.: + 069 - 695 932 44
Europcar Tel.: + 069 - 697 970
Fax: + 069 - 697 971 10

   
Which car rentals exist at Stuttgart airport?

Car rentals at Stuttgart airport

Avis Tel.: + 0711- 948 44 51
Sixt Tel.: + 0711- 948 45 04
Fax: + 0711- 948 23 05
Hertz Tel.: + 0711- 948 43 39
Fax: + 0711- 797 93 58
Europcar Tel.: + 0711- 949 90 10
Fax: + 0711- 949 90 166

   
Where can I customize my own free guide for Germany?

Miniguide for your German vacation

Customize your own miniguide for a vacation in Germany by going to

www.fodors.com

The tips include sighseeing, dining and lodging. Recommended.

   
Who should I ask for directions?

Asking the way

Always carry a map & a pencil. Although some Germans might be good about directions, most aren't, or you might not understand them well enough. Have them outline the route on the map. It is advisable to ask policemen, as those are usually friendly to foreigners. Do not ask the busdriver. His job is to drive, not to give directions (in some busses you find signs 'do not speak to the driver'). If you get totally lost go to a subway stop. There is usually a city map on or near the platform.

   
Why should I order food to go?

Food to go

When eating at a restaurant inquire if the same food costs more to "eat in" than to "take away." Save several dollars per meal by ordering food to go. Sit outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of the foreign culture you have come to visit. It is also a good idea to go to a farmers` market, where a variety of typical German food will be sold at little cost.

   
Where can I find information about the Black Forest?

Free brochure about the Black Forest

Order a free brochure about the Black Forest by going to this great site:

http://www.schwarzwald-tourist-info.de/

They have them in several languages.

   
Is airconditioning common in Germany?

Airconditioning

Airconditioning is not common in Germany, as it rarely gets really hot (over 90, that is). If it does all the same buy a small ventilator. Or ask at the hotel reception desk for one.

   
Which car rentals exist at Munich airport?

Car rentals at Munich Airport

Avis Tel.: + 089 - 975 97 600
Sixt Tel.: + 01805 -26 25 25
Fax: + 089 - 975 96658
Hertz Tel.: + 089 - 978 860
Fax: + 089 - 978 86 11
Europcar Tel.: + 089 - 973 50 20
Fax: + 089 - 973 50 266

   
Is it advisable to take my car into town?

Parking fines

Most German city centers suffer from a severe lack of parking space. Do NOT park your car in a no parking zone. Even if you only go around the corner for 5 minutes you may find a hefty ticket upon your return. The German police employs a special unit (mostly females) to find and fine parking offenders. In extreme cases, your car may get towed.

   
What are the cheapest methods of traveling?

Last minute trips

Go to a German travel agent and inquire if there are any 'last minute' trips available. You will get great bargains. Of course, this only makes sense if you are staying in Germany for a longer period of time, and you should not be too picky about the details of your destination, accommodation etc.

   
Whom can I call if I need infomation on German trains schedules?

Deutsche Bahn Service

Need a train schedule? Information on routes, discounts and tickets? Call the Deutsche Bahn service number: + (49) 01805 99 66 33.

   
What´s the weather trend for Germany?

Weather trends in Germany

What's the latest weather trend in Germany? Go here to find out:

http://www.procumulus.de/html/news.html

   
How can I keep my travel cosmetics down to the basics?

German hairspray

Depending on your needs, here are two brands I can safely recommend: "3-Wetter-Taft Haarlack" for maximum hold, and "Wella Flex" for maximum shine. Both are also available in travel-size bottles. Both are medium-priced, but give better results than other brands. Where to buy: Drospa, KD Drogeriemarkt, any bigger department store, such as "Hertie", "Karstadt" or "Wertheim".

   
What is the Deutsche Bundesbahn?

Deutsche Bundesbahn

The Deutsche Bundesbahn provides train service between cities and regions that do not have their own public transport companies. Train riding in Germany is fun, but it can get expensive. Try to get special discounts whenever possible. Inquire beforehand at the train station. Sometimes the same route can be booked on a slightly slower train, which saves you money, too.

   
Where can I book trips online?

Urlaubstraum Travel Agent

This online travel agent has good deals:

www.urlaubstraum.de

   
Where can I smoke in public?

German Airports & Smoking

Americans will either be pleasantly surprised or utterly annoyed to find that smoking is allowed in most German airports. However, it is not allowed on the public transport system, there are heavy fines, which frequently get inforced, so be careful.

   
Where can I find information about German railways?

German Railway Page

This page gives you information about German railways:

http://www.321website.com/members/home/data/nuessi/bahn.htm

   
What are the cheapest methods of traveling?

Rent a bicycle

If you are staying at one location for longer, try renting a bicycle. There are lots of bicycle paths in German cities, and there is not better way to explore the countryside. Check local newspapers and phone directories for bike rentals. Sometimes they are located next to the train station.

   
Why should I take an extra sweater?

Extra sweater

No matter how light you are traveling, take an extra sweater, possibly a cardigan or something else with buttons or a sweater. Put it into your hand luggage. German summers can be cool and rainy. Having something handy once you step out of the airport might prevent you from catching a cold.

   
Where can I get free catalogs for 2001?

Ski & Surf Company Catalog

Get a free Ski & Surf Company catalog for the summer of 2001:

http://www.urlaubskataloge.de/htm2/show.php3?id=138&key=Ski & Surf Company

   
What kind of traffic will I encounter on my roadtrip?

WDR Travel Service

Do you plan a roadtrip somewhere in Germany and want to check out traffic beforehand? The WDR Travel Service can be reached at (0180) 52 807. The WDR is a TV and radio station (Westdeutscher Rundfunk).

   
Which car rentals exist at Bremen airport?

Car rentals at Bremen Airport

Car rentals at Bremen Airport:
Sixt phone: (0421) 55 20 81
Hertz phone: (0421) 55 53 50

   
Where can I get info on the weather?

Weather forecast on tv

If you have access to a tv set, check out local weather conditions right after the daily news (examples: Heute, Tagesthemen). There is no weather channel in Germany.

   
Where can I meet people from Dresden online?

Dresden Singles

Single in Dresden? Dresden Singles offers a free chat and free ads.

http://www.dresden-singles.de

   
What type of cell phone do I need?

Cell phones

If you plan to phone home frequently from overseas, you can save a lot of money by renting a cell phone which is valid in Germany prior to your trip. Of course, this phone can also be used for calls made within Germany. You will save time and avoid the hassle of finding a phone booth, or buying German phone cards. Log on to www.planetphone.com for more
details.

   
Where can I get free travel catalogs?

Free DJH catalog

Go to the DJH Service GmbH page (German Youth Hostels Association) and get a free catalog about their tours in 2001:

http://www.urlaubskataloge.de/htm2/show.php3?id=139&key=DJH

   
Where do I find information about Dortmund airport?

Plane schedules for Dortmund

Get information about flights scheduled to and from Dortmund online:

http://www.flughafen-dortmund.de

   
Which car rentals exist at Hannover airport?

Car rentals at Hannover Airport

Avis Tel.: + 0511- 77 20 81
Sixt Tel.: + 0511- 77 19 211
Fax: + 0511- 77 19 240
Hertz Tel.: + 0511- 77 90 41
Fax: + 0511- 77 93 39

   
Where can I find information on skiing in Germany?

Gilch's Ski Page

Are you a skiing fan? Interested in a particular slope? Go to Lorenz A. Gilch's ski page. You will find information on the Arber, the Jenner, the Nebelhorn and the Fellhorn. In German.

http://www.fmi.uni-passau.de/~gilch/ski/bayern.html

   
What´s the weather like?

Take an umbrella

Germany is large enough for very different weather conditions. As a rule, however, expect rain, especially up north. Buy a small foldable umbrella and carry it with you at all times.

   
Where can I find information on winter sports in Bavaria?

Winter sports in Bavaria

Bayernlive Radio Online currently has a great special on winter sports in Bavaria:

http://www.br-online.de/bayern/bayernlive/

   
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