Every time you plan a trip, it is always recommended to learn a thing or two about the local customs of the place. if you have been dreaming to visit Germany anytime soon, there are a few important things you should know to ensure that your travel experience will be a fun and stress-free one.
Respect the Local Rules All the Time
Just so you know, Germans love playing by the rules and if you are on their turf, they expect you to do so as well. For starters, make sure you don’t cross the road if the traffic light hasn’t turned green yet.
Jaywalking makes Germans shake their head in disapproval so be disciplined enough to respect their code of conduct. Also, if you want to ride a bicycle as recommended in the country, you need to have a front and back light for safety purposes. Beating the red lights or being caught in the dark can lead to expensive fines.
Be Familiar with Your Transport Zone
It is important to have the correct zoned ticket that depends on where you travel around the city. In general, you will cross to another zone if you got farther away from the main city center.
Always check the station’s zonal maps if you are unsure. For instance, going to and from Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport is a completely different zone from just travelling inside the city and thus, a different ticket with a different price is required. Don’t expect ticket checkers to show sympathy if you are not aware of this.
Pay for Your Train Tickets and Validate Them
Many people who visit Germany are often surprised and even giddy when they don’t see any security gate or personnel that check tickets when entering the train stations. However, don’t assume that this gives you a free pass to get an underground ride because ticket checkers in their plain clothes also ride the subway and might approach you any time that will cost you not only embarrassment but also a fine at the same time.
There are also plenty of stories about people who were diligent enough to buy their train tickets but forgot validating them. Never jump on the train if your ticket is not validated yet. Again, the ticket checkers won’t sympathize with you and you will be fined as well.
Being on time for both business and social appointments is part of German etiquette. They don’t believe in being fashionably late. When you visit Germany, you will learn how important time is, something that you can keep with you once you return to your own country.
Cash is Always King
Most small business vendors, restaurants, and bars in Germany don’t have card machines and those that have are only accepting German cards. Make sure you always have cash handy or familiarize yourself with the ATMs in the area charging the smallest interest for every withdrawal. Remember to always have money with you no matter where you go to avoid any hassle.
Germany practices recycling of glass and plastic bottles and every time you do, you will receive a small amount of refund for the deposit that you originally paid for that bottle. You should check the label on the bottle to see if it is recyclable. This is usually indicated by an arrow. All the major supermarkets in the country have recycling machines wherein bottles can be dropped off to get some pocket money. Plastic bottles can give you a refund of as much as 25 cents but glass has a smaller refund.
But, you will be surprised how these small amounts can add up fast. In fact, some people who live near the streets earn their livelihood this way. If you don’t want to recycle, don’t throw the bottles in the public dustbin. Put them next to or on top of the bin. Someone will come and get them in just a few minutes that will be more than happy to claim their worth.
Smoking is Allowed
Unlike many European countries and other countries around the world, Germany generally allows smoking in restaurants and bars. So, don’t be surprised if the man beside you lights up one and pollutes what you assume to be clean air.
There are new non-smoking laws passed several years ago even though most people disregard them and smokers might consider it intrusive if you tell them to stop.
What’s It is Like to Eat Out
It doesn’t matter where you might find yourself in the country because there will surely be a street where you can grab something to eat. Take note that dining areas in smaller towns might only offer meat and sausage on their menu while larger cities such as Berlin thrive on vegan and vegetarian culture.
If you want to eat on a budget, try looking for an “Imbiss.” You can find these cheap snack shops on almost all busy streets, markets, train stations, and parking lots.
Get a Taste of German Beer
As a beer-loving country, it is totally cool in Germany to enjoy your beer even in public. In fact, it is completely normal to gulp down one during your office break. With all the different brews available, it might take some time before you identify the best one that suits your palate.
Good beer is available in Bavaria as you can also find it in Löwerbrä and Paulaner that are both internationally acclaimed contenders. Berlin is the heart of the revolution of craft beer while smaller breweries up north in Bamberg, Erfurt, Görlitz, and Alpirsbach create gold in glasses.
Stock Up Before Sundays
In all places in Germany, pharmacies, supermarkets, and shops are closed on Sundays. See to it that you already got everything you will need before this day arrives. However, restaurants and cafes are usually open the whole weekend.
These are just some of the many things you have to know before you visit Germany to guarantee a one of a kind lifetime experience.
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