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Chigiri Nov 26th, 2015 08:02 PM

What to take to Germany
Hi, my name is Chigiri. I'm a university student in Japan.
It is my first time to post a topic so I might make a mistake. I want to go to Germany next year but I have never been abroad. I checked some books and Internet sites to know what to need. However, they have a lot of information but I'm still not sure what I need to take. My plan is to go to Munich in August. I'll stay a week. Also because I'm a single young woman by myself should I becareful anything.
Thank you for your help.

pariswat Nov 26th, 2015 09:15 PM


What do you mean by what to 'take' or to 'need' ?
Clothes, papers, cameras ?

As for safety, Germany in general is very safe and Munich is absolutely no problem - I was here last week, saw no problem anywhere, walked around my hotel (from trainstation to center) at around midnight.


Ackislander Nov 27th, 2015 01:05 AM

You will may need a visa depending on your nationality.

You will need a return ticket to your home.

You will need to show that you have sufficient resources to pay your expenses while in the country.

As a young person, you may be asked to "give a good account of yourself." Immigration may ask the purpose of your visit and where you are staying, particularly the first night. They may want to know why you are arriving through Munich rather than Frankfurt.

If you have a bank automated teller card, you can obtain cash at the airport machines and in cities, so you do not need to bring large amounts of cash.

Enjoy yourself!

bilboburgler Nov 27th, 2015 02:20 AM

1) Munich in August is a lovely time, warm, long days, so cool clothes, sunglasses, hat.
2) You will find bicycles riding on pavements, everywhere. You need to get used to it, there are defined areas but since so much will be new to you this will be a surprise. Watch out, they don't stop :-)
3) Do you have specific dietry needs? If Vegetarian, no problem you will need to check menus outside restaurants (no pictures I'm afraid) but normally a "V" on the menu. There is a lot of meat especially pig.
4) Safety, it is a medium sized city, so sensible precautions of course but no you should be fine.
5) Cars drive on the wrong side of the road
6) In Germany, in the city, you will find traffic signs control pedestrian traffic as well as cars. Jay walking not allowed.

traveller1959 Nov 27th, 2015 03:40 AM

I am German and I had been teaching at Kanagawa University. So I know both cultures.

First of all, München is an international city. You will not stand out. In fact, you will see a lot of other Japanese people on the streets - students, tourists, business people.

Second, no need to be careful. Germany is a very safe country and a single girl can walk through the city safely.

Thirdly, dress as you dress at home. August will be warm, maybe even hot. But be prepared for a rainy day, too. A very light collapsable umbrella might be good idea. Do not forget comfortable shoes - you will be walking a lot.

Manners are more relaxed in Germany than in Japan. Just behave naturally, maybe a bit bolder than at home. If you are lost, feel free to ask anybody. Many people will speak English.

Take lactase pills, because many German dishes contain milk. You may buy lactase pills in every German pharmacy or drugstore and in many grocery stores.

Once in München, you will need a city map and a map of public transport. When arriving at the airport, you will use the S-Bahn to get into town, so make yourself familiar with the system before leaving home.

Any other question? Feel free to ask.

nytraveler Nov 27th, 2015 04:03 AM

Get a good guidebook so that you can decide in advance what you want to see/do and can determine days and hours those places are open. We like the Michelin green guide which provides detailed background information, rates sights by numbers of stars and tells you how long a visit will take.

You will probably want to visit south Bavaria to see at least one of Mad Ludwig's castles (a king of Bavaria in the 1860s). Many people go to Neuschwantstein (which looks like the Disney castle) but we prefer Linderhof of even Herrenchiemsee (which is on an island in lake). You can visit any via a bus tour or take a train and visit on your own. Be sure to find out when the english language tours are given - unless you don't mind one in German (not great unless you know at least some German, not so bad for us since English is a german language and you can figure our a lot of what the guide says even without knowing german.

Be sure to visit the Nymphenburg Palace in the outskirts of Munich, which has gorgeous gardens and fountains.

And yes, most Germans you will meet will speak/understand at least basic English - students are required to study it in school.

Dukey1 Nov 27th, 2015 04:06 AM

"You will need to show that you have sufficient resources to pay your expenses while in the country."

OK, perhaps I am making a big deal out of something for nothing but I do not understand this statement.

I have yet to be asked to show that I have ANY financial resources whatsoever when I have entered Germany and a lot of other countries.

I have also never ever been asked to show I had a ticket to get out of the place, either.

What AM I missing here?

traveller1959 Nov 27th, 2015 04:19 AM

Ackislander's post is for people travelling to the USA, not to Germany. So, just ignore it.

In Germany, there is nothing like "immigration". At the passport checkpoint in a German airport, a Japanese student will have to show her passport, will be asked nothing, will have to show nothing and will be through in ten seconds.

I forgot that cash is important in Germany. You can get Euros directly at the airport. You should have a bank card that works with ATMs in Germany (PIN required).

Odin Nov 27th, 2015 04:39 AM

I don't agree that because English is a Germanic language that English speakers can figure out words and meanings easily from a German guidebook. I certainly can't. I also don't find that most Germans speak English either. So I am obviously missing something too.

pariswat Nov 27th, 2015 04:51 AM

Only country I have ever been asked to show 'resources' was USA.
I showed my amexcard
Got the answer 'no plastic' which I didn't understand.
Showed 100 used and was allowed in.
The most disagreeable person in uniform I ever met actually.

Dukey1 Nov 27th, 2015 05:15 AM

I can absolutely agree that some of the US Immigration people can be unpleasant, and worse.

As to Germans speaking English and understanding German posted words, etc., in our experience a lot has depended upon where in Germany one is talking about.

In Munich and Berlin as well as various other urban areas or areas which receive a lot of foreign visitors we have found more than a few folks who both speak and understand English.

sla019 Nov 27th, 2015 05:49 AM

"As a young person, you may be asked to "give a good account of yourself." Immigration may ask the purpose of your visit and where you are staying, particularly the first night. They may want to know why you are arriving through Munich rather than Frankfurt."

The first thing is true, the others quite unlikly.

@Chigirl, don't worry, just queue up at the "all passports" - line (not the "Schengen line") at immigration. In all probability, your passport will be scanned and nothing more will happen. After picking up your luggage simply take the "green exit" (nothing to declare) through customs. Go to the central area (marked by a "Z") and buy a S-Bahn ticket at a vending machine (the trick is to go to the machines at the opposite site, where nobody is queuing up because nobody arriving from abroad knows about them). Take the escalator downstairs to the train station. If your destination is in the city center, wait for the S8 train (the S1 being a bit slower). After 45 minutes you will arrive at Marienplatz in the heart of the city. If you are not staying with friends, booking accomodation ahead is essential, at least if you travel on a budget. Moreover, staying in an hostel, say of the A&O type (there is one at the main station, another near S-Bahn station »Hackerbrücke«), will bring you in contact with people from your area who can share useful information with you. Enjoy your trip!

FuryFluffy Nov 27th, 2015 05:49 AM

Hi Chigiri,
I'm also an Asian single young woman travelling to Munich by myself, so I get what you feel. In my experience, I didn't need any specific things other than my cash and credit card. Make sure your credit card is usable in Europe. Cash can be gotten from ATM machines in Munich, but I still recommend you to have some Euro notes in your purse before you depart to Germany: it's your first trip abroad so a little bit of ready-cash is better.

Some other things that you might need, IMO:

- Your medical pills: not all of them, but the essential of them. Communications in foreign pharmacies to get the exact pills you need might be messy. Also, bring along some digestive pills: German meals are very different from Japanese meals; for me I find that Japanese ones are much lighter.

- Some electronic devise to communicate if you encounter any problems: at least a cellphone which works in Europe, which can call back to Japan. If your cellphone has an English or German dictionary inside, all the better. (I have survived without any dictionary, but just in case you want to be extra careful ^_^ )

- Some light footwear at home: I know this item will not likely appear in any travel list, but as an Asian, I find it important (more than my clothes). The hotels and guesthouses' floors are not very clean (worldwide), so whenever I forgot my own footwear I'd feel very dirty :D

-Some light umbrella, for the rain, and some light scarf, for the wind

- Camera! It's your first trip abroad, you should take pictures. But you've already known this ;)

FuryFluffy Nov 27th, 2015 06:04 AM

Adding to my post above, something I have forgotten:

- Japan electronic plugs might be different from German ones, so take a look at it and, if necessary, bring along the suitable ones. This item is among the top forgotten for travellers.

- The immigration procedure at the airport should be no problem for you. Just have the address of your hotel at hand in case the officer ask you about it.

- Some small Japanese souvenirs, so that you can give away if you make new friends in Munich. You'll never know. Authentic Japanese souvenirs are hard to come by here, so you're all welcome :)

bvlenci Nov 27th, 2015 08:23 AM

I've been asked various things when passing through immigration in Germany, more than in any other European country I've entered. I often passed through Munich when returning to Italy from the US.

Since young people (which I'm not) are more likely to overstay tourist visas, they're often subjected to greater scrutiny.

nytraveler Nov 27th, 2015 08:56 AM

Dukey -

What you are missing is that you are not a late teen or early 20 something young person many of whom are suspected by Immigration of either trying to become an illegal immigrant or of significantly overstaying their visa just so they can travel all over europe and work there to pay their expenses.

I have never been asked these questions either, but when my 19 year old DD and 2 friends went to europe 2 summers ago they were asked quite a few questions and had to show their return tickets and prove they were going back to college in the fall.

Ackislander Nov 27th, 2015 10:55 AM

Ah, yes, I took a nap and many of you answered Dukey (et al)'s question, and you answered it well.

Young people, people of color and certain others are subject to border scrutiny that older travelers never get, except perhaps on occasion in the UK.

The OP may not have it at all, but she should be aware and prepared if she does.

Adelaidean Nov 27th, 2015 11:51 AM

On arrival in Frankfurt (a middle aged woman from Australia, travelling with husband and 2 teens) I was asked where we were heading next, how long was our trip, where were we departing from.

bilboburgler Nov 28th, 2015 04:15 AM

Akislander, I can promise you that both the US and Canadian staff can be pretty hard on a middle aged+ white man in a suit and without a beard.

Ackislander Nov 28th, 2015 01:13 PM

Yes, the Canadians can be terrible, especially for people who genuinely think of themselves as warm and fuzzy. They are particularly hard on people who might be working there.

Adelaidedean, we get asked those questions and more every time we enter the UK, though never so far in France or Italy. I think it is because we are usually visiting family or friends and thus harder to keep up with than people in hotels.

Border Control already know all about us because they have been searching the passenger manifest while we are flying. I assume they are just checking to see that our answers are not inconsistent with what they already have in their database, and of course anyone who has been to the UK before has been photographed and is compared to their previous photos.

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