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Germany Travel Tips for Your First Germany Trip

In 2002 I left the U.S. for the first time in my life in route to Germany. I had just finished basic training with the Army and Germany was my first duty station. In this article I provide information that I wish I had known upon my arrival into Germany.

The first thing I noticed was that although the buildings were a little different, the scenery was very similar to what I was used to seeing in Indiana, where I grew up.

Almost everything is smaller in Germany though. The roads, buildings, homes and shops are all smaller than what we’re used to here in the States. The person to area ratio is much higher in Germany so you don’t see many large parking lots, big homes or wide roads.

As a matter of fact, most Germans do not even own a home, they rent! If you’re visiting Germany for the first time I highly recommend you use public transportation, as you can get anywhere in the Country by bus and train and it’s cheap and quick. That way you don’t have to deal with the small roads, parking and differences in driving laws.

Germans are much less personable. Unlike many Americans it is not common for a German to comment on how cute your child is or make small talk while waiting in line. Many people who are not familiar with the German culture may see this as rudeness, but it’s just part of the culture and what they’re used to.

If you visit a public restroom, be prepared to drop 10 Euro cents or so in a donation tray. Very few public restrooms are free. There will be someone actually sitting near the entrance with a tray and they do expect some change.

Tap water is not a normal drink in Germany. Most Germans drink carbonated water and that is what you will get in a restaurant unless you specifically ask for tap water. Also, condiments like ketchup packets are not free in German restaurants.

Those are a few of the things I remember from my five years in Germany. I hope they help you on your journey and I wish you a safe and fun trip.