Germany Travel Tips. Just for you.
You’ve put so much thought, energy and time into picking your destination and finalizing your itinerary. Just as important as the big picture, the small details can make or break a trip. Select your destination and discover great tips, tricks, and hacks for making travel smooth and hassle-free.
Everything You Need to Know Before You GO!
VISA AND PASSPORTS
- Please check the expiry date on your passport: Travel outside of the United States requires a passport that is valid for at least the next six months.
- US citizens do not need a visa to enter Europe. If you are not a US citizen, please check with your diplomatic or consulate office about whether you require a visa for your trip destinations.
The US State Department provides Country Specific Information sheets for every country in the world as well as Travel Alerts and Warnings. For this information, call 888 407 4747 or 202 501 4444 or see www.travel.state.gov.
- Plan to visit your doctor or local travel clinic at least 4-6 weeks before departure to allow time for any vaccinations to take effect or to fill any prescriptions.
- We strongly suggest purchasing appropriate trip insurance covering medical, baggage, and trip cancellation as needed.
- Before traveling to Europe or any other destination, we recommend consulting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for up-to-date information on required and recommended vaccines and medications. Visit cdc.gov/travel or call 800 232 4636 for more information.
- For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO), which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
- If you received any vaccinations in preparation for your journey, pack your vaccination certificates in your personal carry-on baggage in case you are asked to show them on arrival.
- Make sure that any medications you require, as well as copies of your prescriptions, are packed in your carry-on luggage and not in your checked baggage.
- Special meals and allergies: If you require special meals for health or dietary reasons, please let your Da’at tour operator know at least 60 days prior to your departure.
We strongly recommend that you purchase your own travel insurance. Please discuss land, air. and health insurance options with your insurance provider or contact Travel Insured at 1-800-344-6226, ext. 257. Some insurance programs provide more comprehensive coverage when the policy is purchased in close proximity to the initial trip deposit. We therefore recommend that you secure insurance within 14 days of your initial deposit payment date.
CURRENCY AND BANK INFORMATION
- The Euro has been Germany’s official currency since 2002. Euros come in seven notes (5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros) and eight coins (1- and 2-euro coins and 1-, 2-, 5-, 10-, 20- and 50-cent coins
- Click here to obtain the most current exchange rates.
- ATMs are usually the easiest and quickest way to obtain cash. You can make a withdrawal from your home bank account via an ATM. These are found everywhere in the city and most are linked to international networks such as Cirrus, Plus, Star, and Maestro.
- Many ATMs allow the use of a credit card. This method, however, tends to be costlier because, in addition to a service fee, the interest is charged immediately. For exact fees, check with your bank or credit card company.
- We recommend that you contact your bank in advance of departing on your journey to determine whether you will be able to use your ATM and credit cards while traveling. When contacting your bank, notify them of your travel dates so that they will anticipate charges being made outside of your hometown and do not suspend your cards for what may appear to them to be “suspicious” charges. We also recommend that you make a photocopy of the front and back sides of your ATM and credit cards to leave behind with someone at home who will assist you in the event your cards are misplaced, lost, or stolen.
- For more information about money in Germany, click here.
- In Germany the power plugs and sockets are of type F. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
- For more information about this, visit worldstandards.eu.
- Electric shavers, traveling irons, phone rechargers, and other small appliances may require adaptors and/or converters, which you can purchase prior to your departure or at the airport.
Central European Time is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, US. To determine current time in major cities around the world, visit timeanddate.com.
- Use your existing plan – contact your local carrier to find out plans and prices for data roaming.
- Rent a device – Rent a phone, download your information, and use the borrowed device as if it were your own.
- Get a local SIM card – Make sure your phone is “unlocked” before purchasing a local SIM card in your destination and using your phone on the local network.
- Wi-Fi only – Turn off your cellular data, switch your phone to airplane mode, and enable a Wi-Fi connection to access Internet hotspots in your destination.
A call to the United States or Canada would begin 00-1, followed by the US or Canadian area code and number.
Here’s a recommended restaurant list to help you decide which of Berlin’s many restaurants might suit you best. These are all popular places so we suggest that you plan ahead and make reservations in advance.
FACILITIES FOR THE DISABLED
- Travel through Europe for people with special needs is doable/manageable but with few limitations.
- Airports and many tourist sites are wheelchair-friendly and most hotels have special rooms designed for disabled travelers.
- When making independent dinner plans, check with your hotel as to which recommended restaurants can best accommodate your needs.
- Many of the streets in the old cities and towns of Eastern Europe are still paved with cobblestones making free exploration very limited, and possibly almost impassable, for wheelchairs. Many places and sites have stairs only and don’t offer wheelchair access.
- The decision to participate in one of these tours is at the sole discretion of each participant.
- Should you require handicapped facilities, please contact our office.
The official language of Germany is Standard German, with over 95 percent of the country speaking Standard German or German dialects as their first language. Most Germans speak reasonable English. Still, it is always worthwhile to speak a little of the local lingo so we recommend you click here for some useful German words and phrases.
- Berlin’s climate is moderately continental, with cold winters, in which the average temperatures are around freezing (0 °C or 32 °F), and moderately warm summers, in which daytime temperatures hover around 24 °C (75 °F). Rainfall can occur throughout the year and snowfall occurs mainly from December through March.
- Use a website such as weather.com to find average temperatures and rainfall during your travel times.
- May, June, July have the most rain.
- March, April, October are the driest months.
- June, July, August are the hottest months.
- Dec., Jan., Feb. are the coldest months.
WHAT TO PACK
Click here for our suggested packing checklist.
Confirm baggage limitations with your international carrier before packing. Remember that airlines can change their baggage restrictions at any time.
FLIGHTS & AIRPORTS
- Be sure to reconfirm your international flights with your airline 24 hours prior to your departure.
- Passengers must check in for international flights from the US/Canada at least three hours prior to departure time.
Security checks are carried out routinely for your protection and safety. Expect to be asked about the contents of your luggage, who packed it, whether anyone asked you to transport items for them, and whether your luggage remained with you before you arrived at the airport. Do not take any mail, packages, or unknown items from anyone either before or after arriving at the airport.
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE TRANSFERS
- If your package includes arrival and departure transfers, this will be detailed in your travel documents which will be e-mailed to you up to one week prior to your trip.
- If you deviate from the arrival and/or departure dates and time as specified in your travel documents, you will need to arrange your own transfers. Alternatively, you may request a transfer service up to three working days prior to your arrival and the cost of the transfer service will be added to your invoice.
- When requesting a transfer service, please provide us with your flight information. Your arrival transfer is guaranteed for up to one hour from your scheduled arrival time in order to compensate for minor delays.
- Da’at or the transfer company will not be responsible for delays, for any reason, beyond one hour from your originally scheduled arrival time. In case of a delay, it will be your responsibility to contact Da’at directly and/or to make other transfer arrangements, such as by taxi.
- Transfer costs are not refundable and any additional expenses will be your responsibility.
- Berlin has a very well-organized public transport system: the BVG which is composed of buses, trams, the U-Bahn (subway), the S-Bahn (light rail), Regional Bahn (RB), and Regional Express (RE) trains, and ferries. Subways and a number of trams run 24 hrs from Friday till Sunday night.
- For more information: https://www.bvg.de/en or call (only local call): 11 861 or 0800-150 7090.
- Taxi: When you’re out and about, you can wave down any free taxi passing; or check: http://taxiverband-berlin.de/.
CHECKING IN AT YOUR HOTEL
If you arrive at your hotel before the customary 3:00 p.m. check-in time, your room may not be available. Store your luggage with the concierge and take the time to walk around and get a feel for your new city.
PROTECTING VALUABLE ITEMS
- Hotel safes are usually provided and can be used to protect valuables such as passports, medications, jewelry, money, and electronics. If you must carry valuables, keep them on your person at all times, be mindful of your surroundings, and take extra caution in crowds.
- We recommend photocopying the personal information pages of your passport and leaving one copy with a family member or friend and packing another in a place separate from the passport itself. You can also scan your passport and email a copy to yourself for easy online access. This will help you to secure a replacement quickly should the need arise.
Where and whether to shop while traveling with Da’at is a personal choice and shopping is never compulsory. If at any point during your journey you feel pressured to shop or make purchases, please immediately discuss the matter with your tour educator.
We recommend the following for tipping (amounts in US dollars):
- Groups of 20 participants or more:
Da’at Tour educator/escort $8, local guide $5, and driver $3 per participant per day.
- Recommended restaurant tipping when lunch or dinner is “not included in package.”
Service and VAT are included in the menu price in restaurants all over Germany. Still, it is typical to “round up” the amount to a round figure. A rule of thumb is to add 5-10%. The practice in Berlin, as in all of Germany, is to tip your server immediately when settling the bill, and not to leave cash on the table as you leave.
Included in your package.