Germany is one of Europe’s largest countries and one of the world’s leading economies.
It’s also home to beautiful castles, great nightlife, and Berlin, which is famed for its liberal and fascinating cultural scene, as well as many parks. These features and much more bring in up to 40 million tourists each year. For those keen to visit this European gem, what do you need to know before you go? It’s not enough to know where you want to visit and what food you want to try; you need to understand some of the cultural and country-specific quirks as well.
Be Prepared to Pay in Cash
Germany is a predominantly cash-based society. While you will find many larger places equipped with card payment machines, the preference is always for cash. Additionally, a lot of small shops and bars will not be equipped with card machines, and if they are, they only accept local cards. It’s advisable to take your card with you, withdraw what you need each day, and then pay in cash. For larger purchases or hiring a car, a card remains the general preference.
Also, you should find the nearest ATMs which have the lowest withdrawal costs and make yourself familiar with Euros, if you aren’t already.
Get to Grips with Some German
German is not the easiest language, and while people in many big cities will speak some English, it’s polite to make some effort. You can take a short course in the German language online with a tutor to get to grips with the basics. These classes can be tailored to your needs and can fit around your work and leisure activities. Be sure to read reviews of German tutors and even ask them a few questions before you commit!
It will be greatly appreciated if you can learn simple words and phrases, including greetings, questions, and courtesies. The more you learn before you go, the easier and more pleasant your trip will be.
Understand German Efficiency
One of the things that Germany is known for is its efficiency. In addition to this, you should always be punctual. In fact, an important part of German etiquette is being on time, and there is no such thing as being fashionably late. This applies to business meetings, hanging out with locals, and public transport, which runs like clockwork.
Additionally, Germans take rules and regulations seriously. If you’re coming from countries that have more relaxed attitudes to how society functions, be prepared to follow the lead of the people around you.
Recycle and Never Litter!
Along with efficiency, German people are known for keeping their homes and local area spotless. They are big on not littering, and doing so can result in being called out for fines and plenty of resentful looks. It would be best if you also aimed to recycle where possible. There are plenty of recycling facilities for you to make use of, even when staying in a hotel or apartment. Do as the Germans do and be careful with your waste, keep it as low as possible, and recycle at every opportunity.
Germany has something for everyone. Culture, history, art, great food, drink, beer and sausages, and stunning scenery. With these tips in mind, you cannot fail to have a wonderful visit!