Passports and Visas
All passengers require a machine-readable passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip, with appropriate visas. You should carry your passport with you at all times to ensure against its loss or theft in hotels. Check with the German Consulate to determine if any visas are needed. Securing required documents is the responsibility of the traveler. This information is a guide only and it is essential that you check all current passport and visa rules with your travel agent before departure.
Germany uses the euro. There are eight coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and 1 and 2 euros. Notes are issued in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros. You can change US dollars at banks and currency exchange agencies for the best rates, hotels and some shops can also change them for you, but the rate will likely be much higher. ATMs are also an efficient way to get money in the local currency.
Germany has 230 V at 50 Hz, with a type C and F socket. America's electrical currents are 120 V at 60 Hz, with a type A or B socket, so you'll need a converter and an adapter.
Wireless and wired Internet access is widely available in major cities throughout Germany. Many of the hotels we use offer this service free or at a small charge. There are also Internet cafés in main cities that allow you access, usually for a small charge.
Phoning home from another country can be expensive. All hotels will add a service charge to the cost of any phone calls you make from your room. This charge can be very high. It is always cheaper for you to use public telephones (payphones) if your cell phone is not set for international calls. Your Travel Director can explain how to dial internationally if you are unsure.
In general, most large shops will be open from 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Sunday hours vary greatly throughout the country, if stores are open at all. What to look for? Hummels, porcelain, crystal, silver, Meissen china, binoculars, cameras, knives, leather goods, toys, Cuckoo clocks, Christmas decorations, Black Forest Cake, wine and beer.
We suggest the following tipping rates: Taxis 10-15% of the fare on the meter, Restaurants and bars 10-15% of the total bill. If a service charge has already been added there is no need to tip as much or at all.
Within cities, look for cream-colored Mercedes with yellow-and-black signs - the typical taxi, rent a bicycle, or hop on a bus, underground, tram or train. If you're going a great distance or between towns, you can rent a car or it may be more efficient to go by motorcoach or Deutsche Bahn train.
Generally, casual jeans or slacks, shirts, sweaters, a jacket and comfortable walking shoes are all you'll need. If you plan on an evening at a nicer venue, dressier clothes may be called for. If you are traveling in the spring or autumn, you might want to bring a warmer jacket or coat in case the weather is cold.