If you are planning to travel to Germany to do business or for your vacation, then it’s important for you to know the do’s and don’ts in this country to avoid confusion, inconveniences, and faux pas. Here’s what you need to know before traveling to Germany.
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Related: 5 Reasons To Visit Germany
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1. Respect the rules and regulations
Germans always play by the set rules. When you join them in their territory, you should expect to do the same. You should follow the rules on the road. You should wait until the traffic light goes green for you to cross or drive. If you start moving before the lights go green, people will shake their heads to disapprove your actions.
You can find more detailed driving rules in the “Cultural Guide” section of your personal travel guidebook.
If you want to be respected in Germany, be disciplined and follow the rules.
Tip: If you’ll be riding a bicycle, ensure you have a front and back light for your safety. Ignoring traffic lights and being caught in the dark will result in heavy fines.
2. Pay and validate your tickets
Most visitors to Berlin are usually surprised by the fact that no one checks the tickets as people enter train stations. They start thinking that they can pass free of charge. As the popular saying goes, nothing comes for free in this world.
Ticket checkers are always around in plain clothes. If they happen to find you riding the subway without a ticket, you will be fined at least €60 – not to mention the embarrassment too. If you buy a ticket, don’t forget to validate it before boarding the train. The ticket checkers will show you no sympathy.
3. Know your transport zone
You need a ticket that has been zoned properly depending on where you are heading. In most instances, going away from the city will cross you into a different zone. It’s important to take your time and read the zonal maps if you are not sure about the zones.
For instance, traveling within the city and moving to and from Schonefeld Airport are different zones which are priced differently, therefore, have different tickets. If you are found by the ticket checkers, they won’t show you any sympathy even if you are a tourist. They won’t listen to your apologies.
4. Always be punctual
Another important thing to know before traveling to Germany is that being punctual for meetings and social appointments is a strict German etiquette. You cannot impress the Germans by being late even in a fashionable way. If you have a hard time being punctual, Germany will definitely be a lesson to remember on timekeeping when you go back home.
5. Recycle and save the planet
Recycling glass bottles and plastic is a big deal in Germany. In fact, you’ll be rewarded with a small deposit if you help in recycling recyclable bottles. Most supermarkets have recycling machines where you can drop off your bottles and collect your money.
Recycling plastic bottles can be as high as 25 cents. The payment rates for glass are a little bit cheaper. These small deposits can add up very quickly. Street people make a living by collecting bottles and dropping them off at specific destinations. If you don’t have time to recycle bottles, place them near the public bin. When you come back, you won’t find it.
6. Have cash with you
While Germany is among the most developed countries, many small business owners don’t have card machines. And even if they do, they’ll only accept German cards. Therefore, have everything organized early enough.
Knowing how to use the ATM machines and having enough money is crucial for your survival. You don’t want to waste your time looking for a place to withdraw or exchange your money because you’ll be charged expensively.
Unlike most places in the US and Europe, smoking in restaurants and bars is allowed. You should not be astonished to see the guy next to you lighting up his cigarette and polluting the entire the restaurant and the planet.
Although smoking laws have been passed recently, no one seems to care about them. A smoker will feel intruded if someone tells him to smoke in another place.
8. Frightening Sunday
Something else to know before traveling to Germany is that Germans don’t work on Sundays. You’ll be surprised by the number of shops, pharmacies and supermarkets closed on Sunday. To avoid inconveniences, buy everything you need before Sunday. The only places that are opened on Sunday are restaurants and a handful of cafes.
Berlin is a multicultural city. You’ll be amazed to hear Arabic, Spanish and English. To avoid getting lost, make use of smartphone apps and books to understand common phrases because road signs and business names will be written in German.
What German phrases should I know?
Your Guidester comes with a short cultural guide for each country you’re visiting that includes a list of popular phrases and how to say them.
Germany is a wonderful country that you should definitely explore, but there are important things to know before traveling to Germany. Before traveling, go through the facts discussed above to avoid any inconveniences. As the popular saying goes, knowledge is power.
Author Bio: Lauren Adley is a writer and editor at EssaysOnTime.com and best essay writing service uk. She is dedicated to her family, work and friends. She is keen on reading, playing the guitar and traveling. She is interested in educational, marketing and blogging issues. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter.