Germany


Germany / Practical guidelines


General Information

The Capital

Emergency

Climate

Germany has a continental climate. The weather can be cool and damp in the spring and fall.

Time Zone

Germany is located in the Central European Time Zone. European Summer Time is used between the end of March and the end of October, meaning clocks are moved forward an hour during that period.

Time differences:
UK: - 1 hour
Canada/USA
East coast: - 6 hours
West coast: - 9 hours.

Electricity and Water

Outlets in Germany are 230 volt. Most appliances will require adapters, which can be purchased at airports and locally.

Weights and Measures

Long distances are measured in kilometers in Germany. A kilometer equals about 2/3 mile.

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Shorter distances are measured in meters. A meter is 3.28 feet (1.09 yards).

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Weights are measured in kilos. One kilo equals 2.20 pounds.

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Public Transport

You can book all train tickets in Germany on the website of Deutsche Bahn (www.bahn.de). There are several special fares available to safe on your trip. Most commonly used is the Sparpreis (saver fare). On this fare you can only use the specific train you have booked. The normal fare allows you to use any trains of the connection that you have booked (more detailed information on the website). If you have several (especially longer) train journeys in your itinerary you might want to look into the train passes (only available for non-Europeans). These offer more flexibility since you can use all trains on your selected travel dates.
Umfulana cannot book these trains or passes for you since we do not have a cooperation with Deutsche Bahn. 
While you are travelling the app of Deutsche Bahn is very helpful with connections, platform numbers and delays. You can change the language in the settings to English.
The app (DB Navigator) can also be used on local transport in larger cities to help you find the best underground or tram connections.

Postal Service

Stamps can be purchased in all post offices and many Kiosks.

Phone Calls

Country codes for calls placed from Germany:
UK: 00 44 + phone number 
USA/Canada: 00 1 + phone number

Country codes for placing calls to Germany:
UK: 00 49 + phone number 
USA/Canada: 011 49 + phone number

To be paid locally

Fuel costs, costs for fuel service (if applicable), costs for rental cars (see rental car conditions, e.g. one-way rental, permits, child seats, snow chains etc.), tolls, food, costs for excursions booked locally by yourself, private expenses (e.g. costs for souvenirs, medication, etc.), tips, entrance fees (if applicable), transport costs (e.g. taxi, bus, train, ferry), tourism levy (if applicable), parking fees (if applicable).

Arrival and Departure

Getting There

Travel Documents and Formalities

Driving

(International) Driving License

An international driving license is required.

Road Code

Front and rear seat belts are obligatory in Germany. It is illegal to talk on a hand-held mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle in Germany.

Motorways (Autobahn) will be labeled with an A: i.e. A3 and the signs are blue.
Highways (Bundesstrasse/Landstrasse) will be labeled with a B: i.e. B327 and signs are yellow. 

Be careful about drinking and driving: A driver whose blood alcohol level exceeds 0.3 will be considered legally intoxicated.

Speed Limits

Speed limits:
In towns: 50 km/h (30 mph)
On motorways: None unless indicated
On highways: 100 km/h (62 mph)
There is generally no speed limit on German Autobahns, although the recommended maximum speed is 130 km/h (80 mph). You should be careful when pulling into the left lane, as cars may be coming from the rear at high speed. Impatient drivers will flash their headlights, which means get out of the way. All German motorways are toll-free.

Parking

Very little free parking is available in downtown areas and car parks are generally very tight. We therefore recommend choosing a parking building or public car park. Parking along the street often requires feeding a parking meter, which may be located some distance from the car. After you've settled the required fee, the meter will produce a ticket that must be placed in the front windshield. 

Be careful about observing no-parking signs, as violations may result in your car being towed away. The main parking signs are:

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Breakdown and Accident

An emergency telephone number will be included in the documents you receive from your rental car agency. Emergency phone calls can be made free of charge from any public telephone. Emergency phone numbers are: 

Police: 110
Medical emergency: 112

German Automobile Club (ADAC):
- From a public phone: 0180 22 22 22
- From a mobile phone: 22 22 22

Petrol

The main choices are Bleifrei (unleaded), Super-Bleifrei (super unleaded) and Diesel. The German word for petrol is Benzin. A petrol station is called a Tankstelle.

Directions and Maps

Although brief directions are included in your travel documents, we recommend buying a good road atlas. 

Navigation System

The best solution is always a GPS. While rented units are often available, downloading an offline software for your smartphone is a good alternative. Free service is available from "HERE Maps". Although you won't be able to search by coordinates when offline, you can do so while connected to WIFI in your hotel and save places to favorites. The directions from HERE are not very detailed. If you prefer a more detailed navigation, other products are available from TomTom or Navigon at an annual fee. Should you already own a GPS unit you can download the relevant maps prior to departure.

Accommodations

Check-In

Money Matters

ATMs

ATMs are widely available. All common international credit cards are accepted. English instructions are usually available.

Health

Medical Insurance

Check to make sure your health insurance covers travel abroad. If not, you would be wise to take out travel insurance. Unfortunately we cannot issue insurance contracts to non-European clients.

Local Health Care

Etiquette

Tipping

Service is normally included in the restaurant check. Nevertheless, it is common to round up amounts by about 10% or to the next euro for smaller amounts.  A tip for public lavatory attendants is often left on a saucer near the door.