By templedf on Jul 28, 2004
I thought of a few more travel tips to add. See my previous post.
- When tipping at a restaurant, the usual thing to do is round up to the nearest convenient number. If it's a really large bill, one normally rounds up to the nearest 5 or 10 Euro. This usually amounts to 5%-10%. (Unlike in the US, the service staff actually make a descent wage without tips.) Also, you tip when you pay the bill by telling the waitress or waiter how much you'd like to pay. For example, if the bill is 16.45EUR, I would hand the waitress a twenty and tell her to make it 18EUR. (That's convenient because I get a 2 Euro coin back.)
- You can find information about any big city and many smaller cities online under <city_name>.de. The trick is that you have to use the German spelling of the city name. For example, information on Nuremburg can be found at http://nuernberg.de.
- There are several good web sites to know about:
- Don't give up easily. Germany is very regulated. There is a law and a tax for almost everything you can imagine. They are, however, much more willing to bend the rules than we are in the US, especially for helpless foreigners. More than once I have been allowed to do things that aren't allowed simply because I asked nicely.
- The autobahns are not there for your entertainment. There are some very serious drivers driving at some very serious speeds who will kill your entire family if you're not paying attention. The basic rules are:
- Stay as far right as is reasonable unless passing
- Always use your blinker
- Check your rearview mirror often
- Don't drive fast unless you can devote your full attention to it
- When passing, be very careful. Cars doing 230kph+ come behind you up so quickly it's like they materialize out of thin air.
- When taking a road trip into another country, be sure to fill up the car with gas before re-entering Germany. Gas in Germany is more expensive than in most of the neighboring countries, especially the Czech Republic.
- For most of the bigger cities, the best idea when driving there is to find somewhere safe outside of the city, park the car there, and leave it. The hassle of driving and parking a car in the city often far outweighs the benefits, especially with the quality of German public transit systems.
- When buying bus and U-bahn tickets, always check to see if there's a better deal available. One-way, single fares are always the most expensive. There is usually an option for an all-day pass or a group pass which is less expensive if you're planning on more than a one-way trip. Weekly passes are almost always a good deal if you're planning to stay that long. Ask a local to help you translate the ticket options on the automat, or find a manned service desk.