One of the best ways to get to know Germany is to take a long road trip through the country. It has the infrastructure needed for such a trip and it’s a more comfortable way to travel as well as free.
In order to do so as safely and easily as you possibly can, you should take some time to learn about your trip and about the places you plan to visit. A bit of preparation goes a long way.
Prepare the Documents
To drive in Germany as a foreigner, you’ll need to bring along the proper documents. First, you’ll need to get international drivers license for Germany. You’ll need it to rent or drive a car while in Germany and it’s only valid if you have a national permit with you as well. The international permit is valid for a year, while a national license lasts five.
It’s also important to note that you need to have an ID with you and none of these documents can serve as one. You’ll also need a passport or a national ID depending on the country you’re coming from.
Avoid the Autobahn
The Autobahn is well known across the world for its quality and the speed that it allows (there’s no speed limit on the Autobahn). However, our advice is to avoid it, even though it’s convenient to use it. Going off the Autobahn allows you to explore smaller and secluded parts of the country where the true natural beauty is hidden.
The countryside is one of its most beautiful German features and using local roads means that you can slow things down and enjoy them. When you decide to hop back on the Autobahn, keep in mind that the left lane is the fast one.
Try Out the Local Foods
Local foods and pubs are the best choices when it comes to dining. It’s always a better option to avoid restaurant chains and to eat where the locals do. There’s a lot of variety in this and you’ll find something regardless of your tastes.
Germany is also well known for having the best beers in the world and making stops so that you can try as many of them – is a good way to organize your trip. Just make sure not to drink and drive.
Be Mindful of the Timeframe
There’s something to do and see in Germany all year round but if your trip is time-limited it’s important to factor in the drive itself as well as the much-needed breaks. That way you can squeeze as much as you can within that time frame.
It’s best to take a break every two hours. If you’re switching between two drivers, this is also a good time to switch. By keeping up this routine you can easily plan your breaks, meals, and sightseeing so that it fits within the time you’re using to take a rest from being focused on the road.
Tipping culture often confuses tourists since there are so many differences in what’s considered to be rude across the world. It’s not uncommon to tip when in Germany and if you’re satisfied with the service it’s customary to tip somewhere between 10 and 15 percent. This is the case in both bars and restaurants.
It’s considered rude, however, to leave the tip on the table and leave (as is customary to do in the US). Instead, when in Germany you should tip the waiter directly when it’s time to pay the check. Some bars will state that tips are included in the bill itself and obviously there’s no reason to tip in such a bar.
Make Sure to Stop at the Alpine Lakes
If you’re traveling at the right time, you should include a stop at the Alpine lakes. Any time from late spring to early autumn will do just fine. The nature in the area is just stunning and the lakes themselves are a perfect place to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
It’s also a perfect destination for those who enjoy water sports of all kinds. Everyone has their own favorite lake and you’re free to choose your own – but we would start with Lake Konigssee.
Pro Tip: Not using blinkers and indicators is a cause for a fine in Germany and the locals are very much used to it. Not using the indicators can therefore cause an accident and it’s best to stick to the rules when abroad.