Last updated: 09:30 AM ET, Thu September 08 2016

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  • Sam Schuler | September 8, 2016 9:30 AM ET

    Your Guide to Surviving Oktoberfest in Germany

    Your Guide to Surviving Oktoberfest in Germany

    Photo courtesy of Auto Europe

    Ask anyone what happens in Germany in October and I bet 90 percent would have the answer right. Yes, it’s that time of the year when millions of tourists flock to the Bavarian capital of Munich for the annual and world famous Oktoberfest celebration.

    The Oktoberfest has become the world’s largest annual fair. The official festival website reported that 5.9 million visitors attended in 2015, consuming 7.7 million liters of beer.

    Singing “Ein Prosit” sporting Lederhosen (leather trousers) in a giant tent with a Maß (one liter) of beer in hand can be a moment to remember for the rest of your life. If you do it right. Do it wrong and your trip to Germany might all be a blur. Follow my easy Oktoberfest Survival Guide and you’ll be well-prepared for a memorable trip to Germany’s most famous annual celebration.

    Oktoberfest Survival Tips

    • Make sure of the dates and book your flights, rental car and accommodations early. Contrary to the name, Oktoberfest usually starts mid-September and only extends a few days into October.

    • Reserve your seats in the beer tents in advance. It is possible to just arrive and hope you find a spot, but be prepared to wait for hours in entry queues, especially if you plan to attend on a weekend. If for some reason you’re not able to book, go early to secure your seat and (if possible) attend during the week.

    • Why not try out different tents if you are spending more than one day at Oktoberfest? The Hofbrau Festzelt and the Augustiner Festhalle are popular among international visitors.

    • By all means, have a Maß (or two, or even three). But don’t get so intoxicated that you miss out on the fun of experiencing the unique Oktoberfest traditions. It’s also a great place to meet people from all over the world. Enjoy making memories you’ll never forget, not ones that you’ll never remember.

    • If you do over-indulge, you can sleep it off and recover on the so-called “Napping Hill.” That’s right, a hill on the festival terrain dedicated to taking beer-induced naps. Just make sure a friend or spouse will be keeping an eye on your valuables while you doze off.

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    • To prevent the beer from going to your head too quickly, never drink on an empty stomach. There is no better excuse to sample some of the traditional food like pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzel and spatzle (cheesy noodles).

    • The legal drinking age in Germany is 16. Remember to take your passport or another form of identification if there is a possibility of doubt about your age.

    • Take as little as possible to the festival grounds. Bulky accessories like rucksacks are not allowed in the tents. Your ID, money and a camera should suffice. Also, it’s important to be sure to have enough cash on you, because credit and debit cards are not accepted in the tents. And you don’t want to spend half your day queuing at an ATM machine. Fifty euros per person should get you two beers, something to eat and a little to spare.

    • Do not try to steal a beer mug. In 2015, police prevented a staggering 110,000 people from taking their mugs home without paying for them. It’s a great souvenir, so spend the money on it to avoid unnecessary conflict with authorities.

    • Oktoberfest in Germany is also home to a great many carnival rides. If you intend to go on some fun rides, common sense would suggest that you do so before drinking and eating.

    If you plan to extend your trip to Germany and do some sightseeing before or after the celebration, there are many fantastic destinations just a short drive from Munich. Book your Munich car rental early with Auto Europe, and see you in Munich this September!


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Sam Schuler Europe by Car

Sam Schuler Sam Schuler is a travel writer, photographer, graphic artist and a member of Auto Europe's marketing team in Portland, Maine. An Oregon native, Sam has enjoyed trips to France, Italy, Bermuda, and Mexico on multiple occasions. Sam continues to draw creative inspiration from his travels, documenting many of them in a variety of mediums, including travel blog writing and photographic exposes.
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