So you’ve decided to go on a trip to Germany – that’s fantastic – but before you leave, there are some things you should remember to do or purchase to ensure that you’ll have the best trip possible!
This might seem like a very obvious one, but you should always check your passport’s expiry date before you book your flight (or get one if you don’t own one!). If you leave it to the last minute and realise your passport is going to expire whilst you’re overseas, getting a new one on time is going to be very expensive.
Again, this may seem like a very obvious point, but make sure that you have your accommodation, at least for the first few nights, sorted before you leave Australia. If you want to be spontaneous that’s fine, but your first night or two are not the time for spontaneity! You don’t want to arrive in a foreign country and then go on the hunt for a hostel, especially if you’re arriving at night or very early in the morning.
Germany has a different electrical socket than Australia, so it’s easiest to purchase an adapter before your trip as they can be very expensive at the airport. You don’t want to arrive, find out that your phone is dead and then be unable to charge it immediately. If you’re planning on travelling throughout Europe, or stopping over in Asia or America beforehand, it’s a good idea to buy a universal adapter – that way you’re covered wherever you go!
Your trip from Australia to Germany can take you well over 30 hours – you have to be at the airport at least 2 hours before departure, then you’ll probably have two or three stops that can take up to several hours and once you finally arrive in Germany you will want to take a shower! If you’re staying with a host family or in a hotel you will be right, but if you’re going straight into your student accommodation or a hostel, you may not be given a towel, so it’s always a good idea to bring one just in case!
Firstly, we highly recommend that you get a credit card, if you do not own one already, in case of an emergency. Even if you have a travel money card, things can always go wrong and you don’t want to find yourself stranded in a big city with no access to your money! Secondly, order Euros at your bank in Australia so that you have some cash when you first arrive. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount, but you may be hungry or need a train ticket when you arrive and you don’t want to have to pay for every small purchase with your card.
Global roaming on your phone is extremely expensive. When you first arrive, you can connect to the Frankfurt Airport wifi and most hostels and hotels these days have free wifi, however, make sure that you have all of the information you need before you leave the airport. Do you know exactly where your accommodation is? Do you know how you’re going to get there? Have you checked that your accommodation does offer wifi?
Do not travel without insurance. Sure, insurance isn’t cheap, but it will save you a lot of money if anything happens and will give you (and your parents!) peace of mind. From lost or stolen luggage to an ambulance or hospital bill – make sure you’re covered!
Your mobile phone should allow you to make an emergency phone call at any time. You can reach the police by calling 110 and reach the fire station or an ambulance by calling 112. Whilst you shouldn’t need these numbers, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Before you leave, check what day of the week you arrive. If you arrive on Sunday morning or afternoon you will probably want some food throughout the day, however, shops are closed on a Sunday. Whilst many cafes and restaurants are still open, you might want to buy a snack at the airport (there are bakeries and convenience stores at Frankfurt airport), to avoid having to go out (trust us, after the long journey, the last thing you’ll want to do is get dressed up to go out to a restaurant for dinner).
Weigh your luggage before you head to the airport. If you have a 30kg limit, make sure you stick to it. Airlines have become a lot stricter with their weight restrictions in recent years and you don’t want to end up having to unpack your whole suitcase at the airport to find something to leave behind – plus, you’ll probably go shopping as soon as you arrive, so leave some space in your suitcase for all of your new purchases!