travel advice & savings

Oktoberfest Tips

Dress: I highly suggest the wearing of Lederhosen and Dirndls. It’s a lot easier to get a table when dressed like a local instead of a stupid American. The men love the Dirndls, and the women think men in Lederhosen are sexy. You do the math, but trust me- dress the dress and you will be rewarded. When we get to Munich, we will do a quick excursion to C&A- the local department store. They have a good selection of “Tracht” at reasonable prices. Avoid the kiosks on the street- they are overpriced for china made crap and they just look cheap. Go to C&A and get the better quality for about the same price.

For those of you that don’t have your lederhosen yet, go to ebay in the spring. Don’t do it just before, as the prices rise the closer you are to Oktoberfest. The going prices is around $179 knee length or in shorts. Either kniebund or shorts are acceptable and it will just be your preference. I personally like the look of kniebund, and if you have boney knees, it will make them look better. You can also get some decent shirts as well on ebay. Just check the sizes, as they run differently that US sizes.

Here are some links for online stores- I would visit them to get an idea of styles, but I wouldn’t recommend ordering from them. Shipping and customs from EU is VERY expensive and we have had problems in the past with returns and getting refunds back.


The above links also have dirndls. You will want to get the “Midi” length. The mini length are only for the under 21 stick figures Paris Hilton wannabes- you will be frowned at if you wear one of them- trust me. Midi length is for the 20-50 age range. The long dresses are for the 50 and above, or for special evening events that are more formal. There are two types of Dirndls- cheap costume type (which you will get laughed at), and the good ones (which earn respect and comments). I suggest you get a good one. For reference, I wear a 40. The measurements are pretty accurate, so measure yourself and order away. Unlike the American sizing, Europe is very consistent. Ebay is usually not a good place- they sell mostly the costumey dirndls and are cheap and look cheap. Sometimes you can find a decent used dirndl that someone has grown out of, but for the most part, you will want to stick to the above links for your dirndl source.

For shoes, you will typically wear ballerina flats or mary janes with no hose. Buy cheap but comfy shoes. You will see some women in heels, but I don’t recommend them- when you are standing on a 6” wide bench dancing after 4 litres, you don’t want to add heels to that equation! You will have a hard enough time as it is without ending up with a broken ankle. You will also need a sweater or a boiled wool coat to match your dirndl. Buy something cheap, so if you lose it, no loss. I have a light cream short cardigan sweater with little pearl buttons, but it wasn’t warm enough last year and ended up freezing. This year I am going for the boiled wool jacket. LL Bean and Woolrich are two good brands that make the Austrian style wool coats.

Tips and Tricks:
1. Liquor is free on Lufthansa, but they only really serve with meals. You may want to BYOB to supplement. You have 3 choices:
1. Go to duty free at least ½ hour before the flight and purchase your liquor of choice. They will deliver it to the plane and you will gather it as you board the plane. It is usually stacked in the gangway right in front of the plane door, or right inside with the stewardess’s. You will have to show your receipt and then they will give it to you. Be discrete on your pouring or they will confiscate it from you.
2. Get some empty 3oz bottles and fill them with liquor of choice. Put them in the 1 quart baggie and put them into your check-in. You can fit 4 of those in a quart ziplock (12 oz)
2. Get your souvenirs on Saturday or Monday- the shops at the airport are disappointing and have very little selection. We wanted a shirt, but we were SOL at the airport and settled for a beer glass (not that that’s a bad thing- you can never have too many beer glasses). Shops are usually open the following hours:
• Monday-Friday 9am-12pm, 2pm-6pm
• Saturday 10am-6pm
• Closed Sunday
3. Electrical Power- there are two items you may need- Converter and/or a plug adapter. The converter actually changes the voltage and the plug adapter just changes the American plug into the European standard, but does not convert the voltage. Many items such as hairdryers and laptops are built with the voltage transformation internal, so all you need to do is either reset the voltage or just plug into the adapter. Read your manual. For those things that don’t have internal transformation, you are risking the appliance even using the converter. I blew up my boot heaters, hairdryers, and curling irons, even using a really good converter from sharper image, so I suggest that you be very careful with your electronics. If you have lots of stuff to plug in and charge, bring a power strip because most German hotels only have one plug in the entire room. It will also give you a tiny bit more surge protection.
4. The best way to get Euros is through the ATM. The worst place to get Euros is at a currency exchange. Also, we try to use our credit card as much as possible, but for cash, just use your ATM. Make sure your credit card will work internationally and make sure you call them ahead of time to tell them you will be oversees. We have gotten over there and have had our cards rejected because they “suspected” irregular usage. If you just call them and give them the dates you are there, you should have no problem. Also, debit cards do NOT work. Also note that Amex has a 2.7% currency exchange surcharge, so you will need to do the math on the better choice of payment.
5. When using ATMs, unlike the states where you get your money first, then take your card, overseas it is opposite. You will need to pull your ATM card out before the money is extracted. If you don’t grab your card in time, the machine sucks it back in and it is shredded (yes, you hear the dreaded sound of chomp-chomp-cut-cut). Be careful- we have seen this happen and we don’t want to have to loan your ass cash every 10 minutes for a beer.
6. Your Credit card may not work at all kiosks because we don’t have smartcards. No US credit card companies provide the smart cards at this time, so if you are at a kiosk/toll booth, just go to a manned window and they will manually process your card.
7. If your phone works overseas, get on the international plan for the time you are there. For my phone, it’s a $4.95 monthly fee and the calls go down by $2/minute and my TM’s are a quarter. I cancel when I get home, so it saves a lot of money. Also, try using TMing as much as possible vs. the phone because the calls do add up.
8. Credit cards and ID- make copies of everything. If you get heisted or your drunk butt leaves your wallet somewhere, the copy you made will have the number on it to call, as well as your account number. Same with your passport. It’s a lot easier to get a replacement if you have a copy of it when you get to the embassy.
9. Bathrooms: There will be a lady or man in the bathroom (mens and womens), and they clean up after all the drunks. It is expected that you throw a few coins in the tray for her troubles (a quarter euro/visit is norm). Men- yes you will pee in front of her- get over it… After a few trips, you won’t even notice her/him.
10. Apparel: No slogan T-shirts that ID you as a stupid American. If you want to be welcomed at a table, the last thing you want to be wearing is your t-shirt that has the Detroit Lions on it. Remember- most Europeans do not like Americans, so you want to polite, use as much German as you can do, and don’t be that ugly American. The better dressed you are and the less American you look, the better your chances of scoring a table.
11. Backpacks are not allowed in the tents. Women can bring a small purse, but don’t bring anything bigger or you will be going back to the hotel to deposit it. For men, you can use a small camera bag, but remember, anything you set down, your drunk ass will lose it. Also, be careful putting your stuff in your jacket pocket. Some other drunk might mistakenly pick it up and carry it out and you won’t notice it’s gone until it’s too late. NO FANNY PACKS Please!!!!(unless you want to get laughed out of the tent) I suggest you carry the following on you:
• ID and Health insurance card (in case you get hurt)
ATM Card
• One credit card
• Business card from Hotel (after a number of beers, Mittererstrasse is quite difficult to pronounce to the cabbie or to get directions)
• Lipstick/LipBalm
• Money
• Camera
12. Drunkenness and theft: Although it’s Oktoberfest, obnoxiousness is not allowed. Also, don’t even think about stealing that glass- the Nazi regime is alive and well and can see the would be thieves a mile away. Even if you get it out the door, fellow tent Nazis will bust you upon entering- it’s a mutual agreement between the tents. If you have a mug, you better have a receipt.
13. Insurance: Call your health insurance to see if you are covered when you are over there. If you stumble out of a tent and break your leg, you will need to pay in full for the entire amount before you leave the hospital. If your health care company does not cover you, look into some insurance that has health coverage like It will also cover you in case of airline delays, baggage loss, and trip delay. We use them all the time and they are great.
14. Misc:
1. Women:
1. Purse- You want a small purse that you can hang over your chest all the time- you do NOT want to put anything down. If it leaves your body, consider it gone.
2. Shoes- don’t wear shoes you don’t want to toss when you leave. It’s called beer and puke and mud. Prepare to leave your shoes in the trash on the last night- they will be way too gross to pack.
3. Weather- you will need a sweater or trenchcoat- it can get chilly and rainy while you are there. Again- buy cheap, your drunk ass will probably leave it on the hook at some beer tent.
4. Hair- The rooms come equipped with hair dryers, but they are not that great. If you want to bring your own, check your hairdryer to see if you have a way to change the voltage from 110 to 240. If it doesn’t, don’t bring it. It will probably blow up, even using a converter.
2. Men-
1. Camera- your camera bag needs to be small enough so you don’t have to put it down. Ask Spill- you put it down, your drunk ass will lose it.
2. Wallet- always have in front pocket. It’s crowded and with any big event, there will be pickpockets. Again- bring as little as possible and always have a backup plan if you get lifted. Better yet, use a wallet pouch that you can put around your neck and hang inside your shirt.
3. Shoes- please no bright white tennis shoes- you do not want to stick out like a dumb American. Wear black or brown casual shoes with your jeans or lederhosen.

Here are two links I highly recommend. Toytown is the forum that gives you the lowdown on the locals, fashion, parties, etc. It’s a good forum to browse. The other link is the authentic Oktoberfest link. You will start going there around July and you can see the pictures of the tents going up, as well as information on the fest- maps, beer links, etc.

 Cheap Umbrella-You will lose it. Someone in Munich is now sporting my pretty pink with orange polka-dots umbrella I lost last year
 Camera and case that hangs around your neck or attaches to your belt
 Passport wallet that can be worn around the neck under the shirt
 Small purse that attaches to your dirndl or hangs around your shoulder
 Range of clothes including raincoat: temps range from upper 30’s to upper 70’s and it will probably rain at some point.
 Passport and copy of passport
 Copy of all IDs and credit cards
 Pepcid/pepto bismol/diarrhea meds
 Aspirin/Excedrin/no doze/ sleeping pills
 EarPlugs (everyone snores after drinking!)
 Alarm Clock (so you don’t miss the train)
 Band-Aids for blisters on feet
 Decongestant like Dayquil tabs- at some point, you will either get sick while you are there, or shortly after- it is called Wiesenitis. It’s from sharing beers/food and being in close proximity with 100,000 of your favorite beer drinking buddies.
ATM card so you can get Euros easily- cash only at the tents and vendors