Planning a trip to Germany? Whether you’re visiting Berlin or Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt or even Düsseldorf, you’re in for an amazing time. Germany is a beautiful place and has recently climbed its way up the list of my favourite European countries. I fell in love with the warm, welcoming locals and their cool sense of style, the beautiful buildings, fantastic beer and food and all the dogs I met when I was there. Yep, I love dogs… a lot.
If you’re planning a trip to Germany but have no idea what to pack, never fear, I’m here to help! Here’s everything you need to know about what to pack for your trip and the essential items you absolutely must take with you, plus a few packing tips and tricks, for good measure.
What to pack for winter and autumn
If you’re visiting in the colder seasons, winter and autumn, you’re going to need to pack very warm clothes. I’ve been in Munich and Berlin in winter and, honestly, the cold is no joke! The last thing you want is to be too cold to explore the Christmas markets. Here are some things you’ll need to pack to survive:
- Warm headwear, like a good-quality wool beanie, as well as warm gloves and scarves
- You’ll need at least two very warm coats, I’d recommend at least one of these be a waterproof, insulated jacket the other could be a nice pea coat or similar
- Lots of warm clothes you can layer, like wool sweaters, long-sleeve shirts and so on
- Consider packing thermal long-johns if you tend to feel the cold (me) and use these as a base layer for extra warmth
- You’ll need to pack a few pairs of jeans, make sure they’re the nice thick kind and not just ‘jeggings’
- Remember to pack a few pairs of very warm socks and comfortable, closed-in shoes that you can spend all day walking in
- I’d also recommend packing a pair of boots if you have them, and some tights too if you want to layer them with skirts
- Don’t forget to pack your swimwear, because there can quite often be nice warm saunas and heated swimming pools around the place
What to pack for summer and spring
Like all good European countries, Germany comes alive in the warmer months. We’re talking long days filled with gorgeous sunshine and blue skies, getting lost exploring winding streets and eating all the gelato you can handle. It’s a magical place! Here’s some things you’ll need to pack:
- Pack lots of light, breathable clothing options. The people of Germany are very stylish and cool, so don’t be afraid to pack some nice outfits
- I’d recommend packing flowing cotton skirts, denim shorts and skirts and cotton dresses
- Consider packing vest/singlet tops as well as t-shirts and blouses too, if you like
- Make sure you pack comfortable footwear as you’ll spend a lot of time walking; you’ll need a pair of sneakers as well as comfortable flats and sandals
- I recommend you bring a hat or two as well as sunglasses and sunscreen
- Be sure to pack your swimwear so you can make the most of the hotel pool if you have one
- You may want to pack a few ‘nice’ outfits for special dinners or nights out, though I’d avoid high-heels
Essentials for all-year round
Charging station If, like me, you travel with a whole lot of gear that needs to be charged on the regular, you’re going to need more than one power point. Buy one power-point converter and take a power board with multiple plug-ins on it. It makes life so much easier! Here’s a look at the type of power plug & outlet type they have in Germany.
Medicine Bring a small bag packed full of essential medicines with you, bring things like cold and flu tablets, hay fever/allergy medicine, ibuprofen, paracetamol, tums and Imodium. People who suffer from hay fever, asthma or other allergies may find the pollution causes them to play up, so keep that in mind. You should also definitely pack your prescription medicines and anything special you may require, like a Ventolin inhaler for asthmatics.
SunSmart gear You’ll definitely need sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen with high SPF to protect you from the sun’s harsh rays and I always recommend Cancer Council’s sunscreen. Remember, sunscreen is only as good as its user and it’s up to you to reapply during the day to ensure you don’t get burned. Remember, cloudy days mean U.V rays!
Hand sanitiser Uh oh, I hate to be that tourist, but hand sanitizer is essential no matter where you are, even if you’re in your hometown. You never know when you’ll unexpectedly touch something sticky, hairy, wriggly or gross, so be prepared and have some hand sanitiser with you. I found myself really wanting to use it after I’d been on public transport, just because of the huge volume of people using the system.
Your essentials Pack your beloved brand-name essentials like cosmetics, electric toothbrush heads and feminine hygiene products. Also, pack your environmentally friendly products and products for sensitive skin, as it may be difficult to get your hands on these while you travel. Don’t waste money on travel minis, use refillable 100ml bottles instead! I often fill up those black pots from Lush with my products as they’re re-usable and under the 100ml limit.
Refillable water bottle I’ve started travelling with one of these now as I’m trying to reduce the number of plastic bottles I use. Also, I was charged 7 Euro for a bottle of water in Germany, so the tourist prices in some places are no joke! Not only will you stay hydrated, the refillable bottle will help the environment and keep your travel costs down.
Daypack Make sure you have a great pack for your daily adventures. You’ll need something that fits your essentials, like camera, wallet, snacks etc. It also needs t be comfortable, you don’t need a bag that pulls on your shoulders and gives you a sore neck!
My packing tips and tricks
Plastic bags Stash some large plastic grocery bags and small sandwich bags in your luggage, they come in so very handy for storing dirty shoes and clothes as well as bars of soap, wet swimwear or leaky toothpaste tubes!
Tupperware I use Tupperware or similar hard plastic containers to put all my toiletries in. This ensures no leaks will destroy my clean clothes and makes it really easy for me to grab my toiletries in one easy swoop, keep them together in the hotel and makes re-packing easier too. I also use a small container for all my jewellery and another one for electronics like adaptors, cords and chargers. It keeps me organised and stops me from losing things!
Laundry bag I also pack a laundry bag in my luggage. It just helps me keep track of what’s clean and what definitely isn’t. We’ve all experienced the pain of getting bits and pieces confused and losing track of how many clean outfits you have left, then missing some vital pieces when you put your laundry in.
Air freshener Recently I’ve started putting an air freshener in my luggage and it’s changed my life. I quite often find my luggage starts to smell a bit musty once I start mixing dirty laundry and worn shoes in with my clean stuff, then sealing up my suitcase for a flight. Popping an air freshener in with your luggage makes a world of difference.
Local currency Just make sure you have a little bit of local currency on you, to get you through the first few days after you arrive, on the off-chance you have trouble taking money out or lose a card. It’s also important to let your bank know where you’re going, so they don’t freeze your account when you take money out overseas for the first time.
Need some Germany inspiration? Watch this…
Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.