FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Is this Trip right for me?
Our trip appeals to those who want a rich and authentic cultural experience. Our guests would rather not travel with a big bus tour group, but also want to take advantage of activities available only to groups. We  combine the benefits of group travel with the rewards of independent travel. We look for people who appreciate quality and authenticity. We're a bit more "do-it-yourself" and  down-to-earth oriented. We use public transit and do a fair amount of walking. The hotels we use are smaller 3-star level and have more of a bed and breakfast feel than a hotel. There isn't a staff of bellmen and there isn't 24-hour room service. But, the service is heart-felt and the food quality is top notch, real food -- not gourmet. After our trip, you can honestly say you experienced real Bavarian Culture! Ages: We see a variety of ages on our tours and a cross section of marital status. It is a diverse group. However, there is a common denominator: Everyone that comes on our tour is particularly interested in Bavarian Culture and is fairly physically active. We've hosted families with children, teenagers with Mom and Dad, Couples, Singles, Navy Buddies, Co-workers, and many retirees. The mix is part of the fun - we like how one of our Regular's put it, "Travel with friends you didn't know you had." Einfach Gemütlich! Here's the statistical breakdown of our guests: 20's = 15% 30's = 15% 40's = 25% 50's = 9% 60's = 28% 70+ = 6% Average Age is 48
What about getting cash?
Getting Cash: We strongly recommend that you plan on using your ATM card once you arrive in Munich. Although your bank will charge you an access fee, you will get a better exchange rate going this route. Caution: You should notify your bank that you will be travelling in Europe. Plus, banks have a daily limit on how much you can take out request that they raise this to $500. Also, be aware that German banks no longer accept $100 US bills because they are so often counterfeited. And, Traveler’s Checks are not accepted these days. Some people order Euros through American Express or their bank. Though they claim not to charge any fees, they give you a lousy exchange rate. Be sure to test your ATM card at home and be sure that you know your PIN!
Travel Issues
We sell a "land only" package and you will need to obtain your own flights. This provides you the flexibility of making your own travel arrangements. Since all incoming international passengers have to exit through the same door, meeting up is not an issue. No need to be anxious about taking this approach - we do it all the time and have never lost anyone! There are many sources on the internet to book your flights or we are happy to assist you personally. Shortly before the trip, we will send you a detailed file describing the meet-up procedure and a Plan B in case something unforeseen comes up. LUFTHANSA: We have always recommended the German airline, Lufthansa, but can no longer do so without warning of the risk of a strike. In the past year, strikes have disrupted the airline on 13 occasions and there seems to be no end in sight to the battle between the airline and its pilot's union.
Arrival Issues
Ideally, you should arrive in Munich the morning that the tour starts. If this isn't possible, there are many other options. One option would be to arrive the day before our group.There is a hotel right on the airport property - the Hilton Munich Airport (formerly a Kempinksi property) - this would allow you to meet the group absolutely refreshed on the following day. A second choice on the airport property, but requiring a shuttle, is the new Novotel. These are the best options if you are arriving later in the afternoon or evening and want an easy solution.If you want a hotel with a little more Bavarian personality, I recommend Brauerei Gasthof Lohhof. It's a family run place, the own their own brewery, have a great restaurant and a nice beer garden. Best of all, it's simple to reach. Walk off your plane, board the S-1 suburban train (runs every 20 min), and get off 4 stops later. From the platform, you can see the hotel! Don't be put off by the all-German website: Just send an email to info@brauereigasthauslohhof.de Other nearby hotels: Hotel Bayerischer Hof: Located in downtown Freising, in a historically protected building in Freising’s old town built in 1840 in neo-gothic style. It was built on the site of an old brewery, but the Dettenhofer family has been running the place since 1889. It's a cozy little place with 22 double rooms and 48 single rooms. They don’t have a website, but you can send a fax to 011-49-08161 538339. Mövenpick: 8 Minutes from the airport on the S-1 Line, shuttle to airport every 30 minutes. http://www.esys.org/freising.de/hotels.html
Erding is also nearby: http://www.erding-tourist.de/frame.html
Departure Issues
Most flights leave in the morning. If the trip you have booked a trip with us ends in Munich, then your departure time is not so important - getting to Munich Airport from downtown Munich is very easy and we will make sure you make your flight.  If the trip ends in Munich or Munich/Grünwald, you will make your own way to the airport. Downtown Munich is some 40 minutes to the airport and Munich/Grünwald is about 75 minutes. Keep in mind that booking an 8 AM flight will have you up as early as 4 AM! A few days before departure, we will try to pair you up with other guests departing at a similar time and will assist you in purchasing the proper ticket, but this is at your expense. If we are in another city the night before departure, we will have alternative, trip specific plans, to get you to the airport.
What about making my own arrangements for Oktoberfest?
Going it on your own is an option, but we obviously think you should travel with us! Getting a seat at Oktoberfest is complicated and we have reserved seats for our guests. Reservations cannot be made unless you book and pay in advance for at least 10 people - tables are "sold" in sets of 10. For each person, you pay for 2 liters of beer and a 1/2 chicken dinner in advance. Credit Cards and North American checks are not accepted. To make a reservation, you need to contact each of the 14 tents separately, since they are run by separate "Tent Hosts." Reservations sell out quickly since it operates much like season tickets - last year's guests get first right of refusal. But, Tent reservations are not necessarily required. Each tent is required to set aside a certain percentage of non-reserved tables. These seats are taken on a first-come first served basis. On weekends, people line up before dawn to get into the tent. If you arrive later, you will often find the tent is over capacity and no one further is admitted. If you avoid weekends and holidays and arrive before 5 PM, you should be able to get into most any tent and find a seat. You then find the unreserved section and ask the table occupants, "Ist hier frei?" If they say yes, then you are free to sit down and occupy the seat as long as you wish. You must have a seat in order to be sold a beer. Simply put, do not go on weekends - it is beyond crazy. You will be frustrated and likely will not have much fun. Other reasons to travel with us - we'll take care of the hotel rooms, take you on the subway system, teach you the words to the songs, and explain the cultural heritage behind the experience. If you have to be in town Wednesday through Saturday when the Oktoberfest is completely filled, try ‘Das “Wiesnzelt” am Stiglmaierplatz offers true Oktoberfest atmosphere with a typical live band, Oktoberfest beer, Bavarian food and great fun for everyone. It is only short distance from the Oktoberfest grounds. A great thing about ‘Das “Wiesnzelt“ am Stiglmaierplatz’ is that they are not bound to any closing times (10:30 on the Oktoberfest grounds)  and continue partying until the early morning. With cool beats and the hottest chart hits, the “Wiesnzelt” Clubbing is the perfect addition to Wiesn-fun with party classics. ‘Das “Wiesnzelt“ am Stiglmaierplatz’ has the perfect offer for everyone: Tickets are available as individual tickets, for tables seating 6 or 10 guests or in the exclusive VIP-Package. All information about opening hours, entrance fees and tickets are available here.
Where do I meet the group?
We meet at Munich Airport, near the information desk in Terminal 2. After disembarking, go through customs; everyone is funneled out of the same exit. Study the photo to the left - we will be in this general area.If you do not see us immediately, don't panic! (sometimes we are off showing someone to the bathroom or taking luggage out to the bus). Wait near the information desk, we will look for you there. If you don't see us within 10-15 minutes, ask the lady at the information desk to page us. If you have arrived before the main group flight, wait in the Erdinger Sports Bar until we show up - we take a walk through there to see if there are any early arrivals.Detailed instructions are sent a few weeks in advance of each trip with details on where to meet - photos included!
What if I miss my flight or experience a delay?
Before the trip, we send out detailed instructions on this topic. You will have our cellphone numbers and can get a hold of us if you are on the ground when the delay happens.If you can't contact us, we issue a back up plan which tells you how to meet up with the group if you experience a significant delay.Although we can't promise it, usually one of us will stay behind and accompany you via public transit or taxi you when you do arrive.
What if I want to extend my visit?
We encourage people to stay on and enjoy the area and we are happy to give you some advice on some other things to do while you are here. Many people try to overdo it and try visiting 15 other countries. Remember it isn't a race, it's a vacation! We recommend you take it a bit slower and see more of a smaller territory, rather than spend all of your time traveling. We are happy to offer some suggestions to fit your personal needs upon request. Also, if you choose to ignore the advice, we can recommend some nice places to visit in Austria, Switzerland or Italy. Unless we are talking about the height of summer, reservations outside of Munich are usually not necessary. We recommend that you don't finalize your plans until you are in Germany. If the weather is warm and sunny, then you might want to do some outdoor activities in the mountains. On the other hand if is cold, rainy and cloudy, you might want to visit some museums and such. Stay flexible!
Is there a lot of walking involved?
Yes - you will be walking often across uneven paving stones and up and down stairs on occasion. Over the course of a day, it's not uncommon for us to cover several miles.That said, activities are optional and there is almost also an option to sit something out or take a taxi to the end destination.
Safety & Security
Munich is a large city of 1.4 million people and is extremely safe and secure. My wife can walk alone at any hour of the night in any neighborhood with confidence. However, The greatest risk is at the Oktoberfest grounds. For such a large festival, you can imagine that some bad characters are in attendance. You just need to use your head. And be conscious of pick pockets in any busy area - typical big-city precautions will keep you out of trouble.
What to wear?
It depends - do you want to blend in or don't you care? The stereotypical American wears a baseball cap, white tennis shoes, shorts, a t-shirt with a huge graphic on it and a fanny pack. Most Germans wouldn't be caught dead wearing any of those items!

None of our tours require anything fancy. Most of the time, jeans are fine and matched with a polo or collared shirt, you will feel comfortable in all environments. For women, nice slacks or a skirt is very acceptable. Flip-flops and tank tops are considered bathing wear and should be avoided unless you are swimming.

Frank disclosure: At festivals, we recommend trying to blend in and not call attention to ourselves as American nationals. Oktoberfest draws millions of visitors from all over the world. Some are a bit unsavory and come to prey on the tourists. It's not dangerous, but it does require you to not get too lost in the revelry and forget yourself. Also keep in mind that it can be hot inside the beer tents and lots of beer is swishing around - not the place for your finest garb. We recommend nice jeans, a nice shirt without graphics, and a causal shoe - not white or colorful tennis shoes. 

Weather is similar to that of the American mid-west. Typically, you don't see people wearing shorts too often (unless they're made out of leather!) , even when it's really hot.  A sweater or light jacket should definitely find its way into your suitcase. Germans rarely wear shorts - they are fine while hiking or spending a day in the beer garden, but aren't commonly worn out and about in the city.

Keep in mind that Füssen is in the mountains and changes in weather occur commonly.  No matter the forecast, be sure to being at least one warm thing you can throw on if it gets chilly. It will rain during our trip - bring a light rain jacket and and umbrella - or plan on buying one there. In September, Füssen often has snow on the mountains - 5,676 feet - the city itself is at 2,651 feet. 

Trachten: One of the charms of Oktoberfest is that vast numbers of people - mainly the locals - dress up in their typical Bavarian Costumes. For Men, it's Lederhosen and for women it's a Dirndl. It is definitely not required, but if you have an interest in getting yourself some of the traditional garb, we will help you do so! A nice German shirt or vest or a hand stitched sweater also makes a nice addition to your wardrobe at home!Typically, most of our guests wear Lederhosen/Dirndl to Oktoberfest. We'll help you pick out something great! We also recommend talking to Andy at Bavarian Speciality and Bobbie a MyDirndl.com before you leave for Oktoberfest. Christmas Tours: If you are visiting the Christmas Markets with us in December - it will be cold! We typically see temperatures between 20 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Having snow throughout the trip is likely and near the mountains it is almost certain. You should bring sturdy, waterproof shoes - boots aren't usually necessary, but it depends on your own tolerance for stepping in the occasional snow bank. But, don't overdo it on the warm clothes or you'll be grossly over packed. It's not uncommon in Europe to see someone wearing the same sweater all week -- and we certainly won't mind! However, bring a hat and gloves/mittens so that you prepared for being in the weather a while.
What to bring?
Shoes: Comfortable shoes that go with everything. The wrong choice will haunt you and make the trip miserable! Rain gear: It will rain. Bring a jacket that repels water and a small travel umbrella. If it rains, we will do our best to stay out of the rain, but we will have to walk through it to some extent.

Backpack: Get a small one. It's better than a purse and should hold your umbrella, camera, etc. A luggage lock doesn't hurt either.

Hiking/Exercise Gear: If you want to go on the optional hike, bring along suitable clothing. It is not a technical hike at all - even tennis shoes or trail running shoes are fine. Comfortable clothing, however, is a must as well as a day pack. If you like to exercise,  we will have some other joggers on the tour and this can be a great way to see the countryside. Bring along your things if you are interested. Also, Hotel Ruchti in Füssen has a weight room and sauna that you can use for no extra charge. Electronics: Try to have all your batteries, film, etc. that you will need. See the section under Accommodations about cell phones and laptops.

Personal Items: Women who require a hairdryer and a curling iron are advised to bring their own. The hotels we use do have some hairdryers they loan out. We recommend a dual voltage curling iron and hair dryer- check if you need an electric adapter. Hotels provide bath gel, but you may want your own shampoo for hair care.

Money: You will obviously want some cash for souvenirs and miscellaneous items. We advise bring along an ATM card and one Visa (Capital One) card. You can easily get money from either all over Germany - do not get Euros in advance nor traveler's checks. Keep in mind you will have to pay a fee for the ATM and most Visa cards also charge some fees (not Capital One). Germany is a cash society - your Visa won't be accepted too often. Monetary Security: Bring along a money belt or neck pouch. This is the best way to carry your cash and passport on the plane and when we are in crowded places, like Oktoberfest. Make sure your assets are split up - have most of your money in your neck pouch, but some money in your front pocket - you don't want to be digging into the neck pouch in plain view every time you need something. Plus, make sure your spouse has some of the assets on him or her - Don't put all your eggs in one basket! Before you leave home, bring only the credit cards and such you are sure you will need. Make copies of them all - front and back and copies of your passport. Pack one copy in your suitcase lining and leave one at home with someone. Make sure you have the bank/card telephone numbers in the event you lose them!
What type of accommodations should I expect?
We use smaller, typical Bavarian hotels with a nice atmosphere - all are at least 3 stars, if they are rated. With their cozy nature and friendly staff, they more resemble a nice Bed and Breakfast in the US. The hotel we use in Füssen has a website here: www.hotel-ruchti.de . We have used Hotel Ruchti for years, because it is a family run business with excellent service and the best food in the entire city of Füssen. Steffi, her father, and their staff will literally bend over backwards to ensure you stay is pleasant. In Munich, we use the Alter Wirt in Grünwald/Munich. This beautiful hotel is owned by the Portenlaenger family and they run a top notch operation! 
Bed Types: The concept of 2 double beds or 2 queen size beds in a room is not common in Germany at all. Most rooms called a "Double" room, will feature to single beds directly next to each other, each with its own bedding - the German Federbett - a cozy down comforter full of feathers. Sometimes, the beds will be split apart, sometimes right next to each other.
Bathrooms: When making a reservation at a European hotel, don't take it for granted that the room has a toilet, shower or bathtub - many do not have private facilities. With one exception, all the rooms we use will have a private toilet and bath or shower. If you receive a room with a bath, it will have a handheld shower apparatus to aid in washing your hair.
Amenities: Your room will have soap or shower gel and shampoo, but will likely not have a hairdryer. If you bring this from home, you will need a special adaptor. Some hotels have a limited number that can be lent out, but another option is to buy a cheap hairdryer once you arrive in Fuessen. Be aware that you should not use the same power adapter for hairdryers and curling irons as you do for electronics.  
Air-Conditioning: Does not seem to exist in Europe. I know, get over it.
Can I plan on washing my clothes there?
Generally, no. Some of the hotels have been flexible on this depending on their level of activity. But you should not count on it. Also, Laundromats are in short supply, as is your time. That said, it is common for European travelers to rinse out undergarments and hang them to dry in the bathroom (not on the balcony!) Plan on bringing a little bottle of Woolite for this purpose. Alter Wirt and Hotel Ruchti will do laundry on request, but you need to turn it in when we check in.
Do they have Internet service?
Most of the hotels offer wireless access, but require you to pay. Alternatively, there are a few internet cafés in town that offer service and you can use their PC and not have to bring your own. Alter Wirt and Hotel Ruchti offer a PC for guest use.
What sort of food is offered?
Will I like it? German food is excellent and, if you have an open mind, you will find many things you like! We pride ourselves on selecting menus that allow you to try a cross section of traditional  Bavarian Food. Our philosophy is that when in Rome, you should eat what they eat! German food is heavy on the meats and breads. Vegetarians can be accommodated, but you should let us know ahead of time so we can notify the hotels. We have successfully accommodated Vegetarians, Wheat-Allergies, and Protein intolerance - just let us know ahead of time! Breakfast is easy since the hotels offer a buffet format with fresh baked breads, sliced meats, cheese, yogurt, jams, cereals and juices. Often, eggs are offered to American guests, although a soft-boiled egg is the typical German choice at breakfast. The coffee is strong and rich and decaf is not commonly offered. Tea and Hot Chocolate are also available. In the mornings, you will be asked if you would like a hot drink. Lunch is usually on your own and there are lots of good choices in town. At least once, you should try a pizza at an Italian restaurant - it's different than ours and very tasty. A good inexpensive choice is to stop into a bakery - most offer sandwiches and some have salads, plus great pretzels and hard rolls. Another popular choices is called a "Doenner" - it is similar to a Gyro.
Most Germans consume their largest meal of the day at lunchtime, sometimes we will follow this custom and other times we will eat in the evenings together. Usually soup is offered and this course should not be missed - they are usually made from scratch and are always excellent. The main course will vary and will sometimes be a buffet. We like to have the hotels offer typical regional fare, so plan on getting a real sampling of German cuisine! Keep in mind that we are staying at smaller inns. Germans are hurt and offended if the food they serve is not enjoyed and fully consumed. They work hard to put out a good meals and, just like at Grandma's, want to see their guests eat heartily and enjoy the meal. Open yourself to trying something different and give it a try. You might not like everything served, but we do try to offer typical, mainstream Bavarian fare at all our meals. You will find nothing too unusual and it is also top notch quality. Keep in mind also that the portion size in the United States are larger than anywhere in the world. Large by European standards, German portions are still smaller than what you might be used to at home. Sometimes, I won't tell you what it is until you tasted it. I've done this a long time and will NOT serve you anything that is too far out there. That said, sometimes when people hear what part of the animal they are consuming, they can't stomach it. Just try it - most of our guests are astounded that actually like something that sounds awful in English! Drinks: Beer is cheaper than Cola. Many drink Apple Schorle - a mix of mineral water and apple juice. A German soft drink the kids like is called Spezi - a mixture of Cola and Fanta. Be warned that the drinks are extra - and you should pay your server after the meal. Also, be warned that ice cubes are in short supply anywhere in Europe - get used to having your drinks a little warmer than you do at home.
Water: German tap water is one of the cleanest and safest in the world. It is puzzling that no German would ever drink it! Typically, they take mineral water and always with bubbles. In the restaurant you can ask for water without gas, it's called "Stilles Wasser." Look for a few bottles at the supermarket upon arrival. Finding water with absolutely no gas is sometimes impossible. 
Adult Drinks: Beer is the beverage of choice, of course! You can order several different types and they are all very tasty. A draft beer, or Helles, is the most common and is similar to an American style beer, but with much more body and taste. Another choices is a Pils - a pilsner - also not unlike what we have at home, but is slightly more bitter. Many find the Weissbief to be the best - this is brewed with wheat and the yeast is unfiltered - this type of beer comprises 10% of market in Germany. There are also some other types available including dark beers, Dunkles. Experiment and try all the different varieties! At Oktoberfest, you get the Oktoberfest brew - a Märzen - a bit on the amber side, but definitely not a dark beer. There are options for non drinkers as well - soda or water most commonly.
Too much beer? There are a few tricks involved in learning to drink those big German beers. I'll teach you how to have a great time, enjoy the beer, and still be healthy enough to do it again the following day!
Although not available in the beer tents, Wine is another common choice in restaurants and they are not limited to the sweet varieties many Americans think of. They have some excellent drier whites from Austria - likely the now trendy Gruener Veltliner,  and also some tasty reds, like Franken Wein. Just ask your server and specify that you want to try some regional wines.
Schnapps is another solid choice, especially as a nightcap. Each bar will serve their favorite - like apple, pear, or herbal schnapps. Other mixed drinks can get pricey very quickly, so be careful!
Will my cell phone work there?
Not unless you get an International Plan from your carrier. Rates can be outlandish, so be careful! We will provide you with the phone numbers of our hotels that you can give to your families and, of course, they can also call my German-based cellphone in case of emergency. 
To ensure you have a great trip be sure you are open to experiencing a new culture. Germans do things differently sometimes, just like any other country. You are prepared to handle such differences? And, regardless of how much we plan in advance, there will be little snafus along the way. Be flexible, understanding and be of good cheer and things will stay pleasant for everyone! When troubles arise, Germans do not respond well with assertive behavior - they simply shut down and refuse to help you further. Grace and understanding will take you much further.
Also keep in mind that the food is different, the drinks are different, the hotels are different, et cetera, et cetera. The way in which you choose to respond to these difference is very important. Being flexible and good natured is the key. This FAQ is designed to help you understand in advance what some of the differences are.
We will be using the subways, trains, trams, and a few busses. Be considerate of others and be on-time. If you need some extra time or a break, let me know a bit ahead of time, and we'll plan in a stop. Be warned: I don't hesitate to leave people behind who run late! We do not try to cater to American tastes - most of our guests want to experience the "real" Bavaria and we strive to deliver. No McDonalds, No Starbucks, no Coca-Cola, Gott sei Dank!
Power and Electronics
Be aware that Germany uses a different power standard than North America. Also note that the power adapter necessary for Hairdryers and curling irons is UNSAFE for electronics - Laptops, Camcorders, and Cameras. Many electronics nowadays are compatible with 110 and 220 Voltage.
Can't I just buy Oktoberfest Tickets from you?
No. Buying and selling tickets violates the rules of the tent hosts.
In the following tables you can see the weather conditions in Munich and in Reutte, which is near Fuessen. 
Munich Temperatures Reutte, Austria (Near Fuessen)
DaySunriseSunset Avg HighAvg LowMedian DaySunriseSunset Avg HighAvg LowMedian
26-Sep7:05AM7:03PM63°F45°F53°F 26-Sep7:09AM7:07PM58°F45°F51°F
27-Sep7:06AM7:01PM63°F44°F53°F 27-Sep7:10AM7:05PM58°F45°F51°F
28-Sep7:08AM6:59PM62°F44°F52°F 28-Sep7:12AM7:03PM58°F45°F51°F
29-Sep7:09AM6:57PM62°F44°F52°F 29-Sep7:13AM7:01PM57°F45°F51°F
30-Sep7:11AM6:55PM62°F44°F52°F 30-Sep7:14AM6:59PM57°F45°F50°F
1-Oct7:12AM6:53PM61°F43°F51°F 1-Oct7:16AM6:57PM57°F44°F50°F
2-Oct7:14AM6:51PM61°F43°F51°F 2-Oct7:17AM6:55PM56°F44°F50°F
3-Oct7:15AM6:49PM61°F43°F51°F 3-Oct7:19AM6:53PM56°F44°F50°F
Operating BayernTrips isn't all we do. We like to think that pursing other interest helps us approach our work at BayernTrips with passion, excitement and freshness. If you are interested in coming along with one of your groups, I will happily e-mail you my resume and references. Also you can see some comments from others in our "About Us" Section References