Oktoberfest, Christmas markets and ski trips to the Alps make Germany a favorite year-round destination – but this beautiful country really shines in summer.
However, COVID-19, European flight chaos and extreme weather across the continent are all factors that could affect travelers heading there this summer and beyond. Do you have a trip planned, or are you thinking of going to Germany soon? Here are 6 questions to ask yourself before you go.
1. Have you packed the FFP2 masks?
The wearing of a medical-grade mask is required on flights to and from Germany during boarding, boarding and disembarkation. Only medical-grade masks are allowed (FFP2, KN95 and N95 masks are worthless), although there may be some changes when you leave Germany based on where you are going. According to German airline Lufthansa, on all flights to and from the US, all passengers over the age of two must wear masks.
Pack at least a few masks, as you’ll also need FFP2 masks once you arrive: passengers are required to carry them on public transport across the country. Get some in advance to have ready for your flight and the journey to your accommodation, but more will be available at pharmacies and shops to stock up on when you arrive.
How to move in Germany
2. Do you have a €9 public transport pass?
When Germany announced it would launch a new €9 travel pass for the summer, it made headlines around the world, delighting locals and travelers to the country.
The ticket, which is valid for the entire calendar month in which it is purchased, allows the holder unlimited travel on all buses, U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and local and regional trains. However, it does not apply to long distance intercity trains like IC or ICE.
Regardless, the pass is an incredible deal for anyone visiting Germany, giving travelers the freedom to explore as much as possible on local transport. The ticket offer only lasts until 31 August 2022, so make the most of it if you visit next month.
Explore Germany for €9 this summer: these are the best itineraries
3. Are you prepared for hot weather?
While Germany generally enjoys hot summers, Europe has already experienced a deadly heat wave in July. Most of the extreme heat has so far affected Portugal, Spain and the UK, but Germany has also seen temperatures of up to 38C (100F).
The heat has broken for now, but August may bring more hot days. Be prepared for high temperatures with clothes that will keep you comfortable and pack a refillable water bottle and use it often.
How to stay cool while traveling as extreme heat waves continue in the US and Europe
4. If it’s hot, have you planned a trip to the beach?
A day at the beach might not be the first thing that comes to mind on a trip to Germany, but the country is home to incredible lakes, city beaches and coastlines on both the Baltic and North seas. Join the locals as they cool off at some of the country’s finest swimming spots.
Germany’s best beaches
5. Is your flight with Lufthansa?
It’s no secret that Europe is among the regions suffering from airport chaos; passengers have been affected by long queues, lost luggage and canceled flights. German flag carrier Lufthansa has canceled thousands of flights this summer, both within Germany and on short-haul routes, due to staffing problems and strike action. While the airline will inform passengers of cancellations and, if possible, rebook you on another flight, it’s always best to check the status of your flight to make sure everything is in place before you fly.
Lufthansa is also advising passengers to use their online services, as digital check-in is allowed 23 hours before departure. There is also a free digital document check service for COVID-19 documentation that can be used between 72 and 8 hours before you travel. This can be used to show proof of vaccination or a test if this is required for your travel.
Airport chaos in Europe: how to manage delays, cancellations and strikes
6. What color is your luggage?
If you’re traveling through Frankfurt Airport this summer, make sure your bag isn’t black. According to the Guardian, German media have reported that the airport – which is a major transfer hub in Europe – attributes some of the lost luggage delays to many similar-looking bags, as they take longer to identify and return to their owners.
While the airport’s justification for the baggage chaos has raised a few eyebrows, it’s a good reminder to make sure your luggage is clearly identifiable to you. When a passenger’s luggage is lost, they must fill out a form describing what their bag looks like: colorful bags, stickers, labels and other customizations can make your luggage easier to identify – and therefore return to you.
Another option is to try to pack just one carry-on bag, but if you need more luggage and want to be as safe as possible, you can always try electronic luggage tags.
What to do when an airline loses your luggage