You've booked your flight to Europe and you're ready for the world's largest festival in Munich, Bavaria: Octoberfest. Octoberfest is a 16-day festival running from late September to the first weekend in October with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year.
Here are 10 ways to survive Octoberfest.
1. Book Accommodations in Advance
People book hostels, hotels and camping sites sometimes one year in advance for Octoberfest. Make sure to book a place as soon as you know you're going to Octoberfest. Even if you're travelling around Europe on a whim, this is one event to book ahead of time. To get a place near the festival can cost a minimum of 200 euros per night and that increases the later you leave the booking. The later you wait, the further away from the festival your accommodations may be and that means it will be difficult to find transportation to and from the festival.
2. Expect to Buy Lederhosen
Sometimes when you think of dressing up, you think that you might be the only one which is a scary thought. Octoberfest is NOT like that. If you're not wearing Lederhosen, you will be the one looking weird. You can purchase cheap Lederhosen at second hand stores that looks amazing (and to a tourist, it kind of all looks the same). If you're interested in high-end Lederhosen fashion, you can buy it in downtown Munich for over 1,000 euros.
3. Get a Table Early
Do not show up to Octoberfest past 3:00 PM and expect to get a table. The fun of Octoberfest is sitting/standing/dancing at a table all night with your new best German/other tourist friends. Many tables are booked by businesses and the "free tables" are in the middle and fill up very fast. Don't be afraid to ask others if a seat at the table is taken. Just ask, "Konnte ich heir sitzen?". Most people will recognize that your accent is not German and will answer in English. However, many people that attend Octoberfest are German so if they say "Ja (yah)" that means yes and if they say "Nein" that means no.
4. Pace Yourself with Beer
The only size of beer you can order in an Octoberfest tent is 1 litre. Do NOT chug your first beer or you will not last the night. Germans are all about drinking casually and drinking a lot. Unlike many tourists who like to drink really fast, make sure to take your time and enjoy the environment while drinking your litres of beer.
5. Expect to Sing Songs All Night
Regardless of if you like to sing or not, Octoberfest is about standing on tables, locking arms with everyone at the table, swaying and singing all night. If you're American or Canadian, you'll probably recognize some songs from the 1990's that you never gave a second though to. Germans love some songs that used to be popular in North America a while ago, so be prepared to love them again too.
6. Do Not Get Mad if Someone Spills Beer on You
You're in Germany. There is beer. At Octoberfest, things can get a bit "too fun" and if you're not paying attention a beer or two may head in your direction Don't get mad about it. Think about it as an experience and something that is not uncommon at an event like this. Heck, you might even spill your own beer on someone.
7. Don't forget to say "Prost!"
This is "cheers" in German and it is said all weekend long at Octoberfest. Before anyone takes a drink at a table or a new group arrives, make sure to "Prost!/Cheers!" to them before they take a drink. This is a custom in Germany.
8. Do Not Go on Rides After Drinking More than 1 Litre of Beer
Unless you have a heavy stomach and are able to handle rides with alcohol, do not go on fast, spinny rides after you have been drinking. Octoberfest not only consists of people drinking beer and singing, but also has a large area for exhibition/festival rides as well. Go on rides before you drink in a tent, not after.
9. Eat Traditional German Food
A chicken out of a bag? Numerous kinds of sausages? Yep! Do not miss out on eating traditional German delicacies while at Octoberfest. Enjoy eating those pretzels, schnitzel, and chickens in a bag!
10. Make Friends
No matter who you're sitting with at a table in an Octoberfest tent, make sure to converse and make new friends. Germans are friendly (even though they are quite blunt) and they are probably interested in you as well. This is a great way to meet locals, other tourists and friends that you could end up travelling with.
Have fun and happy beer drinking!