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What You'll Need to Save to Backpack Deutschland

Your tickets to Deutschland are booked. You’re having regular visions of bratwurst and beer gardens. Now, it’s time to pack. Here’s what you’ll need to bring.
Backpack Germany

No Eurotrip is complete without a stop in Deutschland. You’ll find that stopping in just one major city isn’t enough to fully appreciate everything Germany has to offer, so give yourself at least a week to explore the country.

Drafting your itinerary will be tough. Packing your life into a backpack is marginally less tough, though you may find making space for the 1-liter beer stein you’ll inevitably pick up at one of the local biergartens to be tricky.

In addition to the usual backpacking gear, here are a few specific items you should include in your pack and your budget.

English-German dictionary

You can generally get by speaking English in popular tourist cities like Berlin and Munich. But if you plan to wander off the beaten path—and you should! Villages like Quedlinburg and Mittenwald are incredible—it is definitely beneficial to have an English-German dictionary tucked away in your pack.

While you might be able to wing it in some foreign languages, German isn’t exactly easy to pick up overnight. Before you go, learn how to say hello (Hallo or, more formally, Guten tag), thank you (Danke), and cheers (Prost!).

Set this Goal:

Dictionary
$10

Good pair of shoes

Without a doubt, the best way to explore German cities, trails, and important attractions is by foot. Whether you’re traipsing down the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin or hiking along a portion of the 200,000 kilometers of trails covering the country, you’ll want comfortable footwear.

Although some cities, like Düsseldorf, are a little more fashion-forward, you can get away with shoes that are a little more comfortable and a little less catwalk-ready. Sturdy shoes with good support and cushioning are the key to spending 10-plus-hour days walking without developing nasty blisters.

Set this Goal:

Walking Shoes
$125

Camera

Whether you’re capturing the magic of Neuschwanstein Castle (said to be the inspiration for Disney’s Magic Kingdom) or snapping shots of the incredibly varied architecture you’ll encounter (from Roman-period relics to Modernist homes), you should take a reliable camera with you.

If you’re picking up a more advanced camera, like a DSLR, and are new to the game, learn how to use the settings before you go. You don’t want to miss key shots, like the Glockenspiel historical reenactment in Munich, which only goes off between one and three times per day depending on when you visit.

While Germany isn’t known for high theft rates, always use your common sense, particularly when you’re traveling in more touristy areas. Keep your camera close by at all times.

Set this Goal:

New Camera
$500

Electrical adapter

You’re going to want to keep your camera’s battery, and any other electronics you’re bringing with you, charged. Don’t forget an electrical adapter so that you can use German outlets. Look for a pinned, rounded, 230-volt, 50-Hertz electrical adapter, and you’ll be able to juice up your phone, your e-reader, and anything else you’re bringing with you.

Set this Goal:

Electrical Adapter
$10

Lederhosen and/or Dirndl

OK, this is one you’ll have to pick up once you’re actually in Germany, but be sure to leave enough room for it in your pack. These traditional German outfits (tracht) are practically mandatory if you’ll be taking part in Oktoberfest. If you’re visiting the country toward the end of September or early October, you absolutely must make your way to Munich to experience the best folk and beer festival in the world. Hopping from beer garden to beer garden alongside six million other cheerful attendees just feels so much better when you’re in festive attire.

Lederhosen—knee-length leather trousers, with or without suspenders—are best worn with a checkered shirt and trachten socks, while a dirndl—the traditional dress—is worn with a short-sleeved white blouse and a pinafore. A good set of either tracht will set you back about $215. Sure, you could go for a cheap version, but your outfit will be falling apart before the day is done.

Set this Goal:

Lederhosen
$215

Rain jacket

Of course you know to pack some cold weather gear if you’re heading to Germany during the winter. But rain gear is a necessity no matter what time of the year you go.

Angry storms can come seemingly without warning, so stash away a raincoat and be ready to use it on short notice. Look for a jacket that will keep you dry whether you’re on a hike in the Black Forest (where locals claim hiking was invented) or wandering the streets of Cologne.

Set this Goal:

Rain Jacket
$75

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