What To Wear in Germany and Packing List

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I can plan a trip like no other.  But when it comes to packing, I’m not sure why, but I always feel overwhelmed and not sure where to start! 

Luckily for you, if you are wondering what to wear in Germany or just need a complete Packing List for Germany, I’ve got you covered.  Season by season, tips, and everything in between! After living here for almost a decade, I know a thing or two about getting that suitcase ready to go. 

Other Guides You Will Want To Dive Into:

Germany Packing List

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Whether you are traveling to Germany for the first time and don’t want to stand out as a tourist or have no clue what to wear in Germany in the fall, then let’s dive in!

How Much To Pack When You Are Traveling to Germany

packing list germany

Before deciding what to pack for Germany, you need to figure out just how much you want (or need) to pack. 

Pack About 1 Weeks’ Worth Of Clothes.  Here’s Why:

Personally, when I travel, I only pack enough clothes for about 1 week (plus a spare or so, because well, we now travel in Germany with kids, which means we are bound to have some sort of accident at some point).  This means that even if we are doing a 2 or 3 week trip that I’ll just have to do laundry at some point.  I much prefer this route, because it means less luggage that I have to bring along, even if that means having to wear pants twice or (gasp!) three times before washing.

I always recommend to travelers to pack a “Capsule Wardrobe” meaning that any top can go with any bottoms that you’ve packed, that way you can wear the same clothes at least twice (pending sweat) but still have different outfits.  This gives that 1 week of clothes at least 2 weeks of options!  MAGIC! 

What Luggage Are you Bringing?

what suitcase in germany to bring

The other thing to consider when creating your Germany packing list is what kind of luggage will you be bringing along.  After all, if you’ve got a giant suitcase, you can manage to pack a few more things,  And in order to figure THAT out, you probably will need to know some basics for your trip such as:

  1. Will You Be Taking the Train Mostly? If so, having a GIANT suitcase rolling up and down the aisle trying to find space or seats on an ICE train is as enjoyable as listening to my husband snore at night. If you are taking trains most of the way, I highly recommend a backpack (Here is the one I personally always use for long term travel) or a Small Roller
  2. Will You Be Driving In Germany? If you are going to be driving most of your way, then having a larger suitcase isn’t AS big of a deal, because you’ll have space in your vehicle. However, just remember that some Guest Houses don’t have elevators, so you might find yourself with a 50 pound bag staring up at 5 flights of stairs. 

What Kinds of Clothes To Wear in Germany

What to wear in germany
A typical day’s clothing for our family in Germany

When traveling to different countries, I don’t always like to stick out as a tourist.  If you want to blend in a bit more with the locals, Germans tend to dress very “Smart Casual.”  Jeans are becoming more and more popular now, but you almost never will find people wearing jeans and a Tshirt kind of look.  Think more “Chic” yet still comfortable.  Some examples of how to dress in Germany would be: 

  • Tailored pants
  • Nice blouses and tops
  • Sun dresses
  • Shoes: Comfortable flats, ankle boots, loafers, etc.  Avoid tennis shoes

Avoid

  • Tennis shoes
  • Name brands plastered over shirts
  • Sports team wear
  • Shorts (these are becoming more common with the younger crowds, but you’ll most likely see more skirts, dresses, and capris.)
    * Men can get away with a dressier style of cargo shorts or bermuda style
  • Shoes that are even SLIGHTLY uncomfortable (there are a lot of cobblestoned streets and you’ll be doing a LOT of walking.  DO NOT put beauty over function!) 
  • No flip flops

 

What to Wear in Germany in Summer, Fall, or Winter

how to dress in Germany
A comfy sundress with slip on shoes and a cardigan is super versatile, yet chic

So here is the problem when figuring out what to pack when traveling to Germany (or creating an “Ultimate Packing List Guide”).

It will all depend on the season!!! What I recommend for packing for the summer in Germany is completely different than what I will tell you for a winter in Germany packing list.

Read: When Is the Best Time To Visit Germany

So, the best cop out answer I can give you is:

ALWAYS PACK LAYERS!!!!

Even if you are traveling to Germany in June, it can be shockingly cold and rainy for what most would consider a summer month.  I made this mistake on our very first backpacking in Germany trip.  I mean, we were going to be gone from June through July, so naturally, I packed mostly tank tops, short sleeve shirts, and capris.  Let’s just say I ended up having to find a store that sold long pants and sweaters because I couldn’t take another day of the cold!  But then by the end of our trip in July, it was beautiful, sunny weather!

Therefore, when packing, even in months you assume are hot, always toss in at least one longer layer of clothing.

For winter, layers are king! Sure, it can be cold and snowy but if you are walking around sightseeing, you can warm up shockingly quick, especially if you are visiting the Best German Christmas Markets and are sipping on some authentic Gluhwein

Read My What To Pack for Germany in December and the Winter Months

Packing List for Germany

what to pack for germany

As stated earlier, this may all need to be tweaked based on the time of year that you are traveling in Germany, but here is a pretty solid, general rule of thumb on what to pack when going to Germany.  In fact, I would stick to this list for all but winter packing (see that article above) and if it is fall or spring, just make sure that what you packed can be layered (so think lighter weight, quick dry type of clothing) that can be taken off or added on, depending on the weather that day.

Tops

  • 3-4 Simple, interchangeable tops 
  • 1-2 Nicer Blouses 
    • Men: 1-2 Dress shirts, or even just Polos will work well
  • Cardigan Style Sweater for layering
  • 1 Scarf: Even in the summer, a lightweight scarf is a great way to look chic but is also the perfect travel essential

Pants

  • 2-3 Pairs of Pants (ie: one pair of dressier jeans, one pair of slacks.  Women, you can also throw in a pair of nicer leggings)
    • Men: If it is summer, I suggest 1-2 long pants and 2-3 dressier shorts
  • 1 “Dressy” Outfit
    • Women: A nice sundress with a cardigan
    • Men: Fitted trousers and button up shirt (you can skip the tie unless you are going to an especially fancy function or there for business)
  • 1 Pair of “Outdoor” or “Hiking” style of pants (these are very popular here, even just for Germans sightseeing for the day as they are functional, yet comfortable) 

Jackets and Coats

packing tips Germany

  • 1 Lightweight rain jacket that can double as a normal jacket (trust me, you’ll want a rain jacket!)
  • 1 fleece style pull up/over jacket (I love my Columbia Jacket)

Shoes

Essentials

  • 5 pairs of travel (quick dry) underwear
  • 5 bras
  • 5 pairs of socks (I always put a spare in my day bag because wet feet make for cranky people!)
  • Nightwear

Miscellaneous 

Toiletries/ Others

  • Travel set of soap, shampoo conditioner (can always stop at a store for refills)
  • Shaving Cream/ Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste/ Brush
  • Chapstick
  • Hair Brush/ Comb
  • Sunscreen and lotion
  • Sunglasses
  • Bandaids
  • Glasses, Contacts/ Solution
  • Makeup. Hairspray
  • Feminine Hygeine Items
  • Any medicines you regularly take plus some Ibuprofin or Tylenol 
  • Hair Straightener (make sure it is dual voltage and bring a converter- more on this below). Check with hotels to see if they have hair dryers so that you don’t have to pack one
  • Travel Pillow/ Blanket
  • Eye Mask/ Ear Plugs
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Jewelry, watches. 

Luggage

Important Documents

  • Passport
  • International Driver’s Permit
  • Hotel/ Car/ Activity Reservation Print Outs (or downloaded to an easy to get to file in your phone)

Funds

  • Wallet or Purse
  • 2 No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards (Call ahead to notify them you will be traveling to Germany)
  • 2 Debit Cards

Tech

(Oher Essential )Things to take to Germany

Packing For Germany: Facemasks are required

  • Face Masks:  Currently, you will need an N95 mask for all public transportation and grocery stores (check what the current Covid regulations are) No, a cloth mask or disposable will NOT do.
  • Converter for Electronics: You’ll need this to charge your phone, use your hair straightener, etc.  I always bring several so that I can plug in multiple things.  Get a few here
  • Any guidebooks: I always love Rick Steves Germany books. 
  • Pocket Umbrella: Really, it’s most likely not a matter of IF it will rain but WHEN! Have a travel umbrella on hand at all times
  • Prepaid German SIM Card:
    • Orange Holiday Prepaid Sim: Get 20GB Here (Tip: Register on the “Orange Holiday” site prior to arriving in Germany, or else your messages will most likely be in French) 
    • Google Fi SIM Card: This is what we personally use when traveling.  

 

Packing Logistics For Germany

Money

I get asked all the time if you should exchange dollars to Euros before arriving in Germany and my answer is almost always NO.  Unless the exchange rate is insnately favorable to the US dollar, I almost always find it better to just wait until you arrive here.  

Most immediate purchases you need to make when first landing (IE: at the airport, a taxi, a bus ticket) can all be purchased with a credit card at the airport.  While there, find an ATM (if you are looking for one, you can ask for a “Geldautomat”).

How much Euro should you take out?

This is a tricky question.  If you are going to be staying on the more touristy paths, then a lot of places are now taking credit cards.  However, cash is still king in most of Germany.  There are many restaurants and even some guest houses that still only take cash.  If you have a low rate on an ATM, then I recommend taking out somewhere around 200 Euro for a 2 week trip.

Credit Cards

Whenever I travel to Germany (or international in general), I always carry several credit cards, in case one gets declined.  

  • Find a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees (this is essential!) 
  • Call your credit card company prior to travel to let them know that you will be international

Tickets

Plane: You’ll obviously want to have your plane tickets packed.

Train: If you are traveling by train long distance, I recommend purchasing those about 3 months in advance for best prices.  Otherwise, the regional day passes, like the Bayern Train Pass it’s best for you to just get the day of at the train station or on the Deutsche Bahn App. Even with the App, I am a bit anal and like to also have a printed copy of my tickets as well. 

Car Rental Info: Ok, this isn’t a TICKET, but I like to have my rental agreement also printed out so that when I arrive, there is little confusion

 

 

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