Traveling Tips and Experience in Germany

Being in France gives many traveling opportunities and it is fairly inexpensive. I have used multiple methods of travel while being here(bus, plane, train) and there are many things I learned along the way! Concerning flights, you must take a bus to get to the airport in Marseille. This bus is seven euros for a 30-minute ride, BUT if you get the cartetreize from the Gare-Routière (bus station in Aix), it is only two euros which saves you a lot of money in the long run! I did not know this the first time I went to the airport and overly paid for a short bus ride. The cartetreize is free and does not take much to obtain(just fill out an application online and bring your passport). I highly recommend getting it before school goes into full swing!

A popular airline used here is RyanAir. This company provides extremely cheap flights throughout France BUT there are many catches. For example, printed tickets are required and you can only print out tickets 24 hours in advance unless you buy a reserved seat. When in a hostel or Airbnb, it is not guaranteed there will be a printer, so buying a seat on the way back is ideal. These seats range from 4-7 euros, so it is not that bad. If you check-in/print the ticket at the airport, it is 55 euros(yikes!). Also, some flight attendants are very strict on baggage size. The free bag allowed on board is slightly smaller than a carry-on in the states. It is important to note this because it is more expensive to pay for the baggage when you are boarding the plane than to pre-buy a bigger size bag. It is perfectly doable to have a smaller bag(roughly school backpack size), but if you are a heavy packer, this is important to note!

Decorative doors on buildings in Munich, Germany. Clock tower in Munich, Germany.

Architecture in Munich, Germany.  Large building with lots of spires.
Cool architecture in Munich!

My first experience traveling was to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest and the journey to the city center itself was a little more complex because we did go a cheaper route. We took a plane into Stuttgart, Germany and then a 3-hour bus to Munich which was fortunately only a 15-minute walk from the hotel we were staying at. Many people go to the campsites associated with Oktoberfest which are actually kind of far from the “fair-ground” that Oktoberfest is located at. It is important to look into proximity to things you want to do and where you are staying or the cheaper stay might actually add up because of travel expenses. In Munich, a day pass for the trains/subways/buses was 16 euros for five people, so some locations can be cheaper than others. My friends and I went to the Dachau Concentration Camp(which is free!) and used this pass to get there.

A stone monument to people who suffered at Dachau, Germany.

The two main events of my weekend were going to visit the Dachau Concentration Camp and Oktoberfest. The camp was something extremely moving and was a very important experience for me. It is one thing to hear about these camps in class and another to see the conditions first hand. The displays also had more facts that are not taught in school that were hard to read/see. Although sad, highly recommended.

Several German girls in German dresses.   German girls eating pretzels.

I did not know what to expect for Oktoberfest, but it still was not what I expected. There was a large crowd and it almost felt festival-like. It was complicated to find a tent to obtain food and beverages at. It was also a very cool experience because there were people from all over Europe in these tents. While waiting to be served, I had conversations with people not only from Germany but also Italy, Austria, and the Netherlands. There were also many study abroad students–this apparently is typical of the second weekend of Oktoberfest. It was quite fun and allowed me to experience an event where all kinds of people and cultures could enjoy.

P.S. wear closed-toe shoes to Oktoberfest!

Sierra Miller