7 tips for a better Oktoberfest experience

Oktoberfest kicks off this weekend in Munich. It’s one of the most iconic festivals in the world, and on many a person’s bucket list. That said, there are some right and wrong ways to attend this epic party. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Things book well in advance.

Want to go to Oktoberfest? Get on it early. Some people even recommend booking a year in advance. Once you decide you’re going, don’t lollygag. As the festival approaches, many central hotels are completely sold out or astronomically expensive. From hotel rooms and rental cars to reservations in the beer tents, your best bet is to book everything early.

Get there early.

If you don’t have a reservation, it is possible to get into a beer tent. But fashionably late is not a thing here (is being late ever really a thing for the Germans? I don’t think so). Your best bet is to arrive right when things open, at 10am on weekdays and 9am on weekends. I know what you’re thinking: Samantha, isn’t 9am too early for beer? Not in Germany, and certainly not at Oktoberfest! If you want to prost gusto, better get there in time for a beer breakfast.

Dress up.

Definitely not necessary, but way more fun and quite popular! You can find lederhosen and drindls in all sorts of stores locally, including TK Maxx (TJ Maxx’s German cousin), C & A (a local and fairly inexpensive department store) or really in any shopping district.

Bring cash.

Some tents take plastic, others don’t. Get to the ATM before you go—the waitresses will thank you and you’ll save yourself headaches.

Leave the backpacks at home.

They’re not allowed. You’ll need to check any bag over 3 litres or larger than 20cm x 15cm x 10cm. Leave anything non-essential behind. The good news? The less you carry with you, the easier you will find it to move around the busy parts of Oktoberfest.

Tipping makes the world go round.

The whole tipping thing is different across Europe. In most places, you simply leave your change at the table—none of this 15-20 percent thing we’re used to in the states. However, during Oktoberfest, tipping the wait staff will put you in good graces and keep the pilsners a-comin’!

Be respectful & use common sense.

You’ve spent hours in a plane, train or automobile to experience one of the world’s biggest parties. Let loose, but remember to be safe and treat your fellow revelers and especially those working with respect. Don’t venture off on your own, especially at night. Always have a backup plan in case you accidentally lose your group or have a few too many doppelbocks—keep your hotel’s address and phone number written down and maybe even stash an emergency 20 in your sock (or bra or that tiny fifth pocket on your jeans). You might need it for a cab, or more likely, for some street food post-festival.

Oktoberfest is one of the most iconic festivals in the world, and on many a person’s bucket list. That said, there are some right and wrong ways to attend this epic party. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Have you been to Oktoberfest? What did you think? Share any tips in the comments!

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