Immigration Rules for your vacation in Germany
• EU citizens don't need a visa.
• Citizens of the USA, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and Switzerland do not need a visa for stays up to 3 months (only passport).
• Most nationalities from Africa and Asia need a visa for any purpose.
• No matter where you come from - you are required to carry your passport or ID.
Credit Cards and the Euro Currency on Vacation in Germany
• Official currency is the Euro "€".
• Credit cards are not very common, use them only for petrol stations, large shops and major hotels.
• Most acceptability have American Express, MasterCard and Visa.
• Carry cash or a Eurocheque card as well.
• Change money at banks, post offices, airport or train stations.
• Travellers cheques are hardly accepted.
• Most banks are affiliated with several international ATM networks (Cirrus, Plus, Star and Maestro).
Daylight saving times, Summer and Winter time - Times in Germany
Germany operates on Central European time (CET), which means that the country is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST) in the United States and 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Summer daylight saving time comes into effect on the last Sunday in March at 2am, when clocks are put forward one hour and ends on the last Sunday in October. Official times (eg shop hours, train schedules) are usually indicated by the 24-hour clock, eg 0730 is 1930.
Most public pay phones no longer accept coins but only Deutsche Telecom (DT) phonecards, which are available in denominations of € 5, € 10, and € 15 from post offices, newsagents, some tourist offices and public transport offices. You can also buy prepaid cards from other providers which can save money and are used by dialing a PIN. Credit cards can only be used from a small number of public phones.
Germany operates on a GSM network, which is compatible with the rest of Europe and Australia, but not with the North American or the totally different system in Japan. T-Mobile, Cingular and some other U.S. wireless firms do use GSM, but on different frequency bands. A multi-band cell phone allows you to use the same phone in the USA and Europe. However, there are several alternatives, including buying or renting an unlocked GSM wireless phone just for use in Europe and other GSM areas of the world (about 190 countries). The coverage is good in Germany, and there's a funny thing you should know: When Germans talk about their cell phones, they use an english word for it you may not understand: They call it "Handy".
• Electric sockets are 230 volts AC, 50 Hz.
• European-style round two-pin plugs are in use.
• You need a transformer and a plug that fits the German socket.
Driving the famous German Autobahn
• There are no tolls to pay on German Autobahn.
• Strict drink driving laws, only allowing 0.5 per mil blood alcohol.
• Seat belts front and rear are obligatory everywhere.
• No hand-held mobile phones are allowed while driving.
• To hire cars you'll need to be at least 21 years old and hold a valid driving licence and a major credit card.
Speed limits on Autobahn and other roads:
• Speed limits are implemented rigorously, radar traps are frequent.
• City 31mph/50kph, two laned highway 62mph/100kph.
• Unless otherwise marked, most motorways (Autobahn) have no speed limit but 81mph/130kph is recommended.
• Every valid driving licence is accepted.
• Non-EU (European Union) members need an international driving license or an official German translation.
Driving rules in Germany:
• If there is no policeman, no signal or no sign indicating the right-of-way, then right-of-way is always given to traffic approaching from the right. This also includes situations where main roads and small side streets cross at uncontrolled intersections.
• Driving in Germany is on the right hand side, overtaking only on the left side.