Any lover of beer or fun festivals ought to know about Oktoberfest
. You might even be planning to go there yourself this year, aren't you? If you are, then know that it's not an easy event to navigate. Make no mistake—Oktoberfest is as fun and as exciting as it seems. But if it's your first time going there, things can go haywire if you're not careful. That's why it's better to know a few tips beforehand. For one thing, make sure to bring a lot of cash. At the same time, it's better to learn some basic German phrases. And to avoid any accidents, don't drink and ride!
Learn Some Basic Lingo
First things first, it pays to learn some basic Oktoberfest lingo. Not only will this help you break the language barrier if you don't speak German, but you can better immerse yourself in the festival experience as well. Firstly, locals refer to Oktoberfest as “Wies” which refers to the permanent home of the festival, Theresienwiese. Remember this if you notice that you always hear the Germans say this word. When you want to order beer, say “Eine Maß, bitte” (eye-n Mass, bit-uh). And finally, when you want to do cheers, just say 'Prost!' They all sound simple enough, right?
Always Have Cash On You!
Perhaps what most people love about Oktoberfest—apart from the free-flowing beer, of course!—is that it's free. You don't have to pay any entrance fee to get inside. With that said, however, buying beer, eating food, going on rides, and more will cost a lot. You'd be surprised at how pricey some of the stalls are. And in this regard, you need to have some cash on you. Not all of the vendors accept credit cards, and even if some do, you still have to leave some tips. So don't just leave your bills and coins in your German luxury rental
before going to Oktoberfest. Bring some with you!
Take Their Traditional Costumes Seriously
One of the most well-known qualities of Oktoberfest is its sheer display of traditional German (specifically Bavarian) culture. In fact, lederhosen
-clad men and dirndls
-wearing women chugging huge mugs of beer has become the quintessential image of Oktoberfest, which itself is almost like a national German holiday
. And yes, the locals expect you to wear the same too. It's not exactly a requirement, per se, but the crowd will like you better if you do. Just make sure to wear their trachten
respectfully. They should have the right length and constructed in the right fabrications. Don't go all stereotypically sexy with their traditional wear. That is disrespectful.
Don't Drink and Ride!
It's worth noting that Oktoberfest isn't just a massive beer-drinking session. Though that's the most famous part of the festival, it's also still a regular old fun fair that the whole family can enjoy. There are various rides you can go on throughout the festival, but make sure you're not drunk when you do. The rides are mostly for the kids and teenagers who went to Oktoberfest to have fun but aren't old enough to drink beer yet. It's wholly inappropriate if you go on rides alongside them while you're inebriated. Even worse if you puke in the middle of the ride!
Be Ready to Socialize with Strangers
If you've seen the structure of Oktoberfest, you'll notice that long tables dominate the tents and stalls. Typically, fair stalls would have their own designated areas for dining. Or that the tables are separated so that you won't have to sit with people you don't know. In this famous German festival, however, it's the complete opposite. Not only do you have no choice but to sit with strangers, it's practically part of the tradition. The festival is as much a social event as it is a tradition. It's among the best places to make friends in Germany.
Planning to bring a lot of stuff to Oktoberfest? Well, that's not exactly a good idea! For one thing, festivals like these will have you walking around a lot. If you bring too much stuff,—say, a full-on carry-on luggage
—you'll just unnecessarily tire yourself out. And even if you do find a seat, remember that you'll be surrounded by strangers. There's no telling who among them might not have the best intentions when it comes to seeing other people's stuff. So to relieve yourself of any unneeded burden, just bring the essentials (i.e. your phone, cash, ID, etc.).
Keep Your Stuff Secure
Whatever you do end up bringing with you to Oktoberfest, just make sure they remain as safe and secure as possible. It can't be stressed enough that you'll have to sit, drink, and socialize with strangers when you go to this festival. Camaraderie aside, you never know what might happen to your stuff if you're not careful. Some people might steal, some might accidentally get them by mistake, or it's possible that you might leave something behind and because they don't know who you are (or are too intoxicated to remember you), they won't be able to return it to you.
Prepare for Some Rain
An umbrella and/or a raincoat should be among the few items you'll bring to Oktoberfest. Remember that the festival is held from mid-September to early October, right around the start of autumn. Summer has likely long gone and the temperature has lowered a bit. More often than not, Munich, just like any other part of Germany, will likely see some rain as well. That won't stop Oktoberfest though, as the festival is made up of big tents and the like. You can still have lots of fun as long as you have the right gear to protect yourself from the rain.
Beware of The “Wiesn Flu”
The recent Covid-19 pandemic proved that unsanitized human contact can lead to a lot of consequences. Sure, the jovial mood and the exciting atmosphere might lead you to hug and kiss people around you (even more so if you've already had your fair share of beer), but you still need to be careful. Even before Covid, “Wiesn Flu” was already a big thing. It was common for Oktoberfest attendees to get sick after the festival, hence the dreaded nickname. So don't forget to keep clean and drink your vitamins during and after you go to Oktoberfest.
Are you going to Oktoberfest this year? Is it your first time attending this annual event? Then you'd do well to follow a few tips. Oktoberfest is unlike any other festival out there so knowing how to navigate it properly will help!