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7 Things to Know About Oktoberfest

©istockphoto/juergen2008

©istockphoto/juergen2008

Oktoberfest is Germany’s largest “Volksfest” (people’s festival) that is held in Munich, Germany. This 16-day festival runs from the last week in September through the first half of October. It’s a world-renowned festival that attracts millions of visitors, and here is what to know before you go to Oktoberfest.

Book Accommodation Early
If you want to find affordable accommodation that doesn’t require a long train ride, then book your hotel early. Smart planners book close to a year in advance. Central hotel rates increase during Oktoberfest and sell out early. Airbnb is another option, but rates generally increase during these three weeks.

All About the Beer
Germans love beer and, for some, beer is the Bavarian water. Beer is sold en masse, where one liter of beer equates to 33 ounces, which is just over four cups of beer. Beer drinkers need to understand their limitations because Oktoberfest beer is a special brew—an extra strong concoction that is 1.3 percent stronger than a typical beer.

The Wurst Vegan
Plant-based eaters need not worry. Germans eat a lot of pig, but vegans and vegetarians can eat soy-based products. Various stands around Oktoberfest sell vegan and vegetarian wurst and food. In fact, some tents offer gluten-free beer.

The Crowd Hater
If you hate crowds, visit Oktoberfest during the weekday. Approximately six million people visit Oktoberfest, so it’s impossible to escape crowds, but most people visit on the weekends. For a more relaxed experience, visit the wine tent where the older and more proper Germans hang out.

©istockphoto/Nikada

©istockphoto/Nikada

Beer Tent Reservations
Yes, it is true. You need a ticket reservation to visit one of the 14 beer tents. This is probably the most stressful planning piece of Oktoberfest. Tents feature a variety of “essen” (food) from traditional German food to seafood specialties. You can make reservations online and choose the most appropriate available time. Remember, if you are not eating and drinking, you maybe kicked out. So drink slowly.

If you decide to visit Oktoberfest without a reservation, expect to wait in a long line. You can find more information about reservations here. Reservations are made directly with each tent.

Bring Small Purses
Ladies, leave your big bags at the hotel. Oktoberfest is crowded and nothing is more annoying than a bulky purse prodding a drunken person. Maintain a calm atmosphere and wear a small, crossbody purse. These purses are the best because you can watch your belongings without hands reaching inside large bags.

Leave Coats in the Hotel
Germany’s weather fluctuates between sun and rainstorms. Inside tents, there is no place to hang or leave your coat. Plus, tents are warm thanks to mass quantities of booze-infused bodies. Placing your coat on the ground is a recipe for disaster or theft.

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