Germany

How to Survive Oktoberfest

How would I describe Oktoberfest?

The month long festival hosted in Munich, Germany is arguably the wildest party that has ever occurred. Each year, millions of international people cram into tents sporting traditional German wear, with nothing to do but drink, eat and dance. Everyone should experience the chaos of Oktoberfest once in their life. I, on the other hand, intend to take part in the festival annually.

However, after making a few rookie mistakes at my first Oktoberfest, I learned a few valuable lessons.

  1. WEAR THE RIDICULOUS OUTFITS!

At my first Oktoberfest, I debated on purchasing a dirndl. The promiscuous costume is quite expensive when purchased in Munich, averaging around 50 euros. Considering that I would never wear a drindle again, unless I intended to be a German Beer Wench for the next few Halloween’s, it didn’t seem like a logical buy.

To my surprise, everyone at the festival wears either a dirndl or lederhosen, depending on their gender. The costumes are not only pertinent for inspiring spirit but they act as a buffer between you and the beer that will undoubtedly be spilled on you.

Instead of purchasing a dirndl, I wore a shirt, jeans and converse which unfortunately, ended up in the garbage. Try as you might, there is absolutely no way to avoid the immense amount of beer that will be spilled on you from cheersing and chugging. I desperately wish I had put out the 50 euros for a drindle, as I ended up throwing away at least 50 dollars worth of clothing.

My advice: order a cheap dirndl or lederhosen online before heading to Munich and bring shoes that you don’t care about.

2. BOOK LODGING WELL IN ADVANCE

When I say well in advance, I mean a year in advance. Book a room the minute you decide to attend Oktoberfest, do not hesitate. Look for lodging within walking distance to the festival, as it will save you money on public transportation. After downing several stein mugs of German beer, you will be grateful to only have to navigate a few roads back to the comfort of your bed.

3. TAKE A DAY OFF

The next Oktoberfest I attend will be at least a three day excursion. I will plan to indulge in the festival on the first and last day, with a day off in the middle for recovery. A recovery day might sound unnecessary, but believe me, after a full day of chugging stein mugs on tabletops, it is hard to get out of bed the next day. A recovery day also allots time for exploring Munich.

4. ARRIVE EARLY OR RESERVE A TABLE

Arriving late to the festival guarantees that you will be on your feet the entire day. After a few hours of dancing and holding up beers the size of your head, you’ll wish you had a seat. Opening times vary based on the day, so check online and arrive promptly to ensure a table. If arriving early isn’t your style, look into reserving a table to guarantee that you have a safe space to relax when your feet start to hurt. On populated weekends, many of the tents even reach capacity and close.

5. COME PREPARED

Cash is a necessity at Oktoberfest. Most of the festival is cash only. One stein mug is over 10 euros, so bring plenty to spend. In addition, many of the food and souvenir stands only accept cash. On the plus side, there is no entrance fee to the festival.

Other helpful tips:

  • Pick a meeting point in case you get separated from your group.
  • Download the Oktoberfest App. The App has a map of the entire festival, a description of each tent and what capacity they are at.