Europe Vacation and Travel Guide

GERMANY

MOVING TO GERMANY

Travel Tips

Browse our Guide to help you with your move to Europe.  We have everything you need to help you with your transition and getting settled in.
 

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Military Communities

USAG Ansbach
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USAG Heidelberg
USAG Schweinfurt
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USAG Wiesbaden


DOD Installations
 

Entertainment & Recreation

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Germany offers a variety of landscapes from the coast in the north to the Bavarian Alps in the south.  The country boasts a multitude of historical towns and cities, romantic castles, and excellent museums.  The tourism infrastructure is well developed and most of the people speak English. 

Our Favorite Germany Vacation Destinations

US MILITARY TIPS
US Air Force | US Army | US Navy | US Marine Corps
Berlin | Heidelberg | Frankfurt | Munich | Stuttgart

PCSing or going on TDY to Germany?
Use this page as your guide!

SHIPMENTS

Mail While Enroute
Ninety days prior to arrival date, your sponsor can contact the post office and complete DA Form 3955 and obtain a mailing address for you to begin forwarding your mail. All mail received will be held for your arrival. If you are delayed enroute, it is imperative that you notify your sponsor to inform the post office so your mail will not be returned to sender. If you do not have your orders yet, you can also mail packages for your sponsor to pick up and hold until your arrival.

Weight Allowances
I
n full Joint Travel Regulation Shipment (JFTR) shipment areas, personnel are authorized to ship their full weight allowance. However, it may not be wise to ship everything you own to Germany, due to the limited living space and storage areas both on and off-post. Also, single service members in the ranks of E4 and below are required to live in the barracks and should plan their shipments to accommodate these tight living quarters. NOTE: If space is available in the barracks (ie the incoming service member cannot get a statement of non-availability from the housing office), single E5s and E6s may be obligated to live in the barracks as well.

Shipping Weight Allowances

Pay Grade

W/ Dependents

W/O Dependents

O6 to O10

18,000

18,000

O5, W5

17,500

16,000

O4, W4

17,000

14,000

O3, W3

14,500

13,000

O2, W2

13,500

12,500

O1, W1

12,000

10,000

E9

14,500

12,000

E8

13,500

11,000

E7

12,500

10,500

E6

11,000

8,000

E5

9,000

7,000

E4 (over 3 years service)

8,000

7,000

E4 (under 3 yrs service)

7,000

3,500

E3

5,000

2,000

E2, E1

5,000

1,500

The Furnishings Management Office will provide beds, sofas, and other basic household furniture for use in temporary or permanent quarters until personal goods are delivered. The following are suggestions of what to bring in your shipment:

Hold Baggage/Unaccompanied Baggage
Hold Baggage or Unaccompanied Baggage should include the things you need when you first arrive. These are sent as a separate shipment from your household goods and should be coordinated to arrive close to your arrival. A shipment of Hold Baggage for your move to Germany is recommended due to the expected delay in securing permanent housing. Suggested items to include in your Hold Baggage Shipment:

- Linen/blankets/pillows: It is recommended you SEND THESE ITEMS THROUGH THE MAIL in a package addressed to your new mailing address or to your sponsor.
- Basic household supplies: Such as broom, dustpan, mop, etc.
- Child supplies: Toys, books, and other items to keep your kids busy and happy.
- Books, hobby items, and sports equipment: To keep you busy and happy.
- Clothes: Clothing items for more than one season. For example if your report day is July or August, you might still be living in a hotel or temporary housing when the cold weather hits so you need to make sure you have brought not only summer clothing but also fall and possibly some winter items. If your report date is late February or March, you will need both winter and spring clothing.
- Baby furniture: Crib, playpen, car seat, stroller, etc. Depending on the post, high-chairs, port-a-cribs, strollers and car seats may be available from the community Lending Closet for a short period of time. Talk to your sponsor about this possibility.
- Telephone/Answering Machine: An American phone with a cord can be used in Germany with a telephone jack adapter and the answering machine will require the use of a transformer. German versions of these items are also available for purchase at the PX Power Zone. DO NOT bring American cordless telephones that operate at 900MHz (this is the German emergency frequency).
- BBQ Grills: Whether you will be living on-post or off-post, you will most likely be living in apartment building conditions and not have much personal outdoor space. On-post, grills are typically kept in a central area next to the building. Off-post, most German apartments have balconies or terraces where grills can be used with the landlord's permission. Grills, charcoal, and other supplies are carried at the exchange (you can wait until you get here to buy a grill, but delivery is sometimes a complicated process). If you own a gas grill, you cannot bring the propane tank with you to Germany. With a deposit, AAFES will provide you with a tank that can be filled for approximately $14.00. When that tank becomes empty, you would then swap the empty tank for a fell one and pay only the $14.00 propane fee. When you PCS from Germany, you will turn in your tank for a full refund of your initial deposit.
- Small Appliances: No off-post and only some on-post housing units come equipped with 110v outlets and thus American appliances must be operated on a transformer. Transformers are very expensive items (up to $165.00 each) which often make it more costly to buy the transformer to run an American appliance than it would be to just buy the German 220v appliance. German appliances have a solid reputation, so you will probably be pleasantly surprised when you buy a new 220v hair dryer, coffee maker, and iron. When it comes time to give up these items, you will be able to sell your German appliances in the thrift shops or through classified ads in the community paper. However, if you use a specialty appliance (i.e. rice cooker, fry daddy) it will probably be hard to find on the German economy. In this case, it would be better to bring these appliances along.

Note: It is recommended that you do not ship expensive items such as TVs, VCRs, and computers with your hold baggage. The likelihood of damage is much greater in this shipment than in your household goods shipment.

Household Goods Shipment

What to Bring

- Lamps: Ignore and advice to the contrary -- BRING THEM! A simple and inexpensive plug adaptor and a German light bulb (both available from the exchange) are all that are needed.
- Rugs: Both post housing and German homes usually have tile and/or hard wood floors so rugs are important. AAFES only carries a limited supply of sizes and colors, and the mail room will not accept large packages. You can buy some beautiful area rugs in Germany, but they are generally high priced.
- Sewing Machine: If you use it, bring it.
- Decorative items: Bring any items that make your house a home, such as your favorite pictures and knick-knacks. You are permitted to paint and wallpaper the walls in post housing as long as the walls are returned to their original condition prior to you vacating the quarters.
- Storage-space items: Storage space in quarters is limited to a few closets and a small storage room in the basement. Also, German homes on the economy do not have any built-in closets. So bring any book cases, chests or hanging racks that you may want.
- Sporting/Recreational equipment: Bring bikes, tennis racquets, sleds, golf clubs, etc. Recreation facilities, both German and military, are available.
- Clothes: Bring clothing for hot, cold, and rainy weather. German climate is ever changing -- cover all the bases.
- Medications/Cosmetics: Special drug items or particular brands of cosmetics can be difficult to obtain. Make sure you have some method to order or obtain hard-to-get items from the States.
- Catalogs: Bring your favorite store's catalog or at least know their website for ordering those things you can't live without and won't be able to find in Germany.
- Television set: You can bring your stateside TV to Germany and it will pick up Armed Forces Network (one channel for free and approximately 18 channels with a cable subscription). If you want to watch German television, you will need to either buy a German television set or a multi-system (American/European) television set (available at the PX PowerZone).
- Computer: If your housing unit is not equipped with 110 electrical outlets, your computer should still work fine with a transformer. If your computer is dual 110/220 voltage, you can operate your computer from a German electrical outlet with the use of an inexpensive plug adapter. Internet is available through a variety of Internet Service Providers using a modem or ISDN connection. Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is also available in many areas.


What NOT to Bring

- Dishwashers: They can pose problems due to the high level of calcium in the local water. German dishwashers are best for local use -- they have filter systems and built-in water softeners. The vast majority of on-post housing units are equipped with built-in dishwashers in the kitchens. If a dishwasher is needed for an off-post apartment, they are available for purchase at the Robinson Barracks CX and in local German department stores. They should not be difficult to sell when you leave.
- Washers/Dryers: All on-post housing is either equipped with washers and dryers in each individual apartment unit or in a centralized group laundry room, depending on the particular building. The Furnishings Management Office will issue washers and dryers for off-post apartments.
- Electric Clocks: Electrical transformers which convert the German voltage from 220v to 110v do not convert the cycles of electricity (from 50Hz to 60Hz). An American plug-in clock will lost approximately 10 minutes every hour. Likewise, any American 110v outlets located in on-post housing will not convert the cycles.
- American cordless telephones and baby monitors: In the US these items typically operate at 900MHz. In Germany, the 900MHz frequency is reserved for police, ambulance, and fire department radios, and therefore it is illegal to operate 900MHz items. However, you may use a cordless phone that operates at a higher frequency (ie 1.2-1.5 GHz). German cordless phones can be purchases on-post at the AAFES PowerZone or at many off-post department stores, but they are typically more expensive than what you might be accustomed to ($75.00 and up).
- Cellular phones: Unless you have specified GSM worldphone with a SIM card slot, you will not be able to use your phone when you travel to Germany. German cellular phones are readily available and can be purchased both on and off-post. Off-post you will find the best bargains, especially if you are buying a phone with a 2-year contract.
- Lawnmower: Maintenance crews mow the lawns around on-post housing areas. On-post senior grade officer houses are equipped with lawnmowers. If an off-post apartment has any lawn, it is usually not more than a small patch of grass, and in most areas, gas powered lawn mowers are prohibited and manual or electric ones are used.

DOCUMENTS TO HAND CARRY

Do NOT put these documents with either Hold Baggage or Household Goods.

-Power of Attorney -Family military ID cards
-Stock and bond certificates -Installment payment contracts
-Family Social Security cards -Family shot records
-Birth certificates -Phone numbers for family/friends
-Court orders for divorce, child support or child custody -Will
-Marriage certificates -Real estate documents
-Adoption papers -Citizenship papers
-Car titles -Bank account information
-LES statements -Credit card account information
-TDY or PCS orders -Car registration
-Complete military address of military servicemember -Insurance papers
-Passports -Family travel orders
-POV shipping documents -School records, including Individual Education Plan
-Family medical/dental records -Household goods shipping documents
-Pet records -Driver's license

DAMAGED SHIPMENT?

SEE OUR GUIDE TO CLAIMS FOR LOSS/DAMAGE TO HOUSEHOLD GOODS/BAGGAGE

 

Castles

Heidelberg CastleHeidelberg
Heidelberg is the very image of romantic Germany.  The city's 17th Century red sandstone castle ruin and the old bridge are two of the most majestic sights in all of Germany.

Neuschwanstein CastleNeuschwanstein
Venture into the Bavarian Alps and visit the fairy tale landmark upon which the Walt Disney based his Disney Land Castle: Mad King Ludwig's Schloss Neuschwanstein.

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