If you have ever considered going to Oktoberfest, you probably realize that it is going to be a rowdy, hectic, and most of all FUN atmosphere. However, there are a few things that you should avoid when you attend one of the world’s largest drinking festivals. This is not to say that any of these things are going to ‘ruin your fun’, but knowing what you can avoid is certainly going to enhance your experience.
Do not – just hope that you will find a place to stay
Remember that preparations for Oktoberfest should start well in advance of opening day. Hoping for a miracle of an affordable open room or sleeping it off in the train station may seem plausible at first, but you will start to regret it after the first two or three nights. If you do not book well in advance, chances are that you are going to have to stay at some of the less desirable hostels. This means that you are going to pay premium prices for non-premium accommodations. Honestly, you know you can do better by planning in advance, even if having a hostel is not necessarily a bad last-minute alternative.
Do not – Arrive early on a weekday
Some people think that it is best to arrive when the tents first open – this is not always true. For example, if you were to arrive at 10 AM on a Tuesday, you are going to see that people are not walking into their reservations until around the midafternoon. If you arrive at any point between 2 PM, you will find that there is plenty of space available and you can make friends with the people at your bench. You are also able to stay all night at some of the open-air beer gardens that do not take reservations
Do realize that ‘just showing up’ is going to be considerably more difficult if you have a large group of people with you, if you try to do so on the weekends, or during the opening and closing days of Oktoberfest. During these instances, it might pay to get yourself a reservation beforehand.
Do not – Drink to excess
Yes, it sounds like a contradiction, you are going to one of the largest alcohol celebration festivals in the world, and you should not drink to excess. You are more than free to get a little crazy, but remember that each mass is one liter of strong (average 6.3 percent) beer. This might even knock out experienced drinkers, and never mind the bathroom breaks that you are going to take.
If you really feel that you have to ‘sleep it off’, you can join the legions of Bierleichen who are taking a break on the hill. Bierleichen literally translates into ‘beer corpses’, which is an appropriate name for those who are no longer able to continue.
Do not – Forget to eat
If you are drinking a lot of beer, chances are that you are going to feel satiated before too long. Most people simply ignore the fact that they have to eat during the festival, because their stomach is already filled with delicious beer. This is a horrible idea, because skipping the food is a travesty, unless you are participating in a “What not to do at Oktoberfest” challenge. Look for the stands around the grounds or the many different waitresses (die Kellnerin) and order some of the good food that is available. This also presents you with a solid base for the alcohol, which means that you are less likely to get sick.
Do not – Eat the cookies
You should definitely stare at the colorful Lebkuchenherz that all have a number of different German phrases on them, but they are not there to serve as a snack. Even though they make for a great reminder and souvenir, they are solely for decorative purposes only. This means that you do not want to make the mistake of biting into one.
Do not – Expect to pay via credit card
This is something unheard of for many tourists, but you are not going to get far with a credit card at Oktoberfest. Cash is king here. Every round that you order at each tent is going to have to be paid immediately. Do yourself a favor and make sure that you have cash on hand, because otherwise you are not going to be able to enjoy yourself.
Do not – Assume you can smoke in the tents
Smoking is not allowed in the tents as of 2010. Even though there are outdoor smoking areas, you might find it hard to have someone hold your seat for you until you return. Especially if you do not have a friend holding your space, you will likely have an issue with keeping your seat reserved.