Travel around Germany this summer: my experiences
I’m an insatiable traveler in the best of times, close to panic if I don’t have the next trip booked when I’ve barely returned from the last. Even if it’s just a short break, like to go hiking in Saxon Switzerland. As you can imagine, with Corona releasing its grip on us, I am ready to hit the road. So far, I’ve been using this newfound freedom to tick some German destinations off my bucket list. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing what it’s like to travel around Germany this summer and how to do so responsibly.
What’s train travel around Germany like right now?
Train travel around Germany is – in many ways – the same as always. There may be slightly fewer people on board. And of course, you have to wear a mask the entire time you are in the train, except if you are eating at your seat. If you download the Deutsche Bahn app, you can now check yourself in, so that the inspectors don’t need to stop at your seat to validate your ticket.
Train travel around Germany has always been my favourite option. This summer, I’ve taken the ICE to Warnemünde (which has the longest white sandy beach in Germany) and to Bamberg (a gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Town in Bavaria – blog post to come!).
If you also plan to travel by train, here is a tip. (Not sponsored, just something I find very useful!) Instead of booking directly from the Deutsche Bahn website or app, you can buy your tickets via Omio or Trainline, usually for 50% off. Even when it comes to last minute trips. Conveniently, you can still add your tickets bought on another website to the DB app simply by typing in your reservation ID.
Travel around Germany and Maskenpflicht
As you would expect, Maskenplicht, or the obligation to wear a mask, is very widespread. In other states, I’ve noticed that they take masks even more seriously than in Berlin or Brandenburg. For instance, as I was entering Bamberg’s main train station, a police officer stopped me and told me to put on my mask. Just last weekend, I stayed on a campsite on the island of Rügen, where everyone had to wear masks even in the bathrooms.
You can also get a fine if you don’t cover your nose and mouth, so be prepared to wear a mask whenever you are in a public place. There are couple of exceptions, which I will outline below.
Restaurant protocol in Germany
Eating out is a huge part of traveling for a lot of people – me included. Restaurants, cafes and beer gardens have been quick to rearrange their space to make sure tables are at least 1.5 metres apart. In general, the following rule applies. Whenever you are not at your seat, you must wear your mask: when you enter, to go to the bathroom, to order. But of course, at the table, you can go mask-free.
Summer 2020 hotel stays
Shortly after booking my Bamberg stay, I got an email from my hotel outlining the new rules:
- Do not travel if you have had contact with sick people within the last 14 days or if you show signs of illness yourself.
- When entering and moving about the hotel, wear a mask and keep 1.5 metres from other parties.
- Contactless payment is preferred.
- No hand shakes.
- Cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow and wash your hands often (hand sanitiser was available in several places around the hotel).
Conclusion: is it worth traveling around Germany this summer?
It is 100% worth it! If you follow these rules and wear your mask, you’ll be able to discover many new places, while supporting a struggling industry. So if you are healthy, why not travel around Germany this summer?