Planning to visit Germany? One of the big things you’re likely scratching your head about is figuring out what to pack for Germany.
Central Europe’s most popular travel destination sports a typical continental European climate. What you decide to bring along will depend almost as much on when you decide to visit Germany as your personal preferences!
A little confused as to where to start? Let this complete Germany packing list guide the way…
Table of Contents
What to pack for Germany: A complete packing list for travellers
As with most destinations, one of your first thoughts in planning a trip to Germany should be setting yourself up with a solid travel insurance policy. But unlike many other places, skipping out on travel insurance for Germany might not even be a viable option.
If you require a Schengen Visa for your travels to Germany, you’re required to carry an insurance policy with at least €30,000 in medical coverage that’s valid for all 26 Schengen states.
And even if you’re lucky enough to hold a passport that allows for visa-free travel in Europe, keep in mind that health care costs in Germany can be quite expensive. If you find yourself in a medical emergency requiring hospitalization or evacuation, it’s inevitable that it’ll take a big chunk out of your wallet.
On top of medical expenses, a good travel insurance policy will protect you against incidentals like baggage theft and loss, damaged goods, and trip cancellation.
Not sure where to start looking for coverage? Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. Unlike other insurance providers, you can also buy—and extend—your coverage on the fly on the road.
Get an instant no-obligation quote at World Nomads.
Guidebooks & Phrasebooks
- Guidebooks: Even if you’re gung-ho about using tech to its fullest, having a paper guidebook by your side is a smart move. As with most destinations, I recommend picking up a copy of Lonely Planet Germany as it covers both the country’s most popular and lesser-known corners.
- Phrasebooks: Although most travellers will have no problem travelling around Germany with English alone, Germans really do appreciate the extra effort to speak their native tongue. The Lonely Planet German Phrasebook & Dictionary is a good place to start.
- Language learning resources: If you want to dig further into the German language, I’d highly recommend picking up a copy of the audio/book combo course Teach Yourself Complete German, which will get you to a lower-intermediate level of speaking & comprehension.
Luggage & Accessories
- Backpack: Whether you’re planning to spend just 10 days in Germany or a month, I’d almost always recommend packin’ up everything into backpack (rolling luggage doesn’t exactly perform amazingly on Europe’s cobblestoned old town streets). For shorter trips, the Standard Luggage Carry-On Travel Backpack is a fantastic choice. If you’re looking for something a tad larger, the Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Backpack, available in either 35L or 45L configurations, is also brilliant.
- Daypack: If your trip itineraries usually take you out and about, be sure to bring along a daypack. I’d highly recommend the Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Daypack as it folds down flat in your luggage and is ready in a pinch to carry all your essential travel gear for a day out.
- Packing Cubes: For staying organized, packing cubes are never a bad idea. Although they’re specifically designed to fit in their own backpacks, the innovative & high-quality Standard Luggage Packing Cubes will work in any luggage. They’re modular and stick together using velcro to double as a hanging travel dresser!
- Universal Power Adapter: Thanks to the popularity of USB charging and dual-voltage devices, those old-school bulky voltage adapters are often no longer necessary. A more versatile choice is to pick up a universal power adapter with plug-in sizes to fit outlets around the world. With this one adapter, you’ll be able to charge up to 4 devices via USB and one with the universal socket.
- Portable Charger: If the thought of running out of juice midday scares you, don’t forget to bring along a portable charger. With a lightweight compact charger like the Anker Powercore 10000, you’ll get 10000mAh to charge your portable electronics on the fly via USB.
- Pocket WiFi: Don’t want to rely on spotty free WiFi for your Internet browsing pleasure? Rent yourself a 4G/LTE Pocket WiFi Router for Germany! The rental includes unlimited data usage and allows you to connect up to 10 devices.
- Headphones: Whether for a long transatlantic flight or the train ride between Berlin and Munich, listen to your music or podcasts in peace with a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. I personally love using the Sony WH1000XM3 Noise-Cancelling Headphones. They’re super comfortable, sound great, and feature superb noise-cancelling technology that’s best-in-class.
- Kindle: The only time that my obsession with paperbacks doesn’t follow me is while I travel. Cut down the bulk in your luggage by storing your favourite books on the Kindle Paperwhite. The non-backlit screen offers an e-reading experience that’s as close as you’ll get to the real thing. Compared to most tablets, the battery life is also stellar.
- Camera: I was once a staunch supporter of using DSLRs for travel. That is until I got a Fuji XT-20 Mirrorless Digital Camera into my hands. The lightweight design features manual adjustment dials for a retro look & feel unlike any other camera on the market. And the image quality is absolutely superb! If you’re okay with something a tad bulkier (but with even better image quality), the Fuji XT-3 Mirrorless Digital Camera won’t let you down.
Virtual Private Network
Even if you decide to arm yourself with your own 4G/LTE Pocket WiFi Router Rental, whenever you connect to the Internet your data could be a risk. That’s why I always recommend connecting through a VPN—especially while travelling!
One of the best travel VPN providers is NordVPN.
NordVPN offers secure connections through over 5,800 servers in 60 countries worldwide. Even while you’re in Germany, you can connect through a server in your home country to keep up on localized content like Netflix!
Besides concealing your location, NordVPN uses military-grade double-encryption technology to keep your most sensitive data safe. Based in Panama, NordVPN is also able to follow a “no-server-log” policy, meaning they don’t record or store your browsing history server-side!
PRO TIP: For a limited time, get 75% off of a three-year NordVPN plan by clicking here!
- Rain Jacket: Even if you manage to pick the absolute best time to go to Germany, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter some rainfall. For the hot & humid European summer, the lightweight & breathable Outdoor Research Helium II is an excellent choice. During the cooler spring & fall months, a slightly heavier rain jacket like the Patagonia Torrentshell will give you a little more warmth and stronger weather protection.
- Fleece Jacket: For the cooler spring & fall (or as a mid-layer in the coldest winter months), you’d do well to add a fleece jacket to your Germany packing list. The Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket is a comfortable pick that’s among the top-rated fleece jackets for men.
- Softshell Jacket: Active travellers heading to Germany in the spring and fall may opt instead for a versatile softshell over a fleece. They tend to be a little stretchier than fleece and offer slightly better wind- and weather-proofing. The North Face Apex Bionic 2 is my own personal choice among the top men’s softshell jackets.
- Hardshell Jacket: In the winter months, especially if you’re planning to hit the slopes, a weatherproof hardshell jacket is a smart thing to pack. You wouldn’t go wrong by bringing along the Outdoor Research Men’s Interstellar.
- Scarf: If you’re planning on visiting in the winter months (hello, German Christmas markets!), keep your neck warm with a soft & comfortable scarf like the Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Scarf. For carving the pistes in Southern Germany, this will be a life-saver.
- Winter Hat: Although Germany hardly sees the harsh winters of other destinations further north in Europe like Finland or Sweden, for the sub-zero temperatures of winter, a good winter hat will go a long way for keeping you warm. A unique option is the Sherpa Adventure Gear Renzing Hat, a toque handcrafted in Nepal from lambswool and lined with a soft Polarfleece that adds comfort and helps wick away sweat.
- Gloves: If you want to keep your hands nice and toasty, don’t forget to pack a pair of warm winter gloves. The Outdoor Research Flurry Sensor Gloves are a good choice for the digitally-inclined as they feature touch-screen-compatible finger tips to allow you to get that perfect Christmas market Instagram shot without removing your gloves.
- Hat: In the scorching summer months, it’s a great idea to bring along a hat to protect yourself from sun stroke and heat exhaustion. Although it’ll come down to fashion preference, I can’t help but recommend the Patagonia Fitz Roy Bear Trucker Hat for its chill retro styling.
- Rain Jacket: It’s almost inevitable that at least a little rain will hamper your Germany travel plans. In the dead heat of summer, the Outdoor Research Helium II is one of the best lightweight choices. For the cooler months, go with something like the Patagonia Torrentshell, one of the top-rated women’s rain jackets.
- Fleece Jacket: When the cooler days of late fall and early spring, it’s a great idea to drop a comfortable fleece jacket into your packing list. The Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket is insanely cushy & comfy and one of the top-rated women’s fleece jackets.
- Softshell Jacket: If you’re planning on doing some hiking in spring or fall, a stretchy softshell might be a better choice than a fleece. It’s hard to not recommend The North Face Apex Bionic 2 for its comfort and value among the top women’s softshell jackets.
- Hardshell Jacket: Skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts will probably want to look for something a little warmer and substantial during the cooler months than a regular rain jacket. The Outdoor Research Interstellar is one of the best choices in its class.
- Scarf: Don’t let the cool winds of winter creep through your outerwear! Keep cozy with a comfortable scarf like the Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Scarf.
- Winter Hat: Beat the deep-freeze and keep your head toasty by throwing a winter hat into your list. The Sherpa Adventure Gear Rani Hat is an interesting choice. It’s handcrafted at small Nepalese co-ops and made from lambswool lined with Polarfleece for extra comfort and moisture-wicking abilities.
- Gloves: To keep your hands warm during the winter months, don’t forget to throw some gloves into the mix. The Outdoor Research Flurry Sensor are a great choice for travellers thanks to the siliconed fingertips that are compatible with smartphone touchscreens.
- Hat: Protect yourself from heat exhaustion and sunstroke by wearing a hat during the hot summer months in Germany. The retro look of the Patagonia Women’s Fitz Roy Bison Layback Trucker Hat makes for an interesting fashion statement.
- Walking Shoes: If you’re looking for all-around travel shoe to take you from city-to-city, it’s hard to find anything that’s more comfortable than the slip-on Sketchers Go Walk 3 Walking Shoes.
- Hiking Shoes: For more adventurous pursuits in the outdoors, you may want to bring along a pair of hiking shoes instead. For the hotter summer months, the lightweight & sporty adidas outdoor Ax2 will fit the bill. If you’re planning to hit up wet hiking trails, the adidas outdoor Terrex Swift R2 GTX offers similar comfort & functionality with waterproofing.
- Sandals: For summer walking through Germany’s best hiking trails, you might prefer an airy pair of sandals over a regular hiking shoe. The KEEN Newport H2 offer excellent support for hikers. In an urban environment, the more casual Merrell Men’s Downtown Backstrap might be preferable.
- Socks: For your flight over to Germany, I’d highly recommend picking up a pair of Wanderlust Air Travel Compression Socks. These innovative socks are designed to prevent DVT blood clots during air travel and provide extra comfort and cushioning during sustained periods of walking. For everyday wear, the moisture-wicking and cushy adidas Climacool Superlite Quarter Socks are my personal choice. For winter visits, pack a couple pairs of a high-quality wool sock like Darn Tough Vermont Hiker Boot Full Cushion Socks.
- Walking Shoes: For most travellers, a simple pair of walking shoes will get you through most situations in Germany. I can’t say enough good things about the comfort of Sketchers Go Walk 3 Walking Shoes.
- Hiking Shoes: Taking on the trails in Germany, you’ll require a shoe with a little more support. The adidas outdoor Terrex AX3 is a great all-around choice for warmer weather while the Merrell Moab FST 2 is one of the best waterproof hiking shoes for women.
- Sandals: In the heat of summer in Germany, you might prefer a pair of sandals over regular shoes. If you’re planning to take on some tougher terrain, get something with good support like the KEEN Newport H2. For walking through cities, the Merrell Around Town Backstrap should do the trick.
- Socks: Although you might be tempted just to pack your everyday socks for your Germany trip, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend picking up a pair or two of Wanderlust Air Travel Compression Socks. They’re designed to prevent DVT blood clots for frequent fliers. For most situations, the moisture-wicking and breezy adidas Climacool Superlite Quarter Socks will suit the bill. If you’re visiting in winter (especially if you’re planning to outdoor activities), grab a couple high-quality pairs of wool socks like Darn Tough Vermont Hiker Boot Full Cushion Socks.
- Travel Pants: If you’re serious about packing lighter, then replacing your regular pants with travel pants is a must! Travel pants are made with lightweight materials and are designed to be more packable and breathable than your everyday pant. For all-around day-to-day use, the Patagonia Quandary Travel Pants are fantastic and rank among the top-rated men’s travel pants.
- Travel Shirts: Similarly, swapping out your regular shirts for those designed specifically for travel will help save some space and weight in your luggage. Both the KUHL Stealth Shirt or the more straightforward & casual REI Co-op Sahara T-Shirt are great choices. For winter in Germany, the moisture-wicking REI Co-op Men’s Midweight Base Layer Crew Top makes for an awesome base layer.
- Sweaters: During the cooler fall & spring months, you’ll want to add a sweater or two to your Germany packing list. With its organic cotton and COOLMAX polyester blend, the Patagonia Long-Sleeved Yewcrag Crew is a great for active adventures. For colder weather, the comfortable Patagonia P-6 Label Lightweight Full-Zip Hoodie is a little toastier.
- Travel Shorts: For travelling in the hot European summer, you’ll absolute love donning a pair of travel shorts like the Patagonia Quandary Shorts. Their lightweight stretch-woven fabric, spun from 95% nylon (65% recycled) and 5% spandex with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish, is perfect for active adventures.
- Swimsuit: Since this is Europe, your choice of swimwear won’t be restricted in any way! I personally prefer to pack a pair of versatile lightweight & quick-drying boardshorts like Patagonia Stretch Planing Boardshorts.
- Travel Pants: One of the easiest ways to drop some weight in your baggage is to swap out your regular jeans with some of the top-rated women’s travel pants like the prAna Halle Travel Pants or, for a dash of style, Anatomie Skyler Travel Pants.
- Travel Shirts: Since the summers in Germany can be hot & humid, going as lightweight as possible with your shirts is smart packing. Both the Columbia PFG Tamami II Short-Sleeve Shirt or the REI Co-op Sahara Heather T-Shirt are good simple choices for staying cool. During winter, stay warm by packing a moisture-wicking base layer like the REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Crew Top.
- Sweaters: Between fall & spring, you’ll want to pack some warmer midlayers like the The North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip or The North Face Crescent Wrap.
- Travel Shorts: Like your other wardrobe choices, you should go as lightweight & packable as possible with your shorts selection to save as much weight and room as possible in your luggage. For active pursuits, the Patagonia Happy Hike Shorts are super lightweight & stretchy and feature a durable water repellant finish.
- Travel Skirts/Dresses: In fashion-conscious Europe, packing skirts and travel dresses is a must! For travellers, there’s hardly a better choice than the Royal Robbins Discovery Travel Skirt. It’s not just stylish, but designed specifically for travellers to be lightweight & breathable with a side-zip security pocket.
- Swimsuit: If you want to spend time on lakeside beaches or the northern coast of Germany during the summer, be sure to pack along a swimsuit. Since European fashion standards are among the world’s most relaxed, nearly anything goes here.
- Hanging Toiletry Bag: To keep all your toiletries organized as your trudge along on your Germany itinerary, pick up a case like the ProCase Hanging Toiletry Bag. It hangs up in the bathroom for quick access to your essentials.
- Travel Towel: Although you’ll find most decent hotels in Germany supplying towels to guests, if you’re planning on day trips outside of the city, packing a quick-dry towel like the value-laden REI Co-op Multi Towel Deluxe is never a bad idea.
- Travel Umbrella: There’s a very good chance you’ll get into some rain showers while visiting Germany. Be sure to bring along a lightweight and packable umbrella like the Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella.
- RFID Wallet: Digital theft is on the rise and one of the easiest ways to protect yourself is with an RFID-blocking wallet that will protect your debit & credit card information from would-be thieves. The Travelambo RFID-Blocking Minimalist Wallet is up to the task.
- RFID Passport Protector: If you’re travelling on a newer biometric e-passport, be sure to pick up an RFID-blocking passport protector like the Zoppen RFID Travel Wallet & Organizer to protect your information. It’s got plenty of room for both solo travellers and families including several slots for passports and boarding passes.
- Travel Pillow: If you’re not interested in wasting a good opportunity to sleep on long-haul flights or long-distance train rides, be sure to bring along a cushy travel pillow. The innovative BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow is a unique design that supports your chin in addition to offering comfort to your head for a more restful sleep.
- Sleep Mask: Although I never travel with one myself, many travellers swear by sleep masks. To immerse yourself in total darkness on flights and sleeper trains, the ALASKA BEAR Natural Silk Sleep Mask is a great choice.
- Ear Plugs: If you have trouble sleeping among noise, bring a pair of good ear plugs along. Far better than your run-of-the-mill foam ear plugs are the Luiswell Travel Ear Plugs, designed with frequent air travellers in mind to adjust altitudinal pressure changes.
- Water Bottle: When hiking is on the agenda for your Germany trip, bring along the innovative GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle, featuring a UV filter to remove impurities including bacteria, viruses, and heavy metals from any water source. For urban adventures, the Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle is a nice compact option for travellers.
- Hair Dryer & Straightener: Although most mid-range & luxury hotels in Germany will include a hair dryer, you may still want to pick up a dual-voltage hair dryer like the Jinri 1875-Watt Travel Hair Dryer. To keep the frizz to a minimum during Germany’s hot & humid summers, bring along a compact travel straightener like the Jinri Professional Travel Flat Iron.
- Oral Care: Don’t forget to bring along your toothbrush, mouthwash, toothpaste, and floss. If you happen to forget though, rest assured that they will be easy to find in German pharmacies.
- Body Wash/Hair Care: If you’re staying in good hotels, you can probably save weight in your bag by skipping on toiletries. In most cases, you’ll have no trouble finding many of your favourite brands in Germany.
- Hairstyling Products: Keep your hair in tip-top shape by bringing along your favourite gel, mousse, hairspray or wax. In a pinch, you’ll likely be about to find suitable substitutes at most German pharmacies and grocery stores.
- Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant: In the sweaty summers of Germany, packing a little extra anti-perspirant is never a bad idea. Most major brands are available in Germany.
- Lip Balm: At any time of year, it’s smart to bring some lip balm around. In summer, opt for a UV-protected lip balm like Sun Bum SPF30 Lip Balm while in the drier German winters, something stronger like Blistex Lip Medex might be in order.
- Sunscreen: Although sunscreen prices won’t be out of line as in some other places abroad, bringing along a high-quality product like Sun Bum Original Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion will be helpful.
- Hand Sanitizer: For germ-infused planes & trains, a small bottle of hand sanitizer rarely goes to waste. My personal preference is Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer.
- First-Aid Kit: I’m admittedly a little clumsy at times, but I’m not one to get paranoid about my travel first-aid kits. Try to bring along, at minimum, bandages, antiseptic ointment, tweezers, hydrocortizone as well as anti-diarrheal, anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory/fever reduction, and allergy medications. All prescription medications should be in their original bottles while crossing international borders.
- Grooming Kit: In addition to the first-aid kit, keep a few grooming essentials like nail clippers, tweezers, and scissors handy. The compact 12-piece Tseoa Professional Grooming Kit when coupled with your favourite razor and shaving cream should be enough to cover all your grooming needs.