For US Citizens there is no need for a visa. Just bring your Passport, valid at least 6 months after you plan to return – apply for one if you don’t have one (https://travel.state.gov)
Germany is a modern country – even though not every building/hotel has air conditioning ;). No need to worry about immunizations.
Bring your smart phone, but it is not necessary to have a phone/data plan unless you want to. Check with your phone provider what your rates/roaming charges are. Sometimes you can extend your coverage for one month if you needed to receive calls. Set your phone to airplane mode and use Wifi (WLan as they say in Germany). We will have internet access at least in the hotel and you can use alternate ways to communicate (Facetime, Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook messenger etc).
Within the group
We would like to be able to send you short messages, updates etc to your phone. Please download the app ‘Whatsapp’. It’s the number one Internet based messaging software in Europe and is available on iPhone, Android, Blackberry and others. We will create a group to communicate with each other even before the trip starts. It is also possible to use voice call over the Internet. We will have WiFi access in many places.
- Travel Insurance
Read Rick Steve’s good advice on travel insurance here: https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/trip-planning/travel-insurance
Check whether your local health insurance covers you during a trip outside the country (Medicare normally does not) Insurance providers: www.roamright.com or travelexinsurance.com
Plan on spending money for some dinners, lunches, snacks, Lutheran beverages, souvenirs, tips etc.
Bring some cash to cover expenses for the first couple of days – you can exchange your $ to Euros at the airport –
Bring your bank ATM/debit card(s) to get more cash at bank ATMs later (check fees your bank might charge, find out your daily withdrawal limit, and tell them that you are going to use your card abroad)
Visa and Mastercard are accepted in Germany. Check whether/how much your credit card provider charges for use abroad and whether they require you to tell them that you are going to use it outside the country. Search for “Credit cards with no foreign transaction fee” to find a better card for traveling.
- Adapters for electrical outlets
Check whether the devices you bring can tolerate 220 volts (on the plug: “110–220″) Most phones, computers etc. are ok and you only need to bring a small adapter (Rick Steves has them for $1 on his website https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/european-power-adapter)
Travel light and pack clothes you can layer. Even though the last couple of years Germany saw some hot summers, it might rain, so bring a rainproof jacket, light sweater/cardigan(s), long pants to layer. We won’t have any really fancy events, so pack comfortable things and shoes that are good for walking. Shorts, skirts, dress, swim suits, workout clothes might be useful too.
Don’t forget your usual medicine, some over-the-counter remedies and first aid kit.
- Reading material
– Looking for Luther by Christian C. Tiews 😉
– Check your library for German travel guides
– Resources and infos on this LCMS site: http://lutheranreformation.org/
– Rick Steves’ Europe: /www.ricksteves.com/
– Learning a bit of German: www.duolingo.com