Too often I hear customers or even my friends say "I wish I knew ____ before moving here to Germany". Had they knew whatever it was that they were hoping to know, they probably could've planned or coped better with a situation. For some, maybe it'll deter them from coming here I suppose. I can completely understand that there are many differences in the lifestyle and culture from the US and living here in Germany.
The very first time I heard that I was moving to Germany almost 5 years ago, I had known 9 months in advance so I had plenty of time to research most of the things that I am about to list. But it is very common in the Military that you may not get an assignment or have orders in hand that early and might be rushing last minute leaving little to no time to prepare for your move.
Now, I am trying to be as unbiased as possible (I really am trying)! Having only lived in Ansbach and Grafenwoehr, I can only share from my experience being located in Bavaria but I can imagine this could be similar and helpful for anyone stationed around Germany (I would hope so). I also do not have children or have pets (sadly) so finding information about child age schools or veterinarians won't be available here. I would advise joining a Facebook group in the area you are PCSing to for more experience related topics there. This is not an official page, only information based on experiences.
As PCS season approaches, here's 100 (yes, one hundred) things you might want to know before you PCS to Germany:
I'll be the first to say that I've planned some trips that definitely went outside of my budget and I'll also say that I don't regret it one bit! I frikin live in Europe! Soon, I may never get this opportunity again- shoot, I may not even see tomorrow so I would be lying if I said every single one of my trips were "cheap".
For the most part, I do my best to plan cheap trips by snagging those under 50€ RT tickets from RyanAir, staying at cheap home rentals, or if I'm traveling alone I'll stay in a hostel, I'll go on free walking tours, cook my own food, etc.
But if you're traveling with other people aside from yourself, especially if you have a larger family, traveling can get expensive! If you're trying to travel cheapER, I may be able to tell you why you're probably not getting those cheap trips:
My everlasting love for Garmisch-Partenkirchen and its surrounding areas continues to grow immensely. My husband and I make it a point to visit at least once a month or so to get our Garmisch "fix" and boy, does it give us a rush! We're about 3 hours away from the sweet ol' town but that doesn't stop us from enjoying a blissful weekend in our favorite spot in Germany. This place has got it all, for us at least; high snow-capped mountains, lots of outdoor activities, things to do when the weather isn't so great, and the true Bavarian culture comes out whenever we are on our little getaways.
I want to share with everyone some of my favorite things to do in each season while in or around Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It's very simple to distinguish the best times of the year just by checking out the colored asterisk next to each point. Blue is Winter (*), yellow is Spring (*), green is Summer (*), and orange is Fall (*). Some things are often great all year round but some outdo each other depending on the season. Let's begin with my number one favorite thing to do in Garmisch: