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Frequently Asked Germany Travel Questions

Check out our collection of common questions and answers to help you better plan your Germany travel and vacation. If you have a question that is not listed here please drop us an email and we're trying to answer it quickly.

Other frequently asked questions and answers regarding Germany travel (please also checkout our Facebook page, since this one is a great resource for getting quick answers from fellow Germany travellers):

Why book with Live Like a German?

We make it easy and convenient for you to book a vacation apartment in Germany:

  • We screen vacation apartments before listing them on our site to make sure they are valid, legit, and overall satisfy our stringent quality requirements.
  • We help you find a vacation rental that meets your needs: Our web site is organized to allow efficient browsing and filtering of vacation apartments so that you can narrow down your choices quickly.
  • For more complex travel requirements we work with you directly and offer a hotline and telephone support.
  • We check apartment availability for you, verify whether we can take advantage of any special offers or last-minute deals, and take care of all the paperwork with the property owner.
  • We also take care of the payment processing, which can become quite a hassle when having to deal with international money transfers or even international credit card payments. You pay us with Paypal or Google checkout and we make sure the property owner receives the money timely so secure your reservation.
  • Avoid being victim of common fraud and scam techniques on the Internet by working with a trusted provider of vacation rentals who is successfully in business for many years.
  • We have an automated booking system in place that minimizes the risk of double-bookings.
  • We work with thousands of different property owners in Germany, Austria and Switzerland - and therefore can provide you with great flexibility in case of changes come up in your travel itinerary.
  • We are native Germans and therefore know Germany, Austria as well as Switzerland and its language and culture very well. Leverage our knowledge, experience, and travel insider tips while working with us!

How does booking with Live Like a German work?

Although each of our booking experiences differ and really depend on the indivual sitation here is a typical scenario:

You find a vacation apartment on our web site and inquire using the "Check Availability" button. This automatically sends an email to the property owner. Typically within 24 hours (or faster) we obtain a response from the owner. Either the apartment is available for your desired time-frame or not. If it is we will send you an offer. You then have 48 hours time to respond to that price quote. Unfortunately we cannot hold the resevervation longer. In case you respond later the unit may still be available, but there is no guarantee (in that case we have to check back with the property owner and confirm.)

In case you accept the offer using the web based form that we sent you we will prepare all the paperwork for you and secure your vacation apartment for your stay. At this point at least a 25% down-payment is required. If your travel date is less than 50 days in advance we require a full-payment instead. We have to receive payment within 24 hours once you have accepted the offer to be able to secure the reservation. You can securely and conveniently pay online via Paypal or Google Checkout using all major credit cards. Once payment has been received we will send you the rental contract along with the owner's contact details. At this point you are all set for your Germany trip.

In case the travel date comes up 50 days prior we will send you a reminder email for the remaining full-payment, which is due then. Please note that we also have to receive the final-payment promptly to secure your reservation.

If your travel date then comes up closer we recommend 2-3 days prior to your trip to call or email the property owner to arrange key pickup.

When you arrive at your place in Germany everything has been taken care of in terms of payment. However, in some cases there is a (small) local tourist tax that is due upon arrival. Or, utlity usage, phone, Internet fees or smaller items like coin operated washing machines have to be taken care of in cash directly with the property owner. This varies from property owner to property owner and we try to provide as much details on our web site as possible. In case of questions you can always call us and inquire, even during your stay in Germany. We strive to provide excellent customer service to help you prior, during, and after your trip to make sure you have a great vacation in Germany!

In case a security deposit was required we will mail you this one back after your stay. Please allow 4-6 weeks for processing.

What is your Cancellation Policy?

Our cancellation policy is as follows:

Once you have confirmed a reservation and made the downpayment of 25% to hold the reservation, and then decide at a later point to cancel you will always lose that down-payment. We have to receive all cancellations in written form (e.g., email, fax). In case you made a full-payment and you cancel prior to 50 days in advance of your upcoming trip date, we will mail you back the remaining 75%. If we receive the cancellation between 49 days and 30 days prior to the first day of occupancy, you will lose 50% of your payment. After that (30 days or less) you will lose all of your payment.

The cancellation terms will be outlined in more detail in your rental contract and we recommend to review them closely.

However, we know that things can happen that may require you to change your travel plans and therefore highly recommend looking into a travel insurance. There are many affordable choices available on the Web. We recommend TravelGuard insurance, but of course we encourage you to shop around and compare.

In any case: With travel insurance you can recover your loss of the payment in many cases and therefore decreases your risk at a small fee.

Why are the prices in my offer higher compared to the prices shown on the web site?

Prices are highly seasonal and depend on a variety of factors (e.g., how many people travel, number of kids, major events in the area, popular holidays like Easter/Christmas etc.) We provide only starting prices on our web site to give you a rough idea / ball park of the expected cost. Once you inquire we will make you a detailed and precise offer for your particular situation and desired time-frame.

Where do I find the contact info of the property owner?

We will provide you with all the contact details of the property owner that you need to arrange key pickup in your rental contract once the booking has been confirmed and paid.

Why aren’t there any reviews for a listing I like?

Some property owners may be new to our site, which means they would not have any reviews as they will not have any completed bookings.

How does Live Like a German verify and select its Property Owners?

We carefully review each application of a new property owners, and typically have a phone call with them prior to a first booking. We constantly review customer feedback that we receive after a booking and take this very seriously. If we encounter customer complaints we try to directly resolve those and clarify with our property owners. Sometimes this may even lead to removal of a listing and/or termination of our relationship with a property owner. Our goal is that we can offer you a select list of high quality vacation apartments and decrease the chance of a bad vacation experience as much as possible.

How do you safeguard me from falling prey to scams?

With increasing scamming on the internet nothing is 100% safe. For your peace of mind, we verify our new property owners via phone. So far in our (over 3 year) history of successfully helping travelers finding a good place to stay in Germany we have not had one case where this happened to our customers. However, if this would happen we would fully protect our customer and will work with them to quickly find a viable alternative to make sure our customers are protected against scam or fraud.

How far in advance should I book my Germany vacation?

We recommend as early as possible when you know your specific travel dates. During high season vacation rentals in desired locations fill up very quickly, so the earlier you can make a reservation the better. For example, a very popular location is Munich around the time of the traditional yearly Oktoberfest. Many of the available vacation rentals are sold out years in advance! In that case if you can make a reservation in November/December for the next Oktoberfest this will definitely help (but is still not a guarantee for finding an available holiday rental during that time). Or, finding a vacation rental at Lake Constance in summer, or finding a vacation rental in an alpine location (e.g., Oberstdorf) during holiday time is a similar challenge. So please call / email us early well in advance so that you will be able to secure your desired time frame.

Why is staying in an apartment a better choice for your Germany vacation?

Imagine this: a completely furnished apartment, with all the amenities of a fully functional home, conveniently located in the area of your choice and priced at least 20-80% below the price of a hotel room (with far less convenience) for the same length of stay - this can be offered only in a vacation rental! We therefore believe that staying in a vacation apartment will offer you several unique advantages:

  1. More Space: Instead of a small hotel room, a vacation rental allows the entire family to stay comfortably under the same roof and enjoy full privacy. A rental accommodation is also very well suited for extended stays.
  2. More Amenities: Vacation homes typically offer more amenities than hotels do. There are fully-equipped kitchens, a large dining and family room, a balcony, and sometimes a backyard.
  3. More Privacy: Vacation homes offer freedom from the people and the noisy environment present in many hotels. Privacy is one of the biggest benefits of choosing a vacation rental.
  4. Strong experience of daily German life: Vacation rentals offer a major difference from the typical resort or hotel. A resort is a contained environment. If you stay in a regular apartment, you can enjoy and become a part of the daily life of a small German village. You'll meet other tenants and neighbors close by, the local people when you walk through the streets or shop in the local village.

Some web pages that link from this site are in German. How do I read them?

We try to link to English pages if possible. However, some sites do not offer English. We still link to them, however, because they provide very valuable information. You can use a translation web site like Google Translate (http://translate.google.com) to help with quick translations in many languages.

How expensive to take a vacation in Germany with the current high Euro conversion rate?

Based on the current exchange rate (July 2011), you pay around $1.41 for 1 Euro. Overall, living in Germany is very affordable. To give you more specific information, here are some recent examples on what things cost:

  • A typical price for a dinner for 1 person in a family -type restaurant (including drinks) is about 10 - 15 Euros. Cost for a family of 4 (with two small children) for a dinner is about 30 to 40 Euros. This cost is very comparable to the US.
  • Gas is expensive! We can't deny that! A liter of gas costs around 1.2 Euros. If we convert liters to gallons and dollars that means a gallon of gas will cost you more than $5 !!! Just be prepared when you fill up your car and use your car efficiently!
  • Overall groceries are reasonably priced, very comparable to the US.
  • Getting fresh bread and rolls in the morning from our bakery for the whole family will cost about 5-10 Euros.

To sum up, in Germany, some things, like gas, are expensive. Other things are similar in price to costs in the US, and there, not that much difference (e.g., like dining out, buying groceries.) There are also still some bargains here in Germany. You'll have to spend some time to find them. When you do, they will be worth the effort.

What makes the Live Like a German web site special?

Unlike big vacation rental portal sites (e.g., homeaway.com, vacationvillas.net) that list thousands of vacation apartments we focus on a smaller, hand-selected set of vacation apartments in Germany. Less is sometimes more! Why?

This is similar to when you search on Google, and it returns you a list of 14,237,234 results that are matching your query. In this case there are just too many hits. Which one is the best? Do you have the time to scan through all the results to find a good match?

The Live Like a German web site provides rich and detailed information about every vacation apartment that we list. We work closely with the property owners to make sure every little detail about the vacation apartment is known, verified, and published on our web site. In addition, we are very picky accepting and listing vacation apartments. We carefully select only high quality vacation rentals, when they meet our strict quality standards. They have to be clean, nice, comfortable, affordable, and should make your feel at home during your Germany vacation. Fewer apartments with more details around them makes it easier for you to find a good one that matches your personal preferences.

Furthermore, we provide a wealth of Germany related travel information and and destination guides for each destination that we list, and help you with your Germany vacation planning with insider tips and guidance. This combination is unique, and makes Live Like a German a special place to visit when exploring Germany and preparing for your Germany vacation!

How much do I need to tip in restaurants?

If you want to tip someone, go ahead! But 1 - 2 Euros per meal is plenty! We don't do the 15-20% tip in Germany.Even though, if you feel like it...they will love you!

How fast can I speed on the German autobahn?

A lot of people know that the Autobahn is the fastest way to go. That may be true, but usually, unless otherwise noted the speed limit is 130 km/h. Radar is ALL OVER Germany, on the Autobahn and in cities. So be careful and stick to the speed limits. Middle is for semi fast cars, right lane for slow cars or to exit.

Are stores open over the weekend?

Most grocery stores close on Sundays and are open limited on Saturdays. Especially in small villages it will be hard to find an open store after noon on a Saturday and Sunday. So buy your goodies before you hit the weekend.

Where can I buy medicine and drugs?

You can buy drugs in the "Apotheke". These are all over the villages and cities. We also provide addresses of these, along with advice on where to go for emergencies in the "Health" section of our destination guides.

Download free eBook: 10 Tips on how to Live Like a German during your Germany Vacation!

Download free eBook: 10 Tips on how to Live Like a German during your Germany Vacation!

Register for our free monthly Germany travel newsletter and download as a gift this valuable eBook: "10 Tips on how to Live Like a German during your Germany Vacation" - written by Bettina Kraft, owner of the Live Like a German site.
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