Over the weekend, about two million of my closest friends and I traveled to Munich, Germany, to drink masses of beer and eat pretzels as big as our torsos. We all learned a lot this past weekend, and I thought it was time that someone wrote the "dos" and "don'ts" of Oktoberfest.
1. Start booking
Start looking at Air BnBs, hostels, hotels, and flights around May and June. If you don't, the prices will rise and you will be very far from the venue.
2. Don't pregame before the event
I promise they will not run out of beer, and you will be able to consume as much as your body can handle.
3. Stick with the buddy system
Every great day is a bit hectic. Make sure you and at least one friend look out for one another and check in throughout the day. You're going to be in a tent of over 2,000 people, the last thing you are going to want to do is get lost or try to look for your friend.
4. Have a plan
If you go with a group (which you should), make sure you have a plan for meeting up later or if you get separated. There is nothing worse than trying to get your drunk friends back together at the end of the day to go home.
5. Eat at the event
You're going to think you are fine and dandy but don't forget to eat throughout the day.
6. Eat before you go
The night before the big day try to go to a bakery or something so you have breakfast when you wake up. We all know what happens when we drink on an empty stomach.
7. Don't bother showing up early
You don't have to get to the venue at 6:45am. The doors open at 8:00am and the tent doors don't open till 9:00am. So basically if you go early you will be standing in lines for a while.
8. It's all about the table
When the doors do open GRAB A TABLE! The tables are meant to be shared. You need a table because that is the only way you will get beer and other drinks.
9. Gluten-free? No worries!
If you are gluten free or just don't like beer, no worries. Oktoberfest also has wine and cider.
10. H2O is key
Don't forget to drink water. They do not serve water in the tent because they want you to drink their beer and nothing else, even at the cost of your own intoxication levels. Even the Oktoberfest people gotta make that money. But trust me, leave the tent and go hydrate. They will let you back in the tent (and the beer will never know you cheated on it).
11. Wear Dirndl or Lederhosen
When planning for your trip you might think that you don't need an outfit, but once you see them you are going to want one. In that case, look into purchasing one online a few months beforehand. there are plenty available in Munich, but they are much more expensive.
12. Bring cash
They don't accept cards of any kind, so bring cash. I would recommend bringing about €50. That should be enough for you to have a few beers, eat food, and enjoy yourself.
13. Don't touch the beer maidens
Even if you had just downed your last beer and are in dire need for another, do not grab or tap the beer maiden's shoulder. You are not allowed to touch them! They are hard working respectable women who are in charge of your beverages. You don't want to piss them off. If you do, she will not return to your table. If you are rude to her, you could even be asked to leave the tent.
14. King of the puking hill
If you feel like you are going to throw up, don't do it at your table. There is actually a specific hill you can go to throw up, take a nap, and rally.
15. PACE YOURSELF
You start drinking very early in the morning so you will not realize how quickly you are becoming intoxicated. Throughout the day you will see people stand on their table and chug their full beer. Don't do this if you have had too much to drink, if you usually cannot consume much alcohol, or are not a professional chugger. If you don't finish, be prepared for people to throw stale pieces of pretzels at you.
16. Tip the beer maiden
Give the beer maidens one or two Euros so that they will come back.
17. Take pictures
Take as many pictures and videos as you can without being on your phone the entire time. This is a once in a lifetime experience and you're not going to want to forget it.
18. Explore Munich
If you can, try to stay an extra day so that you can actually see Munich and not just Oktoberfest. It is a beautiful city worth exploring.
19. Expect to see old friends
One of the best parts about the weekend is that you will see friends who you haven't talked to since 5th grade.
20. Try to explore
The Hofbräuhaus is the tent that most Americans go to. Every tent has a different vibe, so don't get sucked into staying in just one location.
21. Warm up your vocal cords
Learn and embrace the chants and songs. It makes it all the more fun.
Oktoberfest is like nothing you have ever experienced before. If you pace yourself, plan ahead, have a buddy, and explore as much as you can, then you will have an unforgettable time.