So, you’re moving to Germany? Awesome!
As everyone will probably tell you: you’re in for a fun adventure, and this post will give you a few tips on how to make those first couple weeks a little easier for you.
I took some notes when we first arrived about things that would be helpful to have before you move to Germany (or as soon as you get out here) so you can have them right away.
Obviously you won’t want to pack all of these things, but I bet you’ll want them ASAP after you get to Deutchland, and you’ll be so happy you have them.
You can either: mail them to yourself (if you have a military APO box), mail them to a friend (if they don’t mind holding some things for you), buy them from Amazon.de (if you have a German address), or just buy them “on the economy” when you arrive.
What You Need Before Moving to Germany
These are in no particular order, but they’re all equally necessary and super helpful to have on hand, ASAP after moving to Germany.
An Awesome Wallet
If you’re an American living in Germany because of the military you may want to keep your passport on you at all times (at least we do). Because we live very close to another country’s border, I also keep my international driver’s permit on hand, too.
And, if you’re coming to Geilenkirchen, you’re going to get several (yes, several) additional ID cards that you will need to use often.
On top of that, Europe uses coins just as much as cash, so I needed to make sure I had space for that in my wallet. If you’re keeping track: that, right there, is a lot of stuff for a wallet, so make sure yours is sufficient.
This All About the Benjamins wallet is my jam and I like it for throwing it in my bigger bag/purse for trips. I also have and use (as my “day purse”) their Inspired Crossbody. I use this daily since I just use my basics on a day-to-day basis, and I can put my iPhone 11pro max inside it.
Keychain Coin Holder
Every time you go shopping you’ll need to use a coin to get your cart. I know Aldi does this in America, but unless you’re shopping at the commissary, every grocery store in Germany requires a cart coin.
Luckily, you can get a keychain coin holder, which means you’ll never have to fish around for a coin again.
I keep one of these attached to my wallet so that it’s always handy.
I rounded up some several different options for you, so take a look at them here. (Amazon actually didn’t have many options, so these are from Etsy. Keep their shipping in mind if you want one sooner than later)
If you do want an Amazon.de option, here is one very similar to what I have and use (and you can actually personalize this particular one, which is fun!).
Pack some adaptors in your carry on, because if you want to charge anything, you’ll need them your first night in country after moving to Germany.
Do not plug any American appliance into a European outlet unless it has an adaptor with it.
An adaptor is for an electrical item that accepts 220-volt (it will state it on the bottom of your appliance/item). It “adapts” the plug to fit the European outlet, but does not mess with the electricity.
A transformer, on the other hand, actually changes the electricity. This is bigger, bulkier, and more expensive, and should only be used on things you really don’t want to get a European version of. For example, we have one to power our Air Fryer, Blender, and printer.
This was a mini crash-course on dual-voltage stuff. Holler if you need have more questions.
Speaking of grocery shopping, you’ve gotta get a collapsable crate ASAP. We have one in both of our cars, and thats where they “live” when we’re not actively using them.
You can get them for under 10 euros in stores (I got both of ours from the German grocery store REWE), but if you don’t want to wait or search around, here’s one from Amazon.com, and here’s one from Amazon.de if you’re already in Germany or have a local German address.
*For reference, one crate typically fits all of the groceries for our family of five. Because you have to shop more often, you’re not going to be making a “Costco-sized run” to get groceries.
Pro grocery shopping tip: Leave the crate in your car, and bring all of your groceries out to your vehicle in the cart, and then fill up your crate. Don’t try to do it in the store; it’ll get too overwhelming.
Unless you’re fluent in German, stop what you’re doing right now and make sure a translator app is front and center on your phone’s home screen.
We’ve tried a few other translate apps and these win because A) they’re free and B) they’re free.
We love that you can download the languages you need so that they’ll work even if you don’t have an Internet connection, and you can take pictures or scan items and get “real time” translations.
Metric/Imperial Measuring Tape
I wish we bought or brought a metric measuring tape when we first moved to Germany. We saw so many homes in those first few weeks, and it would’ve been useful when seeing if something would fit in a particular place.
I can’t tell you how many times we tried to do the conversion math in our head to figure out inches to centimeters. The day we got our dual measuring tape is the day our life got easier.
Ice Cube Tray
Do you love ice in your drinks?
If your answer is yes, make sure you have some ice cube trays ready to go. The fridges here are pretty darn basic, so no ice machine to spew out little blocks of water.
We’ve been using and liking these—the ice just pops right out.
What else do you need before moving to Germany?
Have you lived in Germany? Did you just move out here and have suggestions on other things you’ve gotta have before moving to Deutschland?
Leave your suggestions on things you need in the comments!
Did this list help you? Pin it and/or share it with anyone else you know who’s moving out here!