Tomorrow we jet off to Berlin for a weekend city break; our second time in Germany together but our first visit to the capital. We’ve been on many city breaks before, and would usually spend longer in a place like Berlin but simply aren’t able to do that on this trip. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but in our opinion city breaks are ideal because:
- If you work full time, like we do, it’s a great way to squeeze in many trips as possible
- There are loads of cheap flights to major cities within Europe. Leaving you more money to spend on whatever you like when you get there.
- There is so much you can fit in if you utilise time wisely and plan beforehand
- You can see most of a city’s highlights in 1-4 days depending on it’s size and your ratio of exploring to rest + relaxation time.
Before you go..
- Learn some basic language (hello/goodbye/thank you). Although a lot of major tourist areas will understand basic English, we think it shows a bit of courtesy and respect to at least say the basics to locals in their own language.
- Find out how you’re going to get from airport to hotel. Nothing worse than arriving and not knowing and you can end up wasting valuable time/money.
- Check the weather so you know what to pack. Self explanatory really.. You don’t want to have just your budgie smugglers and sunscreen when a freak storm is hitting.
- Establish whether or not you need to check in to your flight before hand. Particularly if you’ve used a budget airline as they tend to have hidden costs for things like this.
- If you are planning using your cards abroad let the bank know as they may block them
Our tips for packing
- Take as little as possible. If it’s just a one-stop city break then one decent hand luggage sized case is usually more than enough to fit in even two people’s clothes.
- Good Walking shoes/trainers. An essential if you want to get out and explore the city you’re visiting. (Cobbled streets look really nice, but they aren’t forgiving on your feet!)
- Check the airline baggage limits so you don’t end up paying extra fees. Again this can be common with some low-cost airlines only letting you have one item of hand luggage free of charge.
- Keep your little plastic carrier they give out in the airport for your toiletries in hand luggage, then you can pack it beforehand when you next go away.
- Make sure you follow airline regulations (ensuring any liquids are under 100 mls etc). I’ve seen people trying to go through security and having to argue before throwing away expensive bottles of aftershave and stuff like that. Check before you go, they can’t let you on with it.
- Passport and boarding pass. Some airlines may have an app allowing you to have your boarding pass on your phone, but we’d recommend taking a printed copy in case your phone dies or you lose it
- Adaptors for plug sockets. An essential for us especially with the UK being so damn awkward compared to the rest of the world!
- Driving licence. Even if you don’t intend to hire a car, you should take this to use as ID to save carrying your passport around if your destination doesn’t require it. (Losing that is gonna ruin your trip)
I’ve arrived at my location.. Now what to do?
As you may have come to realise from our itineraries we usually go to places of historical interest, such as monuments, memorials and often cathedrals or churches. The best way we’ve found is to take a tour, or two or three, that goes round a lot of these on the first day. That way you are being shown by a guide who (usually) knows their stuff and the best ways to get around the city, helping you get your bearings as well. You can also learn helpful tips on local customs or traditions and some hidden gems to visit later in your trip, that you’d usually never know about.
We also love to try local cuisine wherever we go, whether that’s food or drink. Get tips from locals, whether that’s in your accommodation, a taxi driver or tour guide and they will often tell you somewhere that you have to try. This is either gonna be really, really good, or it’s a friend’s restaurant their trying to plug for them. We’ve been longing for some decent Curry Wurst since we visited Munich just shy of 3 years and can’t wait to try it again!
All packed and ready to go, we’re excited to see what Berlin has to offer..