Experience Germany Like a Local

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Gifts for Travelers Going to Germany

I’m going to mix it up this year for our holiday gift guide. There are way too many generic traveler gift guides out there, most with the same items on it. So this year we’re focusing on only items that are involved with German culture, because at this point everyone has luggage tags, passport covers (if they want them), and a scratch off map. Travel guides? If you’re planning on traveling or your friend is, travel guides are such a personal decision, it's better to leave them to the traveler themselves.

Going back to our roots, that ‘Tourist’ is a dirty word, the more you know about the culture, the more likely you won’t feel like a tourist. Here are some gift-able items that will make you feel less like a tourist when you travel to Germany because you’ll know more about the culture and history. I promise they’re fun too! Or maybe you’re looking for ideas of what you want for yourself and add to your own Christmas list.

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Entertainment That Will Make German History Come Alive
I have two DVD series and a movie, all are German with English subtitles. Another great way to get an ear for the language too! Both of these series give you an inside look at the German’s perspective, which as Americans is incredibly hard to come by. Deutschland 83 a TV mini series revolves around the Berlin Wall and espionage, and a second season is in the works! Generation War a TV mini series covers World War II from four very different German experiences.

Finally, the movie Good Bye Lenin, also involves the Berlin Wall, it specifically covers the time period of what the East Germans experienced right after the wall came down. Everything I’ve linked to are playable on USA and Canadian DVD players. With foreign films, always be sure to check what regions the movies will play in. For these, the Blu-Ray versions are only coded for Europe, so stick with the DVD.

Books That Will Impart German Culture
In case you missed it, the best German Historical Fiction book and German Historical Non-Fiction book I read this year that I couldn’t put down.

German Historical Fiction: Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. Here’s my full review about Women in the Castle.

Historical Non-Fiction: House by the Lake by Thomas Harding. Here’s my full review about House by the Lake.

Insider German culture tips guaranteed to make them smile? German Men Sit Down to Pee by Niklas Frank and James Cave. You’ll think it's a gag, but actually very helpful! It’s a small, lightweight paperback easy to pack.

For the cook in the family, Classic German Baking by German American author by Luisa Weiss . This book has been tested like crazy to make sure you can recreate German recipes utilizing what is available in American grocery stores.

For the foodie who is also a history-buff, I recommend this beautiful hardcover with heavy-weight paper, Beyond Bratwurst: A History of Food in Germany (Food and Nations). I learned about this book from the blog A Sausage Has Two: Seasonal, Regional German Food and Culinary Travel, and I bought it for myself. It's gorgeous!

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Our Favorite Gifts for Travelers

For our first Holiday Gift Guide this year, we have put together an assortment of gifts that are perfect for feathering your personal wish list, or for the friend or family member who loves to travel. From less than $10 to over $1,000, there’s something for all price points.Gift Guide For Travelers

  1. Guide Book | Our favorite guide books are from DK Eyewitness and Lonely Planet and use them both interchangeably. The best part about DK Eyewitness books are that they provide 3D cutaways of important buildings and show floor-plans of museums and churches. That way you can get a much better understanding of what awaits you inside. DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Germany (associate link). We love Lonely Planet's guidebooks for their trip planning guides and the writing style, which feels more conversational and friendly. Lonely Planet Germany (associate link).
  2. Luggage Tags | Every traveler needs luggage tags and this set of colorful tags does not only make it easy to identify your luggage on the belt, but it will also be a lifesaver if your luggage gets lost and the airline tries to get a hold of you. Lalonovo Luggage Tags Pack of 5 (associate link).
  3. Universal Charging Port | Different countries require different power plugs and it is wise to get a Universal Travel Adapter so you can charge all your gadgets wherever you are. Our recommended one even has two USB charging ports, which means you can leave all the small wall plugins at home and travel with only one plug. This is the one we use and love. Travel Inspira Universal All in One Worldwide Travel Power Plug Wall AC Adapter Charger with Dual USB Charging Ports for USA EU UK AUS (associate link).
  4. S'Well Bottle | While exploring cities, we pack our S’well water bottle in the morning, filled with refrigerated tap water. The bottle keeps water cold for 24 hours and before we discovered S’well, we were going through plastic bottles like crazy. If you're interested, this is the S'well bottle we use, in the Galaxy Collection, Supernova design. It changes colors depending on the lighting. S'well Online Shop. not affiliated
  5. Wifi Hotspot GlocalMe | Our favorite way to go online in Germany is a hotspot device called GlocalMe G2. It looks like one of the first iPhones, but is about twice as thick and heavy since it includes a large 6,000mAh battery. Simply turn it on, wait for about two minutes for the bootup and login to complete and then connect up to 5 wireless devices to it. For more information about GlocalMe, be sure to read our previous article, "How to Get Mobile Internet in Germany & Our 10 Favorite iPhone® Travel Apps." GlocalMe G2 World's First 4G Global Mobile Wifi Hotspot (associate link).
  6. Totes Auto-Close Umbrella | Germany is a beautiful country, but let’s face it: It does rain a lot. When this happened to us, we tried to take a break in a cafe or waited it out in a museum. With this small umbrella, you will not have that problem anymore. The coolest thing about it is the automatic mechanism. Press the button and the umbrella unfolds. Simply genius and not only to be used while traveling. We have it in our car and it has saved us several times from getting drenched. Totes Signature Auto Open Auto Close Compact Umbrella (associate link).
  7. Bose QuietComfort Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones | For years I had been using the headphones that the airline gave us or in-ear headphones, that started hurting after several hours of in-flight use. It was a quantum leap for me to spend so much money on noise-canceling headphones and I was worried that they would not live up to the hype. When I used them for the first time I slept 5 hours, whereas before I could barely get 2 hours of sleep on the plane. They are very comfortable to wear for hours and are simply the best headphones I have ever owned. Bose QuietComfort 35 (associate link).
  8. Digital Scale | When we go to Germany, we tend to bring a lot of items for our family. Therefore, we try to maximize the space in our suitcases and pack to the maximum allowance of 50 lbs. This digital luggage scale makes it easy to see if you are under or over the limit. Attach the suitcase to the strap and lift up. The display will show you if you packed too much or if there is still space for some last-minute items. Luxebell 110lbs Digital Luggage Scale (associate link).
  9. Scratch Off World Map | We all dream of going places and a Scratch Off World Map will give you a great overview of where you have been and will inspire you where to go next. Scratch The World (associate link).
  10. MacBook Air 13" | Our favorite travel laptop is the MacBook Air 13’, based on its weight of about 5 pounds and a 12 hour battery life. Make sure to get the larger hard drive with 256GB. That way you do not have to carry around an extra hard drive with data and ensure that all the travel pictures you take can be secured without a problem.MacBook Air 13.3" Laptop 256GB (associate link).
  11. National Geographic Travel Magazine | To prepare for the next trip or to get inspired by some of the best travel articles and pictures, give yourself or a friend/family member that loves to travel the gift of a subscription. Subscriptions are much less expensive than the retail price on the local store shelf and get delivered right to your mailbox. National Geographic Traveler Subscription (associate link).
  12. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Book | is exactly what the title promises: a book that functions as a practical guide and as a wish list for future travel planning. It will give you lots of beautiful places to add to your bucket list. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: Revised Second Edition (associate link).
  13. Ornament | Ornaments are a fantastic gift for Christmas and this one is made out of resin instead of ceramic. It will not break if it hits the floor, making this an ornament to keep for a lifetime. Stacked World Signs with Globe "See the World" Ornament (associate link).
  14. Fragrance Sample Subscription | Scentbird is a monthly fragrance subscription, where each month you will receive a new fragrance with enough perfume to apply daily for a whole month. We have been using this for many months now and your first order comes with a travel-friendly atomizer, making it perfect for your carry-on. The subscription is $15 per month and you choose from over 450 fragrances for men or women. (affiliate link; save 25% off your first subscription with code SCENTBIRD25).
  15. Bandeau | Denise is not a fan of the elastic eye mask for sleeping on the plane because its a one-time use that you're stuck carrying for the whole vacation, and it still lets in a lot of light below the mask. Instead, she uses a Boho Bandeau from Natural Life, that can technically be worn 12 ways, not the 11 that's described. The twelfth way being she uses it to cover her eyes on the plane. Its not as tight on the face, and blocks more light than an eye mask. The fabric is really soft too. Natural Life Boho Bandeau Solid Grey (associate link).

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Thank you For Reading! Denise & Sebastian | Photo by Irene Fiedler