Oktoberfest is one of the greatest and most well-known festivals in the world. The city is run amok with the millions of tourists and travelers that pack a bag specifically to enjoy this festival.
What to pack for Oktoberfest really depends on what kind of traveler you are. Are you a backpacker who travels light with only the essentials and a multifunctional wardrobe, or are you a wheeled suitcase traveler that is ready for any weather, inclement or sunny?
Of course, there are packers that fall within that range as well, but your choice of luggage is just as important when deciding what – and how much – you will bring to Oktoberfest.
Here are some tips on packing a bag for Oktoberfest and factors to consider on what you should bring for your trip to Munich and Oktoberfest.
What not to bring
Let’s start this off with what not to bring to Oktoberfest. It is not wise to bring valuables to the event grounds, and it is smart to bring only what you need and to keep them in safe places. If you do choose to bring a purse or handbag, choose a smart and small option, such as a cross-body bag.
Only the essentials should be brought to the festival – you never know where you may end up in a stupor or when a drunken partygoer will spill a stein down your front and all over your brand-new DSLR camera.
Oktoberfest begins on the third weekend of September (contrary to its name and a surprise to some who have never been). The weather in early fall in Munich is finicky. So, expect almost everything – from balmy sunny days to rain and frosty mornings.
A sweater or rain jacket may not sound fashionable over your traditional outfit when you are in your climate-controlled closet poring over your clothes, but you will be thankful you have the option after spending 8 hours outdoors on the grounds. Yes, the beer tents are covered, but you or your party will not be too thankful if one of you needs to go back to the hotel and grab a jacket.
Here are some essential clothing items for your time in Munich. This is a great list for someone who plans to explore Munich and attend the festival.
- Cardigan or sweater
- Comfortable walking shoes/boots
- Leggings (to be worn alone or under a dress on cold days)
- Nude Stockings (can also be worn under a dress or dirndl)
- Rain jacket
- Jeans or long pants
- Long and short sleeved shirts
- Simple necklaces, earrings, and bracelets
- Bobby pins and hair ties for braided hairstyles
- Sweater or hoodie
- Long and short sleeved shirts
- Knee-high socks
- Comfortable dress shoes
- Walking shoes
- Plaid/striped shirt or dress shirt
No matter your gender, here are some essential accessories for a Munich trip:
- Camera phone
- Music player
- Small wallet
- Hand sanitizer
Buying when you are there
One thing you should most certainly never forget to pack is cash. And lots of it! The last thing you want to do is stand in the ATM lines and waste your time and money on bank fees. Oktoberfest deals strictly in cash and steins do not come cheap. Plus, you should always tip on each beer your waiter or waitress brings you. And, having lots of cash leads to our next packing tip…
Leaving space for memories
Attending Oktoberfest and really getting into the spirit of it generally requires you to wear some traditional Bavarian garb. This is lederhosen (literally: leather pants) for the men and dirndls for the ladies. Leave some space in your bag to buy a traditional outfit en route to the festival.
A quality piece can cost you anywhere from 100-300 euros, but it is well worth it. Trust me, when I say that you will feel more involved in the festivities – and much more inclined to attempt to drink your way to the bottom of a few steins of beer on top of a table!
Finishing the traditional outfit
If you do decide to don the lederhosen or dirndl, buying a complete ensemble from your necklace or shirt choice down to your shoes is not always economical. Ladies – decide beforehand on packing a comfortable pair of shoes.
Yes, you will be wearing a dress, but heels will not cut it on the massive festival grounds. And the dirndl looks excellent with a pair of lace-up boots. Think of shoes that perform double-duty with your dirndl and your regular clothes.
Gents – bring a dress shirt (long- or short-sleeved). This can include something with a bit of traditional flair such as a checkered or striped pattern. And, while you can buy a pair of socks to complement your lederhosen, it is best to also bring a pair of your own knee-highs if the weather turns chilly or you are not willing to cash out for multiple pairs.
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However you choose to pack for Oktoberfest, it is important to keep it simple! Chances are your clothes will end up smelling of beer anyhow, so you might as well focus your energy on enjoying the festival and the atmosphere.
Preparing your luggage and deciding on your outfits in advance will allow you to have stress-free days that take your attention to the beautiful city and the wonders of the greatest beer fest in the world.