Germany is a diverse and vibrant country with a unique culture and climate, so it’s important to make sure you have everything you need to make your transition as smooth as possible. Your packing list will depend on a variety of factors, such as the time of year you’re moving, the length of your stay, and your reason for moving. But whether you’re moving to Germany for work or adventure, this packing list will ensure that you have everything you need to feel confident and prepared for your new life abroad.
Your personal identification documents should be one of the most important items in your packing list for Germany. You will need these documents even after passport control at the airport, for example, for city registration or university enrolment. Therefore, it is crucial that you take time to think about what kinds of documents you should pack and double-check before your flight to Germany. This list consists of compulsory documents you should include in your packing list as well as a suggestion of further documents depending on your individual situation:
- Passport-size biometric photographs
- Travel insurance
- Health insurance
- Official admission letter from your university
- German and/or English language certificates
- Transcripts from your previous university
- High school and/or college leaving certificate
- Vaccination certificates
- Medical test reports and prescriptions by your doctor
- Driving license
- International driving permit
It is suggested that you keep the original versions of the documents with you in your carry-on luggage at ALL TIMES during your journey. Make multiple copies of each document and keep them in each bag you carry, while also leaving some copies at home too. It is also advisable to take a flash/hard drive with scanned copies of all the important documents with you, and also email all the scanned copies to yourself.
Clothing will play a crucial part in your preparation for Germany. You should consider that German winters can be quite cold and wet, and the summers are also rather hot. You should prepare yourself for those weathers, as well as for the kind of activities you want to pursue, for example, sports or hiking which both require specific clothing. Note: You can buy almost every clothing listed below in Germany, hence, carry only essential stuff as per your baggage allowance while prioritizing clothes that are appropriate for the season in Germany when you arrive. The components of your wardrobe you will likely need in Germany include:
- Waterproof shoes and jacket for rainy days
- Basic clothing and footwear
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Formal clothes and shoes
- Warm coat
- Thermal wear
- Beanie/woolen cap that also cover ears
- Long underwear
- Long-sleeved t-shirts and shirts
- Shorts, skirts, and/or dresses
- Short-sleeved t-shirts and shirts
Please keep in mind that even if you will be renting a furnished apartment, it is unlikely that bedding will be included. Therefore, you should consider bringing a set or two with you for the first few days until you are able to buy some in Germany. For this, you could include the following in your packing list:
- Bed sheets
- Pillow covers
It is suggested to pack all your toiletries in a toiletry bag to maximise space. Keep in mind that for all basic toiletries you only need to pack a small amount to last you for a few days. This is because carrying large quantities will only make your luggage heavier while you can buy the same items in Germany. Therefore, only pack large amounts of products you are sure you will not find in Germany (at an affordable price). It is also safe to say that most cosmetics are quite inexpensive in Germany. Below is a list of toiletries for your packing list to Germany:
- Soap / Shower gel
- Hair products (shampoo, conditioner, hair oil, etc.)
- Body lotion
- Lip balm
- Shaving kit/trimmer
- Nail cutter
- Make-up (if applicable)
- Sanitary towels, tampons, etc. (if applicable)
If you choose to bring utensils with you to Germany, just bring the basics and keep them to the minimum as they can fill your luggage easily. Additionally, kitchen supplies in Germany are affordable and it might be easier and more convenient to buy them after arrival. Here are some utensils, you could bring with you for the first few days until you are settled:
- A pan and pot
- Plates, cups, and bowls
- Any other utensils essential for you
Below is a list of foods you could include in your pack list for Germany. However, before packing food items to bring with you, do keep in mind that there are restrictions on certain foods allowed to come into Germany. Therefore, be sure to check the customs regulations beforehand to avoid getting in trouble. It is also a great idea to familiarize yourself with German food culture, as there is a variety of delicious local specialties to try.
- Your favourite spices
- Snacks from your home country
- Tea and/or coffee (for the first few days)
- Specific foods for any special dietary needs, e.g., gluten-free (for the first few days)
If you need to bring prescription medicine with you to Germany, remember to bring a copy of your prescription as well. This will help if you need to refill your medication while you are in Germany, or if you are stopped by customs.
If you have a chronic medical condition, it may also be helpful to bring a letter from your doctor outlining your medical history and any necessary treatment plans.
Here is a list of other medications you could include:
- General painkillers
- Common medicines for cold/fever
- Antiseptic/skin ointment
Packing your medication in your carry-on bag rather than your checked luggage is a good idea. By doing this, you may ensure that you always have access to your medication and help prevent the medication from getting lost or stolen.
While packing your electronics, especially chargers as well as plug adapters, keep in mind that the standard voltage in Germany is 230V and the standard frequency is 50Hz. These are some devices you could consider adding to your packing list for Germany:
- Laptop and/or tablet
- Universal plug adapters (picture)
- Power bank
- Smartphone and a pre-paid SIM card
Get a Free German SIM card before you arrive in Germany
If you’re a Fintiba customer, you can now order and get a free German SIM card before you arrive in Germany, so you can stay connected right away.
The card will be activated automatically once you have inserted it into your phone and accessed the German mobile phone network.
In addition to the essentials, there are some miscellaneous items that you might want to consider packing when moving to Germany. These include:
- Glasses/Contact lenses
- Stitching kit
- Backpack and/or handbag
- Reusable water bottle
- Your favourite book(s)
- Travel pillow for the flight
- Do not carry liquid items in your cabin bag. If you have any, ensure they are under 100ml and place them in a 1-liter Ziplock bag. Make sure they are leak free.
- Do a complete medical check-up, especially an eye and dental test, before your journey to Germany.
- Visit your hairdresser before you travel to Germany. Hairdressers in Germany could be more expensive than in your home country.
- Carry enough cash to last you at least two weeks. You can also bring some money multi-currency card.
- Inform yourself in advance how much luggage the airline allows you to have and the maximum weight for each.
- Notify your university’s International Office about your arrival date and time well in advance.
- Do not wait to pack at the last minute.
The Fintiba Companion: Guiding your way to Germany step-by-step
Never miss an important step on your journey to Germany. From preparing your university application to mastering your visa application and navigating through daily life in Germany – the Fintiba Companion provides you with relevant information throughout all important stages of your German adventure within a comprehensive checklist – tailored to your individual situation.
Last update: April 21, 2023