Oktoberfest is the largest beer festival in the world attracting millions of people every year.
Located annually in Munich, Germany – also known as the Bavarian region. With only 14 large tents and 20 small tents combined with millions of people looking for a good time, your experience can go from exciting to nightmare real quick.
Thankfully I’m going to share with you some helpful tips I have learned that will have your first time at Oktoberfest be a memorable one to say the least.
This post is filled with tips from when to book tent reservations to must-wear traditional attire that will have you arriving like a seasoned attendee in no time.
Follow this guide and you are sure to have the authentic Oktoberfest experience you are looking for.
READ MORE: Visiting Munich on a Budget
Booking Your Oktoberfest Tent Reservations
Tip #1) Book well, well in advanced.
This one is easy although usually overlooked. Remember, MILLIONS of people are attending. There is no such thing as a last minute booking success.
My advice, submit tent reservation requests between January-March.
Each tent does reservations a little differently. Some allow for electronic reservations while others require either a faxed or mailed letter request. Make sure to carefully read up on all the different reservation requirements. For example, my tent reservation was for Wildstuben which required a fax submission.
Another thing to consider. . .
Tip #2) It’s not “possible” to make tent reservations for parties less than 6-8.
If you are attending with a small group, no need to fear. Just grab some people waiting in the standby line and ask them if they would like to join you. I did and they ended up being a blast! Still friends today.
Also, if the tent requires an advance payment for reservation, PAY IT!
You can either drink for 8 or again find people to join you and make them pay you. I’ve heard tents will refund you whatever you don’t spend, but please confirm for I am not 100% sure. It’s not like they are hurting for business.
Where to Stay During Oktoberfest
Tip #3) Again, book well in advance.
Even the run down youth hostels become a fortune. Surprisingly, the cheapest option I found was Airbnb. Their shared room option for a couple nights will run around $500 total while hotels are nearly $500/night.
The reality with booking accommodation is Oktoberfest happens around the same time every year and hotels know they can charge more. The prices will always be higher during this time even if you book months in advance.
The point of booking early is to ensure that 1) You have a room at all and 2) It is in a good location.
So where should you book your stay?
Airbnb was the cheapest option I found, but pay attention to the comments and rating of the host.
A huge CON with Airbnb is the host can cancel at anytime. I originally had an Airbnb booked months in advance when less than two months before the festival, the host canceled on me leaving me to pay $800 at a 3 star hotel.
If you can’t find a hotel near the festival, look for hotels near train stations.
I stayed 9 stops away from the festival at Econtel, but all I had to take was the S8. It was right next to my hotel and I couldn’t have been happier with my choice.
Did you know Oktoberfest offers Glamping options?
Check out your options here. Some even offer free breakfast!
READ MORE: 5 Creative Ways to Get Cheap Accommodation
What to Wear to Oktoberfest
Dirndls, worn by women, are the tradition Bavarian dresses with jackets or scarves and heels. Yes heels! Nothing amazed me more than seeing women walking around in the rain wearing heels.
Lederhosen, worn by men, are the traditional Bavarian overall-type-shorts usually with a colored dress short underneath and long socks.
Tip #4: DO NOT buy Dirndls and Lederhosen right before or during the festival.
These outfits can run up to 300 euros. Take my word for it. Best advice is to buy your attire after the festival from the year prior. For example, if you plan on attending the festival next year, then buy your outfits after this year’s festival when everything goes on sale.
Look at your local Halloween store for a costume or Amazon.com.
What if you don’t want to wear the traditional outfits or it’s too expensive?
That’s ok too, but I recommend not going in a completely boring outfit. Everyone dresses up, and in my opinion that is part of the celebration.
I bought a festive shirt, threw my hair into pigtails, and hung a cookie necklace around my neck. I fit right in!
What else will you find people wearing?
Cookie necklaces with cute German phrases such as “I love you”.
Clothespins with other written German phrases.
Pretzel necklaces. Nothing like tying your snack around your neck for when you get hungry.
What else should I pack for Oktoberfest?
Rain poncho or umbrella. A little rain is expected every year during Oktoberfest. Don’t make the rookie mistake and come unprepared.
Shoes you won’t mind throwing away after they are ruined by rain, dirt, and BEER. You cannot avoid it!
For women, a small purse like this adorable stein purse! You can tuck cash and cards in your shoes or bra if needed.
Is Oktoberfest worth it?
Yes! 100%. If there’s any hyped festival out there that still delivers on quality of experience, it’s Oktoberfest.
What is the best way to get there?
While there are many ways to get to Oktoberfest, the best and most budget-friendly way, in my opinion, is FlixBus. Their comfy coach buses will zip you to Munich leaving you with plenty of money leftover for Bier!!
What are the 2019 Oktoberfest dates?
Oktoberfest Munich is happening from September 21, 2019, through October 6, 2019. Learn more here.
Oktoberfest Traditions to Learn
Dress the part.
Rehearse the chants. Nothing is more thrilling than yelling out German chants as loud as you can while holding your stein high in the air.
Say Prost! Not cheers.
Order a Radler when you are getting too drunk. Yes, German’s know it’s a marathon and not a sprint, so every few beers they order a Radler – a half beer half lemonade concoction.
Be happy no matter what tent you are in. It’s all the same dancing, cheering, and laughter everywhere so have fun!
Finally, come prepared knowing these 28 hilarious German words
Do you have any tips to share from your experience at Oktoberfest? Leave a comment and share below!
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Seriously I have never been to Oktoberfest. This rookies guide is exactly what I need! Thanks so much for all the details. I am going to have to add this to my bucket list now! Love your photos too!
This is a great guide! Especially for someone like me who has never been! I have heard lots of great things about Air Bnb for booking accommodations. I will certainly have to check this out!
I am all for Airbnb despite my host canceling on me last minute. Book well in advance and pay attention to the host ratings. I went with a new host therefore should have known better. Lesson learned.
This sounds like a fun festival to attend and like it would be a cool way to make new friends.
I was so much fun. Everyone was super friendly even if it was the beer talking haha. Made great memories.
This is a fun event to attend in a beautiful like this. That experience that you had with the tent reservation was so cool. Gave me an idea on what to do when we visit there. Great post! 😀
I got really lucky with getting such a fun tent. Thanks for reading.
I’ve ever been in oktoberfest event like this! The cookie and pretzel necklaces are pretty amazing, having fun like a german is a unique way to celebrate. I totally love this guide, I’m sure you had fun with them Love all your tips and photos as well.
Thank you so much. Oktoberfest is something everyone should attend at least once!
I love Octoberfest! Not because its my birth month but because I think its the merriest month of the year aside from December of course.
I think you’re right. I love October. I’m reading for the holidays. By December I’m worn out haha
We’re throwing an Oktoberfest party and this type of shirt and hair is exactly what I had in mind. You look great! Where did you find this?
Oh how fun! I found it at C&N in Prague.
Never been but it looks like bucketloads of fun! Love how everyone gets into the dressing up. Great advice to buy from last year’s festival! As so many people will only wear their outfit once then sell it on. A shame that even booking in advance is so expensive for accommodation, but I can understand people want to capitalise on it. What a fun festival though! Great post, very informative and helpful.
Thanks so much for this guide to Oktoberfest, especially the tips about finding others to make a group to be able to enter the tent, and also about outfits and places to stay.
Very detailed post on Oktoberfest covering all minute things to be taken care of. I loved the idea to purchase traditional Bavarian dress in advance, because renting looks expensive option. I also loved those pretzel necklaces with cute German phrases. Thanks for sharing!
That’s a very informative post in did. I have a dream to be there during the Octoberfest and get drunk like hell. Don’t know when will that happen but whenever be that time – these tips will help me. It is not just a fest where you can simply walk into. It seems you have to plan everything at least a 12 months prior to your visit. Great Post – Prost to You
Wow such a fun filled festival. Must look out for costumes on sale after the festival. Great tip. I prefer wearing costumes suited to occasions. Pretzel necklace is such a great idea 🙂 Can you eat that too?
This is a very detailed post on how to go about preparing for a visit during this epic festival. This has been on my list for a long time. I would love to experience the culture during this fest. It looks like so much fun and so very vibrant.
This looks like so much fun! I’ve never been to Oktoberfest, but I would love to! I love your blouse BTW, it’s so cute! Thanks for all the tips, I’ll make sure to follow them for my next trip to Germany, I’ll make sure to learn a few German chants hahaha