Things you should consider bringing to Germany!


My husband and I moved to Germany with just our suitcases and 2 pups! Crazy right? Actually, my husband wanted me to move across the pond with only two suitcases, and I had to tell him he was insane! Don't worry, he ended up giving me 1.5 more suitcases, but we were just too tight on cash to ship everything else over. I cried a little watching 60% of my belongings given away/donated, but my husband figured it'd be more economical to slowly re-buy everything once he started his new position.
Three months later, we are still trying to get settled in! Moving to Germany sounds super glamorous and adventurous, but when you've survived off of the wages of a grad student and a small restaurant manager, it's all but glam at the beginning. Now don't get me wrong! This is an opportunity of a lifetime, and we have travel plans for this year! It's just been a difficult transition because we weren't compensated relocation costs. So it's a huge upfront cost that takes time to catch up on.
Anyways, not everything has been easy to repurchase or find so I thought I could help anybody else planning to move over with their packing decisions. This is not an ad; I was not compensated in any way for writing about any of these products/brands in this post.

*Bonus Tip: We wish we had known a bit more about Amazon.com in Germany
Make sure to read about my post on Amazon.de here before purchasing anything. You want to make sure you're not making mistakes like bringing Amazon.com gift cards over.


Comforter/Duvets












This is one we didn't expect! Comforters/Duvets (search for duvets, you won't find anything with comforters) are expensive here if you're going to have a king sized bed. In Atlanta, I could find a king sized, 100% cotton, fluffy comforter for about $40-50 at TJ Maxx. The cheapest king sized duvet/bettdecke you can find on Amazon.de (with reviews) is €55, and that does NOT come with a cover. You normally wouldn't need one in the US, but duvets are just plain white here and usually made of polyester. Large washing machines are also less common so you'd probably want a cover you could wash more often. If I want a king sized, 100% cotton duvet cover, it rings me another €30. If you'd prefer buying your duvet in person, good luck finding king sizes in stores! The only ones we've been able to find have been at IKEA. €80 for their cheapest duvet and their covers ring you up at least another €20. They do have a cotton duvet though! For only €170!😂
So this was the cost of our bedding situation (we buy all white as we have dogs and need something we can bleach)
€25 400 Threadcount 100% Cotton Fitted Sheet - Amazon Basics
€26 400 Threadcount 100% Cotton Flat Sheet - Amazon Basics
€55 Light Polyester Duvet - Amazon Basics
€37 100% Cotton Duvet Cover + 2 Pillowcases
€143 Total! I could get all of this for the same/better quality for half of that in the US.
Now, if you don't care about quality and are ok with jersey polyester, you can find cheap prices, but I think those are usually geared towards students and don't come in king sizes.
Why is bedding so expensive? One of the main reasons is definitely because we have a "king" bed (they go by sizes here, we went with the biggest size at IKEA 180x200cm). If you don't need a large bed, I'm sure you'd have more options & cheaper prices!
Also, in some parts of Germany, couples like to have their own duvets and sometimes even beds! We've definitely met some people who say that's not common anymore, but we've also come across hotels, AirBnBs, and people here with separate comforters (the photo shows what I mean). So maybe the demand for larger blankets isn't there? I'll write more about that here... (coming soon)


American Keyboards

I'm not sure what you'll be bringing or what your technology preferences are, but if you're picky about your keyboards/will be needing one, bring one to Germany! German keyboards are different and the only English keyboards you'll find are from the UK which are still different from the US keyboards (different symbols). Here's the difference between the UK (top) and US (bottom).


Dog beds

This is solely from what I've seen on Amazon.de. I have not had the chance to look for the local pet store here. If you will be bringing over your pups, large dog beds seem to be quite expensive here. And carpet is not common here, so your pup will be wanting a bed! If you only have a small dog, you don't need to worry.


Universal converters

Outlet converters are a bit more expensive here than you can find in the US. I would bring plenty since you'll have your laptops/cellphones/whatever other electronics you choose to bring. It'll also be good if you plan on traveling, to have universal converters.


German 101 books

I know, this one sounds silly. Cherry, why wouldn't you buy these books before leaving for Germany? We were short on space/weight as it was so I didn't even think about it! It was hectic enough as it was just trying to get rid of all of our stuff and figure out packing. Don't worry, they have learning German books here. They just don't have a million options like you probably would in the US so you don't get much of a pick or probably the best options. Also, don't believe people when they say you don't need to learn German. That may be the case for vacationers, but living here is another story, especially if you'll be in East Germany.


Winter coats

If you want a quality long winter coat to keep you warm, good luck finding one for under €300! Especially if you get cold easily and want an extra warm one. It doesn't get too cold during the winter here, but it does get pretty windy/rainy and if you're not bringing a car, you'll be walking a lot. I wanted a long coat that would keep me warm down to my knees because I've heard of bad cramping stories for girls who move to colder areas (I come from Hotlanta, which has ironically been colder this winter than Germany, but that hasn't been the norm). In the US, I feel like there are plenty of huge clearance sales at bargain/outlet stores where you can find really nice quality winter coats for at most $200. Doesn't seem to be the case here. I did hear Germans view a nice winter coat as an investment to use for several years so they don't mind investing a large sum on one, but it's too much for somebody on a budget like me. I wish I had bought one before coming over. I did manage to find a long winter coat at the TK Maxx (yes, it's the same company as TJ Maxx; don't know why they chose to change it to TK Maxx for the EU) two towns over for only €100. Not as warm as I would like it to be, but it was literally the only long coat they had. If you don't care about the length, they do have good deals on ski jackets which are sure to keep you warm! You may just have to fight people over one, because TK Maxxes are always crowded apparently.


Tyenol/Advil/Ibuprofen/OTC Meds

This is a funny one. You can't get your regular over the counter medicines here at the grocery store like you do back home. You have to go to the 'Apotheke' (there's literally one every couple of blocks) and then describe to the pharmacist about your condition in detail only to have them try to give you an herbal/homeopathic product instead of the aspirin or cold medicine that you want. We were told to just keep turning these down till they give you what you want. If you love homeopathic products, Germany is great for you. They're available on the counters in these Apothekes and are always recommended before any medicine.
Apparently, pharmacists are reluctant to give you these OTC medicines because they view self-medicating a means of avoiding a doctor’s consultation. I've also heard Aspirin/Ibuprofen/Etc are much weaker in dosage here. Which leads me to say, read all labels carefully! Make sure to always read the 'Active Drugs' label to make sure you're getting the right product because names aren't the same here. Something called one name in the US might be something completely different here in Germany. And good luck trying to get your family/friends to ship some OTC medicines over. I've been told that Customs will not pass it through.
OTC medicines can vary in price from Apotheke to Apotheke, but prescription drugs are highly regulated and required to be the same price at every pharmacy in Germany (thought that was cool!). I guess it doesn't really matter because your insurance should cover these prescription drugs so you only have to pay a small deductible.
And in case you get confused, 'Apothekes' and 'Drogeries' are different. Apothekes are pharmacies and Drogeries are more like convenience stores (Walgreens/CVS without the pharmacy). So Google Maps search carefully 😉


Brown Sugar

There is no brown sugar in regular grocery stores here. Don't know if they exist at all in Germany! So if you're a baker and some of your favorite recipes call for brown sugar, bring some over. The closest thing to brown sugar you'll find here is 'Sugar in the Raw.'


Measuring cups/spoons

Also something for the bakers, just bring some measuring cups/spoons over if you have some extra room. It'll save you the hassle of converting all of your favorite recipes. B u t, I did find some on Amazon.de so if you don't have any fancy measuring cups (like those adorable ones at Anthropologie - y'all know what I'm talking about), you can always buy some here.


Salad Dressing

 No more beloved Ranch Dressing for you! I was never a fan of ranch dressing (except Taco Mac's! 🤤), but my husband's definitely crying on the inside about this one. French dressing here is definitely not the same, and I have yet to see any Italian or Caesar dressing. Most of it's just 'Yoghurt Dressing' or 'Yoghurt with Dill' or some Vinaigrettes.


Cosmetics

This one should be a bit obvious, but for my fellow product whores out there, if you're picky, bring your stuff over. There is no Sephora or ULTA here. A lot of American products are also double the cost. I am struggling to find the right stuff here with my lack of German; takes me 5 min just to decipher one ingredients list. I would bring plenty of stuff over and do some research on German products ahead of time so you know what you want to try when you arrive.


Cars

The big question expats ask. Should I bring my car over? I guess ultimately it ends up being about which city you'll be moving to and how much you'll be traveling/like outdoor activities. Most blogs I've read have said not to because insurance and gas are both very expensive here and public transportation is so convenient you don't need it. Which is true, and depending on where you live, there may also be parking fees, but if you plan on traveling often and don't know how to drive a stick, renting a car can be quite expensive. We looked at all of the rental agencies, and the cheapest automatic car we can find is about €90/day because you also have to get insurance. That's €270/weekend just for the car/insurance! Even if you know how to drive stick, it only drops that price down to about €75-80/day.
So I'd say it completely depends on your lifestyle. If you're a big traveler/travel blogger/photographer, and you'll be traveling majority of your time here, you'll want a car (doesn't mean you have to bring yours over, you can always buy one here, you'll just need to learn manual as that's the norm). If you're a big outdoor/camping nut, you'll need a car to get to a lot of the best spots in Germany. If you don't plan on traveling often or venturing outside of cities, then you really won't be needing a car here. So make sure to do your research to see if it's worth it. Weigh how much you plan on traveling and where/how far, car shipping cost vs buying a car here, gas costs/if there are parking fees for your residence (our neighborhood doesn't), and how much your insurance would be.



*This is simply what I learned from my personal experiences/research. Please always make sure to consult with the proper authorities and take this post with a grain of salt.
**This was not an ad; I was not compensated in any way for writing about any of these products/brands in this post.

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