Everything You Should Bring When Moving to Germany - The things you'd never think of!

    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! Thankfully, he ended up giving me more space, but we were just too tight on cash to ship everything else over. I cried a little watching 60% of my belongings given away, but my husband figured it'd be more economical to 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 it's been a difficult transition because we weren't compensated relocation costs. So it has been 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.

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' 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 (unless you love homeopathic products - then Germany is great for you).
    The counters are filled only with the homeopathic products 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. Aspirin/Ibuprofen/Etc are also much weaker in dosage while much pricier.
    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 😉

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).

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 can't find anything specifically geared for English speakers. 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.


    This is one we didn't expect! Comforters/Duvets (search for duvets online, they're not called comforters here) are expensive here if you're going to have a king sized bed. In Atlanta, I could find a nice king sized, 100% cotton, fluffy comforter set for about $40-50 at TJ Maxx. But the cheapest polyester king sized duvet/bettdecke you can find on Amazon.de (with reviews) alone is €55 and does NOT come with a cover. You normally wouldn't need one in the US, but duvets are just plain white here and large washing machines aren't common so you probably want a cover you can wash more often. If I want a 100% cotton duvet cover, it rings me another €30. And 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!😂

    I could get all of this for the same/better quality for half of that in the US. If you don't care about quality and are ok with cheap jersey polyester, you can find bargain prices, but they are 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 (we went with the biggest size at IKEA 180x200cm). So if you don't need a large bed, I'm sure you'd have more options & cheaper prices! But also, in many parts of Germany, couples like to have their own duvets and sometimes even beds! We've met some people who say that's not as common anymore, but all of our hotels and AirBnBs had separate comforters/beds (as shown in the photo above). So maybe the demand for larger blankets isn't there?

Dog beds

    This is solely from what I've seen on Amazon.de. I have not had the chance to look at 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 in Germany, 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.

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 a long one. It doesn't get crazy 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. 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. That doesn't seem to be the case here. I 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.

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.' (update - have found some on Amazon for a hefty price)

Salad Dressing

    No more beloved Ranch Dressing for you! I was never a fan of ranch dressing, but my husband's definitely crying on the inside about this one. French dressing here is 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.


    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 (update - Sephora now exists here in Germany). 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.


    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 your car may need to be modified to fit EU standards). Public transportation is so convenient you probably won't need it. Which is all true, and depending on where you live, there may also be parking fees to add on, 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. Compare how much you plan on traveling and where/how far, car shipping/modification costs 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.