Are you traveling to Germany? Here’s what Americans need to know.

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Berlin is full of life again, full of tourists trying to take the best picture for their Instagram feeds. The clubs the city is known for are open again, with both tourists and locals dancing to techno until the wee hours of the morning.

“Berlin is open and as vibrant and dynamic as it used to be before covid-19,” said Ralf Ostendorf, director of marketing management at VisitBerlin.

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Susan Choi, the owner of the cocktail bar Mr. Susan, relied on the locals to keep the doors open while the pandemic was at its peak. Now that the journey is back, Choi has noticed the influx of international guests through her doors, especially visitors from the United States.

“You can see at the bar that all the Americans are back drinking margaritas and dirty martinis,” Choi says.

With the easing of coronavirus restrictions in recent months, there has been a clear sign of pent-up travel demand as visitors slowly return to Germany for a short European holiday. Here are some tips if you have also decided to go.

Travel to Germany is open to everyone, regardless of vaccination status. As of June 11, travelers no longer need to show a negative test or proof of improvement to enter. But there are other limitations: Although the EU has recommended lifting the mask mandate when flying, FFP2 or medical-grade masks are required for aircraft taking off or landing in Germany. At German airports, masks are recommended, but not required.

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Airports in Europe are experiencing the same crowds and chaos as US airports due to labor shortages, so make sure you give yourself enough time to check your luggage, get through security and immigration checkpoints and eat before a long flight.

What you should know about restrictions

You no longer need to show proof of vaccination or use a mask to enter shops, hotels, bars and restaurants in Germany. A mask – more specifically an N95, KN95 or FFP2 – is required on public transport. Since the regulations can be easily changed, Ostendorf recommends that you regularly check for updates in Berlin and other regions you visit.

To facilitate the increase in the cost of living, the German government offers a monthly transit card of 9 euros which is valid anywhere in the country in June, July and August. This ticket is available to everyone, including visitors, and can be used for local and regional trains, buses and trams. Tickets can be purchased at Deutsche Bahn ticket machines or local public transport stations.

While the discount ticket encourages people to use public transport, trains across the country have been packed with travelers who take advantage of the agreement. Deutsche Bahn warns that if you are planning a trip along tourist routes with the 9-euro ticket, expect a higher number of passengers, especially on weekends and sunny days. To avoid crowds, travel on weekdays if possible.

Katherina Klimke, vice president of operations for 25hours Hotels, said that orders from Americans have doubled compared to last year, but they are not at the pre-pandemic level. She advises visitors to book their hotel stay early to ensure the best rates and availability.

“Although leisure destinations fill up faster and reservations two to three months in advance will be advisable, some city destinations may also be available at the last minute,” Klimke adds.

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Sebastian Riewe, director of sales and marketing of the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, has also noticed an increase in bookings from Americans. They have had some last minute booking requests that they were unable to accommodate.

“Ideally, we would recommend that customers go back to the old booking patterns – ie a delivery time of at least six to eight weeks, or ideally two to six months for international trips,” says Riewe.

Hotels and restaurants are not the only ones seeing an increase in bookings; Trips around Germany are on the rise again. Since March, BottleStops founder Jerome Hainz has received many inquiries and bookings for his wine tours and tastings for Mainz and the surrounding German wine regions. One significant difference is that more people choose private tours.

“This has to do with people wanting to be careful about sitting in a car with strangers,” says Hainz.

Due to this demand, Hainz suggests booking private tours three to four weeks in advance, but he said that public tours are more flexible and can sometimes be arranged at the last minute.

How to find tests before returning home

As of June 12, it is no longer necessary to show a negative coronavirus test to enter the United States. You may still want to be tested before the flight home for safety.

You should still test for travel, say health experts

You can find test sites at all major airports in Germany, but expect to book an hour and pay a premium. The easiest and cheapest way to test is to buy a coronavirus test at home, which you can find in most grocery stores and pharmacies for less than $ 2.