What You Should Know

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What Should I Know Before I Go to Germany, Switzerland, and Austria?


Like most places in the world today, cellular communication is available throughout much of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Please be sure to check with your provider to understand the fees and options available for your phone. Calls can also be made from phone kiosks, located near Metro and train stations, tourist attractions, and in downtown areas, with pre-paid, locally purchased phone cards. Free WiFi is readily available at restaurants, hotels, and some town squares.


The electrical current in is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC); wall outlets take plugs with two round prongs.

Consider making a small investment in a universal adapter, which has several types of plugs in one lightweight, compact unit. Most laptops and mobile phone chargers are dual voltage (i.e., they operate equally well on 110 and 220 volts), so require only an adapter. These days the same is true of small appliances such as hair dryers. Always check labels and manufacturer instructions to be sure. Don’t use 110-volt outlets marked “for shavers only” for high-wattage appliances such as hair-dryers.


Germany and Austria have adopted the Euro, while Switzerland’s currency is the Swiss Franc. All three countries are very modern and most shops will accept (and even prefer) credit cards for purchases. However, it is always wise to have a few Euro bills on-hand for smaller vendors and a few Euro coins to pay for the use of restrooms throughout the country.

Passports and Visas


Visitors from the United States need a passport valid for the entirety of their trip to Mexico.

Before your trip, make two copies of your passport’s data page (one for someone at home and another for you to carry separately). Or scan the page and email it to someone at home and yourself.


Visas are not necessary for those with U.S. passports valid for the duration of their stay, providing that they stay for less than 180 days.