For the diehard beer enthusiast, attending Oktoberfest in Munich is the ultimate pilgrimage. It’s also one that can stretch your wallet because like any tourist-heavy event, lodging, beers and traditional souvenirs typically cost top dollar. But there are some ways to save money, so even those who don’t have a lot of cash to spend can enjoy the festivities. Here are five handy tips on how to attend Oktoberfest on a budget.
Consider Camping Instead of a Hotel
As you can imagine, hotels in Munich, especially in the city center, book up fast for Oktoberfest. Not to mention they can be quite expensive, especially if you stay in more popular areas. But if you don’t mind roughing it a little, camping is a great, cheap way to enjoy Oktoberfest. Stoke Travel offers an all-inclusive package that covers a pre-erected tent, daily hot breakfast and nightly dinner for only 60 euros per night. If you don’t need free food in your life, Wies’n Camp also offers cheap accommodations with tent rentals starting at 55 euros and spaces available for 14 euros if you bring your own tent.
Consider a Used or Rental Trachten
Anyone who’s gone to Oktoberfest will tell you that you have to dress the part. If you don’t show up in the traditional festival dress, or trachten, you will be judged. This means that men should wear lederhosen and women dirndls. As you can imagine, these getups are going to be way more expensive if you wait to buy them in Munich when you arrive. Try browsing eBay or your local second-hand shop to find authentic garments at a lower price. Whatever you do, don’t buy the cheap, bagged costume version of these outfits (no dirndls with hems above the knee, ladies!) or you’re going to look even more ridiculous than if you didn’t dress traditionally at all. There are also places that rent lederhosen and dirndls to festival goers, but you’ll have to plan on being extra tidy if you go that route—mustard stains will likely result in you buying the costume anyway.
Pregame with Grocery Store Beers
We’re not saying to go crazy here, as you’ll have plenty to drink inside the tents. But we suggest taking advantage of Munich’s open container policy before buying your first 10-euro stein. Beers from convenience and grocery stores cost a fraction of the price. So if you feel like getting a nice buzz before entering the tents, sip a couple brews while you peruse the festival grounds. Another tip: Water is super expensive inside the tents, so hydrate while you’re at it.
Eat Outside the Tents
You’re going to work up an appetite guzzling those big steins of beer. If you plan on eating inside the beer tent, you’ll pay a lot for things like sausages and pretzels. By simply wandering outside of the tent onto the fairgrounds, you’ll find the same delicious, traditional food for half the price. There are some larger dishes served inside the tents—think oxtail and half chickens—that are a good buy if you plan on splitting with a friend. But if you’re looking for your own currywurst, take a walk to save some cash.
Use Public Transportation
Unlike certain cities where public transit feels like more of a burden than a relief after an evening of drinking (cough, cough, New York), Munich’s system is pretty good. The Germans are an efficient people, and their trains and buses are reliable. Map out your route in advance and make sure to have clear instructions handy on how to get back to wherever you’re staying. You’ll feel good about the money you save and proud of yourself for successfully navigating through an unfamiliar city. But if for any reason you feel too tipsy to handle yourself on the bus or train, by all means, call an Uber. Better to be safe than sorry.