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What to Pack and Bring When Moving to Germany

Updated on June 7, 2013

Packing Advice and Suggestions when Relocating to Germany

Are you planning a move to Germany and are not sure what to bring with you or leave home? I've recently moved to Germany, so this advice pulls from my experiences as well as many friends that have also moved to Germany from the States. There was not a whole lot of information available on moving suggestions prior to my relocation, so I am hoping that this up-to-date information is useful for you.

German Plug Adapter
German Plug Adapter

Most Important Items to Bring to Germany

There are several items that I would consider to be "must haves" when traveling or moving to Germany. These items will make getting around and life in general much easier for you.

  • Plug Adapters- In Germany, the outlets accept a two-prong plug. The prongs are also cylindrical in shape, so they will not accept European or American appliances. Be sure to bring at least one with you for charging phones, cameras, etc until you are settled.
  • Power Converter- In addition to a German plug adapter, you may also need a power converter. German outlets are 220V, whereas most foreign appliances are 110V. Check the plugs on your appliances to see if you will need a power converter.
  • Maps or European GPS- Roads in Germany can be incredibly difficult to navigate. Additionally, many roads are not marked with street signs. For this reason, it is extremely important to carry maps or a European GPS in the car. If you own an American GPS, you may be able to purchase a European Map Package from the manufacturer's website.
  • Umbrellas or Other Rain Gear- It rains a LOT in Germany. Also, the weather is extremely sporadic. It can be perfectly sunny one minute and raining in the next. Be sure to have umbrellas or rain gear that folds up small, so that you are able to carry it in your purse or pocket.
  • Pocket Language Converter or Dictionaries- Unless you have mastered the German language, you will want to be sure to have a language converter or dictionary handy. While many Germans can speak English, the majority of road signs, city signs, restaurant menus, etc will be in German.
  • Euro- Euro is the currency for Germany. While credit cards are widely accepted, you will want to be sure to have Euro available for smaller stores and restaurants. Also, Euro is necessary for most parking spaces and garages.

Furniture to Bring or Leave when Moving to Germany

Here are some tips on what furniture to bring with you and avoid for your move:

  • Streamlined sofas and chairs- The majority of your living room furniture will easily fit through doorways and into homes in Germany, however, avoid bringing oversized furniture as it will not fit through doorways and may not fit through windows either in order to get them into your home.
  • Beds up to Full Sized- Single, Double, Twin, and Full-sized beds should fit fine in Germany. However, you may have trouble with moving in a Queen or King-sized bed. Often times while you may be able to fold the mattress to fit it up a stairwell, the box-spring will not fit. Additionally, you can not purchase a box-spring in Germany as their bed frames differ from ours. That said, you could purchase a full bedding unit in Germany if you don't plan to try to accommodate a mattress from the States.
  • Armoires, Wardrobes, and Chests- Most German homes do not have closets. For that reason, it is essential to have armoires or wardrobes to house all of your clothing. While you can certainly purchase them in Germany, it is advisable to bring over anything that you already own that could serve this purpose.

Appliances to Bring or Leave when Moving to Germany

The most important thing to consider when deciding which appliances to bring or leave when moving to Germany is the voltage of the appliance. As mentioned above, most American appliances are 110V, while Germany outlets require 220V. If you want to use a 110V appliance in Germany, you will need to have a power converter. The wattage and price of the power converter will depend on the wattage required by your appliance. For example, if you have a TV that is 1000+ watts, you will want to purchase a 2000 watt power converter. These converters can range up to $200 in price, so you will want to be selective in what appliances you are willing to buy a converter for after moving.

Appliances to Consider Taking:

  • Plasma, LED, or LCD TV- If you have a pricey TV, paying $100-$200 dollars for a power converter will certainly be worth the investment in order to not have to purchase another TV.
  • Blue-ray Player- Many blue-ray players already run on 220V. So if yours does, you'll only need a plug adapter in order to use it in Germany.
  • Gaming Systems- While gaming systems are not terribly expensive and are generally 110V, if you are already utilizing a power converter for your television, you may be able to put your gaming system on the same adapter.
  • Cameras- Many cameras and camcorders are already running on 220V, so all you will need is a plug adapter.
  • iPods, iPads, iPhones- Most, if not all Apple products are 220V. You would still need a plug adapter, although, you can generally also charge those items through your computer or car outlet.
  • Laptops- Many laptops are 220V. You will want to check your laptop to be sure prior to plugging it in. Sometimes it is necessary to flip a switch first.
  • Baby Appliances- Surprisingly, many baby products, such as swings, monitors, etc are on 220V. Check the product before bringing and be sure to get a plug adapter for the wall.
  • Lamps- You will be able to use your American lamps in Germany. Just be sure to purchase German light bulbs and plug adapters for the wall.

Appliances to Consider Leaving:

  • Hair Appliances- Appliances such as a blow dryer, straightener, curling iron, etc utilize a surprising amount of voltage and are generally 110V if you bought them in the US. It can be cheaper to purchase new hair appliances than to purchase power converters.
  • Kitchen Appliances- Like hair appliances, kitchen appliances are generally 110V and take up a surprising amount of wattage. For that reason, purchasing power converters for them is not necessarily economical. You can usually purchase pre-owned kitchen appliances as thrift stores around Germany or you purchase the German version of your appliance in a retail store.
  • Washer and Dryer- These will likely not work at all in Germany. You will want to purchase a washer and dryer with German specifications. There are also laundry mats in most areas if you do not want to purchase the new appliances.

This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but hopefully it has given you an idea of what appliances to potentially bring or leave. The best advise is to check your plugs for wattage and then do some price checks on power converters for the needed wattage. That will help you determine whether it is cheaper to buy the converter or to just purchase a comparable German appliance.

Items that Won't Ship to Germany

There are a couple of items that you may want to consider purchasing prior to your move. While many large manufacturers such as Target, Amazon, Walmart, etc. will ship to Germany, there are several types of items that generally have shipping restrictions. These are also the types of items that can be tricky to find in Germany. There may be items on this list that you are able to have shipped to you, it will just be more difficult than trying to get the item in the States.

  • American Furniture- If there is a particular brand that you are font of, or if you have a piece of furniture with accessories that you are considering purchasing, you may want to purchase those items prior to moving.
  • Dog Training Devices- There are several dog training devices, such as shock collars, that are prohibited in Germany. Those items will very likely not be able to ship to Germany.
  • Baby Products- If you have or plan to have a baby in Germany, consider purchasing certain baby products before you move. While there are baby stores in Germany, the prices are more expensive and the offerings can be quite different than what you'd expect in the states.
  • Items with Post Office Restrictions- According to the USPS, alcohol, perfume, medications, and firearms cannot be shipped internationally. Also, it can be very tricky to have food items shipped.

If you are unsure of an item, you might try to look up whether or not it will ship to Germany prior to your move.


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