Sooooooooooo.... I wrote out almost an entire blog detailing our whole Oktoberfest experience in Munich a couple of weeks ago but decided it was just a tad meh and lengthy. Every time someone asked me how Oktoberfest was, I would say it was great BUT that I would definitely do it differently if I went again. So, I decided why not just scrap the original blog post and do a post on how I would do Oktoberfest differently!
A little backstory on our trip: a couple of months ago, a few of my flight attendant friends and I decided to plan a trip to Munich for Oktoberfest! Three of us came from San Diego, two from Los Angeles and one from Atlanta. As flight attendants, we're extremely lucky that we get to essentially fly for free (on international flights, we pay airport departure taxes). Flying for free comes with a lot of uncertainty and the inevitable anxiety because we fly standby which means we literally standby hoping there will be empty seats for us (that's another whole blog post in itself!). Flying standby usually means a lot of last minute planning because you don't know 100% if you are going to get on your flight 'til the day of. Luckily we have tools that help us gauge our chances of getting on the flight but because everything in the airline industry can change in the matter of seconds, you really don't know until the day of whether or how you're getting to your destination. This brings me the first thing I would do differently if I were to do Oktoberfest again.
#1: Have a back up plan for everything
When we got to Munich, we contacted our Airbnb host who then had us contact her son with all future communication (red flag #1?) and we asked if we could check in early or at least unload our bags early. He said no because the cleaners were on their way. Ok cool, no problem. We decided to go to a coffee shop, go dirndl shopping and obviously go get some traditional Bavarian food and beer! After we finished our mini adventure, we decided to contact our Airbnb host's son and check if we could check in now. To our surprise, we were met with anger (red flag #2!) and frustration on his end. He demanded that we meet him 45 minutes away and that we pay him a deposit for the keys because he couldn't trust us since we were late (excuse me, what?). He angrily explained that we were late to pick up the keys which is when we explained that he never told us a specific time and we were just following his mom's instructions detailed on Airbnb stating that check in was after 3 pm. He began to scream, shout at us (red flag #3, for sure) and became even more angry and eventually hung up on us. We contacted Airbnb and explained that after his hostility and the fact that demanded an unwarranted deposit, we did not feel safe staying there. Here's where having a back up plan would've been golden. I wish we would've had a solid backup plan if our accommodation plans fell through because we were stuck in Starbucks (caffeine and free wifi) for over 5 hours trying to square everything away with Airbnb and find new accommodations. It was a major struggle to find last minute accommodations for six girls during the busiest tourist season in Munich. In the end, we had to split up, three of us went to an Airbnb and had an amazing last minute host and two went to a hotel. Not ideal but at least we finally had a place to sleep without hostility. Next time, I'll make sure to have a solid back up plan for accommodations such as a plan B hotel with a flexible cancellation policy.
Just six girls enjoying beer, pretzels and Bavarian food (thinking they were going to have accommodations afterwards)
The face of six girls after realizing they have no longer have accommodations and have to scramble to find some at the last minute
We walked (what seemed like 5,000 miles) to this Starbucks to get some caffeine and use wifi. Picture one of about one thousand of me knocked out.
#2: Pick a time frame to do Oktoberfest
Everyone had told us horror stories of what to expect at Oktoberfest. They told us that if we didn't get there bright and early and before all the tents opened, we would be out of luck and kicked out at noon if we didn't have reservations for tables. I don't know if we were given wrong information or if everyone's experience is different but that is not what we encountered. We got there at about 9:30 am (before the tents opened) and were immediately given a table. The vibe during the day was definitely chill (compared to the evening vibe) but upbeat and fun. There was families and older adults all having a great time. After we left our first tent, we decided to go out and explore the festival. We never once encountered having a hard time getting a table nor were we ever kicked out because we didn't have a reservation. Maybe it's because we went during the week or maybe it's because we were a group of girls but we didn't experience what others had told us. So next time I do Oktoberfest, I'm going to pick a timeframe to do Oktoberfest and either do Oktoberfest early in the day or do it in the afternoon/evening. This year we got there at 9:30 am and didn't leave 'til about 11 pm. For me, that's a bad idea because day drinking WIPES me out so I was over everything by nighttime. The vibes during the day are definitely way different than the vibes at night so it's totally at your discretion which time to go to. If you want a laid back yet fun atmosphere, I would go during the day. If you want a more party atmosphere with everyone dancing on benches, go in the evening. Both atmospheres were fun and different in their own ways so it would be hard to pick a time frame but for me it's important to do so because if I were to go in the day time, I would have all evening to either sight see, explore and definitely recover. If I were to go in the evening, I would have the morning time to relax, prepare for the shenanigans and sleep because let's be real, if you go in the evening, you will be lacking sleep that night. So, my advice to you is, figure out what type of experience/atmosphere you want and stick to a time frame (also, take into consideration wether you're going during the weekend or weekday).
Arrived and ready to go! This was the line to get inside the Hofbrau tent. Again, pick a time frame to come!
Day time crowd. Fun but laid back!
Snapshot of Oktoberfest during the day
And a snapshot of the nighttime scene before 100% of the people were on the benches
#3: Wear flat shoes. One more time for the people in the back, WEAR FLAT SHOES!
Before we went dirndl shopping, I was convinced I was going to wear flat shoes (Converse to be exact) but after we went dirndl shopping, I thought "Hmm, maybe I should wear some booties because I'm so short." Cute, but bad idea. Next time, I will forsake the looking cute part and just wear flat shoes. We did a ridiculous amount of walking so even now looking back, I wouldn't wear Converse but maybe some cute flats or TOMS or any comfortable/stylish shoes that I wouldn't mind possibly getting dirty.
In theory, wearing booties sounded cute but in reality, it wasn't practical.
#4: Get sleep and hydrate the day/night before
This was a little out of our control with the fiasco of the day we had before (we didn't have a bed to call ours until about 10 PM the night prior, insert eye rolling emoji here). But next time, it will be mandatory to be well rested and extremely hydrated the day prior to Oktoberfest shenanigans. Water is not free at Oktoberfest (not even tap water) so make sure to hydrate accordingly the day prior or bring extra euros to take into consideration for your water tab.
This is how tired and exhausted I was the day before Oktoberfest, hence get some rest before the festivities!
#5: EAT. MORE. CHICKEN.
Weird, right? Yes, but if I have one regret, it is not eating enough rotisserie chicken at Oktoberfest. The rotisserie chicken at Oktoberfest is to.die.for. No exaggerations here friends. You would think someone would say they would do things differently by having more beer. This girl right here would do things differently by having more chicken, plenty of beer was had. We would have guys offer to buy us beer and we would be like "Nahhh, but if you want to get some chicken, now that would be great!" I'm not sure if Germany just has some superb quality chicken or if it's a case of the drunkchies, but the chicken was drool worthy. I'm sad there is no picture evidence of our group of girls salivating over the plates of chicken.
Imagine me embracing the rotisserie chicken like this instead. Don't have a picture of the chicken so I guess this'll do.