Have the right money in the right place
Many Americans are accustomed to using credit cards everywhere they go, not realizing the service charges that stores rack up for every transaction. While most businesses in Germany do have credit card capabilities, there is nearly always a minimum purchase to use a card. Make sure to have cash on you at all times(!). Between public transportation and small purchases, cash is a necessity here. Unfortunately, pick pockets are still a concern in busy areas so divide up your cash and be sure it’s hard to access for any shady scoundrels.
Can you hold it?
Be ready to budget a few extra euros for some things you may not be used to paying for - namely public restrooms. In many busy public areas, such as parks and train stations, don’t be surprised to fork over .50 or 1 Euro if you’re in desperate need of the facilities (did we mention to keep cash?). We've coined the pre-emptied motto: if it's free, you must go pee.
Waters all around
Another way that we try to save is by only drinking water when eating out. Unfortunately, those ordering a water at German restaurants can expect to receive a bottle of carbonated water, though ‘flat’ bottled water is also available. In any case, it often costs as much as a glass of wine! Given those options, we take the wine.
Know your public transit options
One of the best things about Europe is the availability of public transportation - especially trains and buses between cities. And while it is true that trains can easily get you from place to place, we’ve found a significant difference between online searches and what we actually can book at the station - especially in Germany. Much of Europe is connected through border crossing companies like RegioJet, but Germany's trains are much more local. One great practice is to determine your future departure details at the train station the moment you arrive. This way you can patiently familiarizing yourself with their kiosk or representatives without worrying about missing your departure or a good deal. Similar to airlines, train prices vary significantly by day and time. Traveling mid-week and usually after 9am will save you a TON. We saved over 100 euros bumping our trip to Munich from Monday to Tuesday!
Walk with care
We choose to walk through cities whenever possible to take in the atmosphere and to save a buck or two. This still works in Germany, but be aware - walking through cities require full focus! Many cities, Munich in particular, have bicyclists in the thousands and many of the paths are set up for them as much as for pedestrians. Cross walks have separate paths for walkers and bikers while signs help indicate which sidewalks are for whom. Remember to look both ways before you cross…most anywhere…to avoid a collision while staying to one side of unmarked walkways.