Oktoberfest is one of those events that you always hear about, always see photos of and always think about when you think of Germany, but never really think you are going to make it there. However, if you find yourself in Europe during the fall, you definitely need to make Oktoberfest a priority of things to experience.
Here is the advice I wish I had before attending Oktoberfest that will hopefully help you survive one of the craziest weekends of you life.
1. Plan ahead of time
PLAN! PLAN! PLAN! I cannot stress this enough. Do not book your living accommodations or travel super close to the weekend of Oktoberfest that you are going to unless you want to drop an insane amount of money. These Air BnBs, hotels, hostels, etc. sell out months in advance and if you want to be anywhere close to the festival grounds, you need to book months and months in advance.
2. Brush up on your German
German is a difficult language and there is a really good chance that you won't understand a single thing people are saying to you or what the signs says. Before going, try to learn some basic words where if you see it somewhere, you at least will know what it is, even if you can't pronounce it.
3. Get there early
I went the second weekend and the gates opened at 9 AM so my friends and I got to the festival grounds to stand in line a little before 7 AM only to find that there were already a ton of people in front of us. It ended up working out but I think it would have been a lot different if we had gotten there any later. So if you want to get a table in a tent, be dedicated and get there early.
4. Have a game plan
Once the gates open, everyone sprints to their desired tent. If you don't sprint, you will let tons of people pass you and possibly give up your chance to find a table. If you are with a group of friends, make sure you are all on the same page about what your plan is, where you will meet and how you will communicate so you don't spend your entire day looking for them in a sea of people.
5. Get a table
I really think to really enjoy Oktoberfest you need a table. Whether it is a standing or sitting table, you really need one to get served and have a "home base" for the day. It was really helpful knowing that if I had to go to the bathroom or wanted to find other people I knew who were there, I could always find my way back to my friends because we had a table.
6. Tip the beer girl
They make it very obvious that the price of your beer does not include a tip and if you want her to keep coming back to your table, tip her well. The are carrying six full steins of beer at once which is pretty impressive and without her, you wouldn't get anything to drink, so be nice to her.
7. Don't over do it
It is a long day. Don't be the person that drinks too much and does stupid things and gets kicked out of the tent. I saw some pretty.... weird things that people did while drunk and I wish I could unsee it. I really can't stress it enough. Don't be that person!!!! Oktoberfest is insane and should be remembered!!!
8. Enjoy yourself!
Honestly, you will probably only experience Oktoberfest once so enjoy every moment of it! The festival grounds is huge and should be explored. Don't spend the entire day in the tent. Being in the tent is only one part of Oktoberfest, a really fun part, but there is much more to do.