Oktoberfest: Where You Can Save and Where You Should Not
Hearing these words is probably etched in your bucket list as a beer lover. To hear it means going to the original Oktoberfest in Munich. Like any other trips, you’re concerned about the budget. You want to save on cost whenever possible but not at the expense of fun and experience.
While waiting for September (yes, Oktoberfest starts the month before its namesake), let’s review the items where you can save or where you should not save.
One way not to go cheap is on your selection of Dirndl or Lederhosen. Don’t wear the fake versions you buy in costume stores or cheap imitations at the train station. To Munich People, it’s ridiculous and may even be interpreted as mocking their culture. Traditional clothes are worn when they go to church, weddings, and other occasions. It’s either you get the real ones (which are pricey) or just come in your regular clothes.
If you want to dress the part but not spend as much, you can rent your lederhosen. Prices range from €33 to €50 per day depending on the accessories you want to include. There’s a 50% discount on the 2nd day. Compare this to buying your own which costs €250 to a few thousand euro. Buying blue checkered trachten shirts could help you fit in. The good thing about this is you can use it on a regular day.
For the ladies, you can buy used but repaired dirndl for as low as €30 or rent good ones at €43 per day. Buying new will cost at least €129.
Camping is the cheapest form of accommodation at Oktoberfest for €35 per night. This option applies only if you have your camping gear with you and likely drove your way to Munich. If you have to buy the gear then load them as extra luggage in a budget airline, you’ll end up spending more compared to other options.
Hostel beds are the cheapest options outside camping. The downside of these mixed dorm arrangements is having to stay in a room with 10 drunk strangers. Not everyone will be comfortable with it.
Airbnb is still priced lower compared to Hotels but you’ll likely need to book way ahead as the slots are limited. Plus they are farther away from the festivals grounds and may not be near train or bus stations. Overpriced rooms are made available for last-minute bookers. The prices of which will be closer to that of regular hotels.
Don’t drive going to Oktoberfest. With hundreds of thousands of people every single day, you bet that there won’t be any parking spaces if each brings his own car. In case you do find parking, it will likely be 20 minutes away and the price won’t be cheap. Don’t take a bike or e-scooter if you intend to drink. You’ll get fines plus it is not safe. Be practical and take public transportation.
Single trip tickets can go as low for short trips in public transportation can be as low as €2.90. Since you are more likely staying for more than a day, go for a 3-day pass at €16.80. You can use it for all Munich public transport rides.
Taxis and Uber are available in Munich. The latter provides a more budget-friendly ride. During Oktoberfest, which is the reason why you are there, surcharges will make their prices roughly equal. That is if you ever manage to spot or book one.
You can do away with transportation if you’re staying in hotels near Wiesn grounds. You can book packages like those offered by Thirsty Swagman. This would address both your accommodation and daily transport concerns.
No way you are cringing on this one. But if you intend to booze binge for several days, then you may have to find ways to stretch the cash you have.
If you’re a heavy beer drinker and wants to load up on a budget, you can do so with cheaper beers. You can buy half-litre beers in convenience stores for €1. As long as you behave, you can have open beer cans in the streets. You won’t be alone gulping just outside the Theresienwiese. Like you, there are others who plan to enter the tents after some warm-up cans.
Outside the tents, you can have hefeweizen (wheat beer) which is traditionally served in half litres. They will cost you €6 and will not give you real savings compared to the almost €12 per litre you can buy at the halls. But these are good options if you want to seat and have a beer while the tents are full.
If you intend to be picky on prices, Augustiner-Festhalle tent had the lowest at €11.40. Hofbräuhaus-Festzelt charges €11.70 per litre while Paulaner-Festzelt at €11.80 for same volume. These subtle differences will not matter which we will discuss on the next topic.
Tipping is not required but is customary, about €1 or €2 tip per litre of beer the common practice. While beers can cost €11.80, you should pay around €13.00. If you want to save, order two then pay €25.
Bring the cash you’ve budgeted for the day since you can’t pay using a card. When you order a litre, you don’t want to hand €20 since the waiter or waitress may not have the change. You probably don’t want to overtip. Prepare the coins and you can’t rely on the ATMs for that.
Now we’ve got the basics covered, you’re ready to enjoy Oktoberfest without looking like a cheapo. Please share your best tips for Oktoberfest in Munich in the comments below, on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.