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Miscellaneous Information

Business Information

Customs
Travelers are not required to pay duty on an appropriate amount of items for their personal use during their visit. In addition, the following duty-free allowances apply: no more than 2 liters of liquor and 2 liters of wine; and 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco.

Currency Exchange
Banks provide the most favorable rate of exchange, second to ATM withdrawals. German banks are open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and then from 1:30 to 4 p.m weekdays. Most banks will have extended hours until 5:30 pm on Thursdays, but all are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Money exchange bureaus, located at airports, border crossings and major railway stations, are generally open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Tipping
Hotels and restaurants automatically add a service charge of 10 to 12 percent, but excellent service may warrant an additional tip. Customarily you may round up to the nearest denomination of €5 or €10. Bartenders also expect a small tip in recognition of their service. In smaller establishments where a service charge is not previously applied, 10% is acceptable. Taxi drivers customarily receive 10 percent of the fare; hotel porters and doormen, €1per bag; hotel maids, €1-2 per day; coatroom attendants or gas station attendants (when they do more than fill the tank), €.50 - €1.

General Business Hours
Museums: Typical hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Shopping: As of 1996 German law extended hours of operation to no later than 8 p.m. weekdays and 4 p.m. Saturday. Some stores will still close at 5-6pm, but operation hours are monitored closely by the government. Most pharmacies observe normal business hours, but they post locations of pharmacies that are open nights, Sundays and holidays. Post offices: Typical hours are 8 a.m. to noon and 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Post offices at air and rail terminals keep longer hours. Restaurants: Mealtimes parallel those in the U.S. and Canada, except that dinner generally is served after 6 p.m. Many Germans have their most substantial meal at midday.

Value Added Tax
19%

Driving Overview

General Information
Germany was the first country in the world to develop a national system of superhighways, and for many years its Autobahn system was a model for other nations. After unification, Autobahns in the eastern part of the country were significantly upgraded. Today Germany has nearly 6,000mi/9660km of Autobahns and an extremely well developed network of lesser highways. This makes driving a rental car in Germany exceptionally easy and pleasant, and the German network is interconnected with networks in neighboring countries. Germany is about 500mi/805km long (from north to south) and 400mi/644km wide in its longest dimensions.

Requirements
You must be at least 21 years old (age may vary by car rental category) and have held your license for 1-3 years depending on the rental car category reserved. Drivers age 21-22 must purchase CDW. Drivers under the age of 25 may incur a young driver surcharge. Child safety seats are mandatory for children up to age 6. Seatbelts are mandatory.

Speed Limits
Speed limits in Germany are as follows: City 31mph/50kph, Open Roads 62mph/100kph and on the highways 81mph/130kph is recommended but most autobahns have no speed limit.

Rules of the Road
Traffic travels on the right and streetcars do not have the right of way. They should be passed on the right on a two way street and on either side on a one-way street. Avoid the far left lane on the autobahn as speeds can often exceed 100mph/161kph.

Gas
Most gas stations are open from 8am to 8pm. There are stations open 24 hours in some major cities and on the autobahn.

Tolls
There are no toll highways in Germany.

Parking
Parking is allowed only on the right side of the road except on one-way streets where both sides are valid. Parking spaces with meters are usually free of charge at night.