Camping in Germany without a car
17 July 2007 , Munich (dpa) After dusting off your tent and packing your rucksack, you're ready to head off into the wilderness. But the first problem everyone who goes on a camping holiday encounters is getting to the place to pitch their tent.
17 July 2007
Munich (dpa) After dusting off your tent and packing your rucksack, you're ready to head off into the wilderness. But the first problem everyone who goes on a camping holiday encounters is getting to the place to pitch their tent.
If you don't have the benefit of travelling in the comfort of your own car then the remaining options are bus, rail or plane. But not every form of transport is suitable for the campers' needs.
One of the basic rules of camping without a car is to limit yourself to the bare essentials, according to Viktoria Gross of the German Camping Club in Munich.
Bring things with you that are multi-functional. "Plastic cups can be used both for soups and coffee," says Gross.
In some cases, it's possible to do without any dishes and even having a tent is not essential. "Camping sites tend to be very well equipped especially in southern European countries," says Gross.
Most sites have good quality tents or huts that can be rented along with pots and pans.
"You just have to bring your ordinary holiday things with you."
The most comfortable way to get to your destination is by rail, says Regine Gewinner of the Berlin-based transport lobby organisation, Verkehrsclub Deutschland.
"You can take everything you need with you on board a train," says Claudia Wachowitz from Germany's railway company, Deutsche Bahn.
In Germany, bulky items of luggage can even be brought to your destination by the rail company's courier service at an extra charge.
Transporting a bicycle by train within Germany costs about 25 euros (34 dollars). However, Germany's high-speed ICE trains do not transport bicycles.
Buses are another option for campers. The bus company Deutsche Touring allows its passengers to take two pieces of luggage along with hand luggage on board for free, according to company spokeswoman Vesselin Borissov.
Campers with bicycles should consider the "Bike and Bus" system offered by some companies in Germany. "The bus has its own bicycle trailer," says Gewinner.
Campers thinking of flying to their destination have more restrictions to contend with. Most flights within Europe allow their passengers to take a maximum of 23 kilos of luggage plus hand luggage on board.
On its long distance flights, German carrier Lufthansa allows two items of luggage per passenger that weigh up to 23 kilos each, according to company spokeswoman Amelie Lorenz. Other carriers have similar regulations.
If a luggage-limit has been exceeded then an extra charge has to be paid. The price depends on each airline and the distance to be travelled but they start at 5 euros per kilo.
A comparatively cheap alternative for campers travelling in Germany is to share a car through an agency known as a Mitfahrzentrale.
Customers can find a car travelling to their destination and book a seat for a fee or for a share of the fuel costs.
"But you must talk to the driver first and make sure there's enough room in the car for your luggage," says Gewinner.
Otherwise you might find yourself at a service station somewhere along a motorway preparing to pitch your tent.
Subject: German news