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Meeting people in Germany is quite easy.

As far as travelling goes, Germany is a Western country with a high standard of living and strict quality standards. Travellers are welcome and Germans are world famous for their Wanderlust. Travelling is very easy: the trains run on time, you’ll find hostels even in remote villages, there are big colourful maps on most corners, clocks everywhere and you’re only ever a few metres from someone who speaks English. The only challenge Germany presents is how to enjoy everything without burning a hole in your wallet or purse.

A traveller faces three main concerns: moving, eating and sleeping:. Let’s start with moving. Hitchhiking is an option, but it’s not for everyone. Also, it’s not always free as one has to get out to a point to start hitching, perhaps a €3 bus ticket; it’s not much but they add up.

The train, especially the Intercity Express is very expensive, even when you get 50% off but this is only for return tickets. A little secret is using the regional trains, which are excellent for shorter journeys. They are a bit slower but come much cheaper; ask at the train station for special area tickets which can be valid for up to five persons. Also good is the Schönes-Wochenende ticket which can be used on the weekends for travel all over Germany on regional trains. The ticket costs €30 and is valid for up to five persons.

Eating on the cheap is a little more difficult, especially if you insist on eating in restaurants. Prices have basically doubled since the introduction of the Euro and it’s a challenge to have a beer and a good meal for under €10. The solution is to picnic. Germany has a fantastic supermarket culture, with numerous discount markets selling excellent food for low prices. Visit the Aldi, Penny or Lidl markets and stock up on beer, wine, sausage, salad, bread, cheese, and even quality fruits and vegetables. Get a few people together and lay out the spread in a park on a sunny day.

Meeting people in Germany is quite easy. They are very open to foreigners, tolerant of all sexual orientations and religions, and enjoy meeting people from different cultures. The people are well-travelled and like the idea of being able to swap travel stories with other like-minded individuals. A good ice-breaker is to stop people and ask for suggestions about where to eat or stay and what to see or visit. Germans pride themselves on knowing their local areas and might go so far as to show you around.

Networking is important in Germany and can have a positive impact on your travels. Make a German friend in one town and you may then be shuffled around from house to house, city to city, running through the network of the first friend. The best thing is to keep an open mind, don’t enter the country with a sack full of stereotypes, and take the people as they come.

Cam Jeffery

Cam'sHis first novel, The Bicycle Teacher, is now available under the Janus Books imprint and can be ordered at www.amazon.co.uk