Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Passports


Passports!
Passports are a necessity to come to Germany and if you plan to travel while stationed in Germany. When you get official orders to Germany, every person listed on the orders will get a no-fee passport. This is a government issued passport and can only be used for official travel. Which means, you can't use that passport for personal travel!! However, anytime you travel you should bring it with you!!
To get your no-fee passport you will have to provide one of these certificates, Certified U.S. Birth Certificate, Consular Birth Abroad Certificate, or Certificate of Naturalization/Citizenship. These must be Certified!! Copies of these certificates are not accepted!!! There is also paperwork that must be filled out, not too much. Just a few pages per-person. Usually everything will be done on post without fees, but sometimes you will have to go off-post for your passport photos and there will be a fee. If you do have to pay for the photos for your no-fee passports, remember that you can claim that on your taxes!! So keep your receipts. It usually takes 4-8 weeks to get your no-fee passport, so get it done early!!! You must have your no-fee passport before you leave!



If you are like me and my family and want to see as much as you can while stationed in Germany, make sure to get your travel passport! With out a travel passport you will be stuck in beautiful Germany! Even though it is beautiful you don't want to be stuck here!! You want to go and explore!! To get your travel passport, you will need to provide one of the certificates I mentioned above, or a previous passport. If you are using a previous passport it can be expired but it can not be damaged. And of course more paperwork and photo! Make sure to check out the photo requirements as they may change. Unlike the no-fee passports, there will be fees for your travel passport. It usually costs about $135 for adult passport. Passports for children are a little cheaper and will run about $110. It usually takes about 6 weeks to get your passport once you have submitted all documents needed. If you plan on getting your travel passport before you leave the United States, make sure you give yourself enough time to receive it and all of your documents back, before your PCS!! Make sure to check processing times at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports.html. If you don't have enough time, no worries!! You can apply for your passport here!!




Once you get your travel passport you can be on your way to exploring Europe!!! Make sure when traveling that you bring both passports with you. And for extra measure we always bring a copy of my husbands orders with us. Keep them in a safe place!! Never in your car!! Before you travel make sure to check out warnings that might be issued for certain countries or areas! You can find the latest, up-to-date information on travel warnings here http://www.state.gov/travel/.

Enjoy Europe and stay safe!!


~C

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Driving in Germany

For some of us the thought of driving in Germany is scary, while for the rest can't wait to drive where there is NO Speed Limit!! Either way one of the first things you are going to want to do when you arrive in Germany is to get your USAREUR drivers licenses.





If you have a valid U.S. Drivers licenses this shouldn't be much of a problem. You will take a test and once you pass you will be issued a USAREUR drivers licenses. Sounds pretty easy right? It is as long as you study. If you do not study for the test, there is a big possibility that you WILL NOT pass the test. Don't worry while it is a hard test as long as you study it will be fine. You will probably want to study before you get here and thanks to the internet that is possible. There are website such as USAREUR Practice Test, that will help you prepare. This website not only has a study guide but also have a practice test. If you can pass the practice test you will most likely pass the real test.




Once you have passed the practice test it is a good idea to keep studying, you never know what questions are going to be on the actual test! After you get your drivers licenses you are ready to start exploring Germany!! Well once you get a car that is.



~ C

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Traveling

So many families come to Germany for a 3 year tour with dreams of traveling Europe. However, I will tell you from experience only about 25% of them actual do it. The main reason I have found for this is their fear of: Booking rooms, using the train, getting a passport, etc...

My family has visited 7 Countries since we moved here in 2013, and that does not include traveling around Germany! Let me guide you and help ease your fears with lessons learned from a Military family abroad.

Some examples are:

o How to book a whole apartment instead of a hotel, FOR CHEAPER!
o Where to take the car, when to take the train, and when to fly.
o Tricks of traveling on the Autobahns.
o Many, many, more!!!

~ C

Shopping

This label will be used to identify my blog and Vlog posts related to shopping in Germany. More specifically, I will start a shopping series which outlines what everyone Military Spouse and Mom needs to know to save money and get the best deals on local food. Some of these topics will include:

o Where to shop for the best prices
o What foods can be used in situations where you can't get your normal ingredients
o When it is best to buy groceries at the Commissary or Exchange
o Great recipes for cheap on the Germany Economy
o Reviews on local restaurants and businesses

These lessons will save your meals, trust me! these are learned from experience!

~ C

Housing

This label will be used for my advice and information regarding overseas housing. Of course, I can only show examples of local housing in the Hohenfels Military Training area (JMRC), Germany. BUT, this should be a good way for you to get a basic understanding of how the housing system works here for Soldiers and their Families.

There are multiple types of housing available:

o On-Post Government Quarters ( Both Stairwell, and Duplexes)
o Off-Post Government leased Quarters
o Off-Post private rental
o And with enough know how Off-Post purchase

I will explain these types and show some pictures as well as videos in my next "Housing" related post.

~ C

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Welcome to my Blog

This blog is designed to help Military families who are moving or recently moved to Germany. The thought of living in a Foreign Country with different values and culture (not to mention Language) can be scary.

Don't fear though! You are not alone, as many families have made this transition before. We are here to help you. I will post articles covering all the basics:

o Housing
o Shopping
o Entertainment
o Traveling
o Saving $
o And much more...

The idea behind this page is to create Video Logs, or VLOGS as the kids are calling them these days. These VLOGS will be posted on here and accompanied by an article detailing additional information, contacts, etc. Then the VLOG will also be posted on Youtube for easy viewing as well as an addtional platform for conversations between others who are experiencing your questions.

So, please subscribe to this blog via the Social Media links at the top right and leave me comments and questions if you have any!

Thanks,

Constance