We put these tips together because we wish we had them prior to moving. They would’ve saved us some time and money. More specifically, this outline of tips is intended for Soldiers or Civilians (Army or Air Force) who permanently change station overseas to Germany. It includes more specific links for PCSing to Wiesbaden (which includes Clay Kaserne & Hainerberg).
- It’s 3x faster & has 2x coverage but is more expensive (you pay for what you get).
- They don’t take VAT forms & their app and website are NOT in English.
- 0341* to get Telekom German voicemail into English.
- http://pass.telekom.de (while NOT on wifi) to enable & pay for data roaming.
- TKS is for cable & internet if you live on the Kaserne.
- TKS “Verify Data” from Website / DoDI # from your CAC Card, then leave the SSN blank.
- Adding an autopay credit card, don’t forget to go to MyTKS/Contracts tab to link that card, otherwise you’ll have an unpaid bill & get charged a late fee.
- VAT forms – I didn’t receive all mine back from TKS. Just get the official print out from the TKS desk & take that to the VAT office.
- Occasionally there’s a US website that requires a VPN in order to access it.
- Best bank I’ve used – no need to use Community Bank if you use this & it’s cheaper in the long run.
- Transfer money from USAA at a lower fee with https://transfer.xe.com/
- The key to this is to only withdraw euros from a bank other than the ones on base as to avoid their crappy rate.
- Change everything to English – look just to the left of your name.
- Shipping with prime then seller as Amazon.de ensures it can be delivered on the installation – you take risk with 3rd party vendors.
- You can also use the VAT form.
- It’s a combination Super Target & Costco.
- They do take VAT forms but the receipts have to be from the same month as you use the VAT form. You also have to get a stamp from the customer service counter on each receipt (the day you get that receipt).
APOBox.com For when your vendor won’t ship to an APO address.
BooKoo Craigslist, but better for Germany.
- Driving to other countries – fill up before you cross the border as the Esso card only works in Germany and the price of fuel is about 2.5 times the cost.
- Google Maps – you can load offline maps of the areas you’re vacationing to.
- Train – for traveling with small kids, it’s worth paying for the family room.
- Backpacking with your kids in an Osprey Child Carrier can be much more convenient in crowds and uneven terrain.
- Esso Card Status
- Lockmuehle – Best kids park ever. Cash only though. Check the German site for the “real” hours as they don’t update the English one very often.
- Tobolino – Best indoor toddler/kids park around. Cash only as well.
- Thermalbad – Great indoor heated pool.