Today is D-day (departure) minus 13 as I depart for Frankfurt on October 1. I think of the first few days of an international trip as a cultural immersion. In addition to the jet lag there is always the shock of new language, signage, weather and the airport population. Its better to anticipate some of these novelties by planning ahead. Here are my tactics:
I checked the schedule for my AirBnB in Mainz. Finding it vacant for the night prior to my arrival, I asked the owner if an early check in is possible (his page cites 4 p.m). He responded immediately to the affirmative and told me where to pick up the key (a block from the apartment). Glad I waited as a premature request would likely be met with a “no” as he anticipated a prior night reservation.
Next step was to investigate the train options from Frankfurt Flughaven to Mainz HBH. While most German sites list options for multiple languages, DB (DeutschBahn) showed English for ticket purchasing of long distance trains, but not for the much cheaper regional trains (noted as S or R). For these my only choice was to review in German.
It was a surprise how quickly my understanding of key words returned, and I was soon in the flow of comparing and contrasting different options (destination point changes with the S/R choice).
My attempt to find a linenplan (route map) for Mainz led me to a number of apps. Since I didn’t want bus maps into and out of Mainz itself, but rather local routes, I found a paper linenplan that will be available upon my arrival at the Mainz HBH (Hauptbahnhof—main train station served by the S trains).
This search also revealed that if I purchase an S route ticket (rather than an R) its cheaper and is good for the entire day of bus/tram rides within Mainz. Incidental learning.
Because the adjustment to a different culture comes with a big dose of jet lag, I recommend this kind of advance connection to the routes, the options and most important to the key words/phrases you will need to recognize upon arrival! It’s a confidence builder when you know you will easily find your first destination for less than $10 as opposed to the options cited by app RideGuru (Uber to private limo: $50 to $200).