Without a reservation you'll spend hours queuing and, even if you eventually get a seat, will lose it as soon as you pop to the toilet.
4. Sit on that Viking helmet
Of the thousands of items ending up in lost property each year at Oktoberfests past, some have been obvious: Viking helmets, (ahem) wedding rings, French horns.
Others were less obvious: false teeth, (live) grasshoppers.
Lesson: don't bring anything precious to Oktoberfest, especially not your dignity.
5. Drink like a European
You know those patronizing stories about how Continentals -- unlike Yanks, Brits and Aussies -- don't get drunk but sit around sipping Gewürztraminer in sidewalk cafes, quoting Proust?
They're not all lies!
That said, Germans do have a word for a paralytic person -- a Bierleiche, meaning beer corpse.
Don't be one.
Surviving 12 hours of solid drinking is a marathon, not a sprint, so make each liter Mass (those jug-like glasses) last.
At up to 8%, this wheat beer is strong stuff.
For the record, a Mass costs around €9.80 ($13) in 2013.
Tip well if you expect to be served again.
6. Choose your tent
There are 14 tents in all at Oktoberfest and the one you choose says a lot about you.
"Tent," though, requires some clarification -- this isn't boy scout-related.
Schottenhamel and Hofbräu-Festzelt tents each have a mammoth 10,000 seats (around six million people will attend the festival in total), filled with a generally youngish, oompah-singing, rollicking international crowd.
Champagne-drinking celebrities hang out in the Hippodrom or Käfer's Wies'n-Schänke tent.
Arguably the best beer is served in the traditional, family-friendly Augustiner (where people are likely still to be noticing such things), though the roaring lion at the Löwenbräu would have something to say about that.
Would-be shepherds drink under a painted sky at Hacker-Pschorr, dubbed the Himmel der Bayern ("Bavarian heaven"), while Bräurosl has a resident yodeler.
7. Do your Wurst
Luckily, Oktoberfest food -- make that German food, in general -- seems designed to protect the stomach, and reputation, against excessive wheat beer consumption.
A meal of Wurst in various guises -- pork knuckles with sauerkraut, goulash and dumplings and pretzels as big as your head with Obatzda, a Camembert-paprika dip -- is ideal preparation for a more or less civilized session at the stein table.
Saueres Lüngerl -- sour calf-lung dumplings -- is another Bavarian speciality, yet one that risks having the opposite effect from that intended.