Romania Travel Information
Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 between the last Sunday in March to the Saturday before the last Sunday in October).
The electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Two-pin European-style plugs are standard.
Romanian is the official language, but English will be understood in Bucharest and other tourist areas.
Medical facilities in Bucharest are good, but poor in the smaller towns and basic medical supplies are often in short supply. There is a reciprocal health agreement with most EU countries, whose citizens are entitled to free or low-cost emergency medical treatment on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), but travel health insurance is strongly advised. After Brexit, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for UK citizens. The GHIC allows UK citizens access to state healthcare during visits to the EU. The GHIC is not valid in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, nor is it an alternative to travel insurance. There have been a number of Hepatitis A cases in Romania and visitors are advised to seek medical advice about inoculations before travelling. Tap water is safe to drink, although bottled water is widely available. Stray dogs might carry rabies in remote regions and should be avoided.
Tipping is becoming increasingly common in Romania, and is now expected in all restaurants and bars. A service charge is often included in restaurant bills but a further 5 to 10 percent tip is expected. Though it is not always necessary to tip them, taxi drivers can be rewarded for good service.
Visitors should take normal safety precautions in Romania, such as keeping valuables safe and being aware of pickpockets and scam artists in major cities. Corruption is less rife these days, but visitors should be cautious of policemen demanding fines for spurious offences, or asking to see documents as a way of stealing cash. If approached in this way, visitors should offer to go with them to the nearest police station before handing over any money or documents. Travellers should not leave valuables, including passports, in hotel rooms, or near the window of a hotel room when they are not there.
It is illegal to change money on the streets. Homosexuality, although legal, is frowned upon. A small and still largely closeted gay scene exists in the Romania's largest cities, particularly in Bucharest, which has a few gay clubs. Photography at airports is prohibited.
Business can be quite bureaucratic and old-fashioned. The country adheres to an imbedded hierarchical structure and often it is the eldest who receive the most respect in business and social meetings. It is important to address each person according to their title followed by their surname; 'Domnule' for Mr. and 'Doamna' for Mrs. Romanians prefer a face-to-face approach and like to strengthen personal relationships. Appointments should be made in advance and confirmed. Although the visitor is expected to be punctual the host may be late to arrive. Meetings are often quite formal and a general 'Western' set of old-world manners applies. Business suits are appropriate for meetings. Romanians dislike an overt display of achievement or exaggerated conversation. Business hours are generally 9pm to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken at lunch.
The direct dialling country code for Romania is +40, and the outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). Free wifi is available at cafes, hotels and restaurants. A local SIM card can be purchased as a cheaper alternative to using international roaming for calls.
Travellers visiting Romania from outside the EU do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco. Two litres of spirits, 16 litres of beer, 4 litres wine, and gifts to the value of US$430 are also duty free. Those arriving from inside the EU do not have to pay duty on 800 cigarettes, 200 cigars or 1 kg of tobacco, 10 litres of spirits, 110 litres of beer, and 90 litres of wine.
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