Romania Basics

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The Basics

Time: Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 between the last Sunday in March to the Saturday before the last Sunday in October).

Electricity: Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Two-pin European-style plugs are standard.

Money: The Leu (RON) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 bani. Money can be exchanged at banks, international airports, hotels, or authorised exchange offices (casa de schimb or birou de schimb valutar). ATMs are available at large banks, airports, and shopping centres in cities. American Express, MasterCard, and Visa are accepted in the main cities. It is recommended to travel with some cash in case of difficulty using credit cards.

Currency Exchange Rates

RON1.00 = USD 0.23GBP 0.18CAD 0.31AUD 0.34ZAR 3.40EUR 0.21NZD 0.37
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: Romanian is the official language, but English will be understood in Bucharest and other tourist areas.

Entry requirements for Americans: United States nationals require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK nationals with passports endorsed 'British Citizen' require passports valid for period of intended stay, but no visa. British passports with other endorsements require either validity for period of intended stay, or three months validity beyond period of travel; all British passport holders are entitled to visits of at least 90 days visa-free within a 180 day period. UK nationals who are not British citizens are advised to check the specific requirements applicable to their status.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian nationals require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay, but no visa for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian nationals require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay, but no visa for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay and a visa to enter Romania. Holders of a valid Schengen visa, or holders of a short stay visa issued by Bulgaria, Croatia, or Cyprus do not require a visa to enter Romania for a stay of up 90 days within a 180 day period. South African temporary passports are not accepted by the Romanian government.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand nationals require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay, but no visa for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals require a passport valid for period of intended stay, but no visa is required.

Passport/Visa Note: Visitors must hold all documents required for further travel, onward or return tickets, sufficient funds for the period of stay, and proof of reserved accommodation. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Getting around: Travelling within Romania is relatively easy provided the more remote areas are not on your itinerary. Romania has an extensive road and rail network connecting the larger towns and cities as well as connecting it with neighbouring countries. The trains won't always run dead on time and the roads are slightly dilapidated, but the government is investing large sums of money on upgrading the country's transport infrastructure. Bucharest has a great metro system connecting all areas of the city. Taxis are fairly cheap and reliable. Fares are generally from 1.39 to 1.79 lei per ride. Renting a car is not ideal because of the poor conditions of the roads.

Travel Health: 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 the UK and 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. 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 carry rabies and should be avoided.

Tipping: 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.

Safety Information: Visitors should take normal safety precautions in Romania; keep valuables safe and be aware of pickpockets and scam artists in major cities. Corruption is rife and 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. Valuables, including passports, should not be left in hotel rooms, or near the window of a hotel room when you are there.

Local Customs: 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 forbidden.

Business: 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; 'Domnul' 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.

Communications: 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). There are numerous area codes applying to cities, towns and villages, for example (0)21 for Bucharest. Free wifi is available at cafes, hotels and restaurants. Public phone cards can be bought from kiosks, post offices and some tourist offices. A local SIM card can be purchased as a cheaper alternative to using international roaming for calls.

Duty Free: Travellers to Romania do not have to pay duty on either 40 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco. 2 litres of spirits, 16 litres of beer, 4 litres wine, and gifts to the value of US$450 are also duty free. Valuable goods, such as jewellery, art, electrical items, and foreign currency should be declared on entry.