T1.0 T1 Traveling to Romania - A Practical Guide
A Practical Guide to Traveling in Romania
If it’s your first time traveling to Romania, the advises below will certainly prove helpful:
- You must have cash in Romania
- Use a GPS software
- Travel by Taxi in Romania
- Get a prepaid Romanian card
- Learn Romanian
- How to handle an emergency in Romania
- How to defend your rights as a consumer
- Avoid getting cheated
- Your feedback
Romanian cash – bank cards
Have Romanian currency: Lei(RON).
You can pay by card in many places: big shops/supermarkets, but there are still many places which accept only cash: e.g. taxi (except for Uber in Bucharest), local shops, to buy bus or metro tickets. In rural part of Romania it is very likely that you will have to pay with cash. A recent development in Bucharest is that you can pay by card for a bus and metro fare.
Start by exchanging a small amount, the equivalent of 100-200€/$ at the airport or at the nearest Romanian entry point. As expected the exchange rate you will get in the airport is not that favourable. You can exchange bigger amounts once you get to a bank/exchange counter in a Romanian city.
Activate your bank card(s) before your trip
Before leaving for Romania please do not forget to inform your bank to that you are planning to use your card during the trip in Romania especially if your bank card was issued by a non-EU(European Union) bank. This is valid for both your debit and credit cards. Otherwise you can have the unpleasant surprise of having the money on the card but not being able to pay. You could also check the fees attached to transactions in Romania charged by your home bank. Make sure you have the phone number of your bank in your phone contacts so that you can get in touch with them from Romania in case of problems with your bank card. Visa and Mastercard debit cards (including Maestro) are widely accepted in Romania.
GPS in Romania– which one?
Equip yourself with a GPS capable smartphone. Almost everyone has one nowadays. A GPS will prove quite handy while driving, but also walking to an address or a point of interest in Romania (e.g. train station). Even if you are traveling by bus, it’s useful to have a GPS, just in case. It can be a free service which will make your traveling in Romania easier. Please check the details below.
You need to consider two options:
1)GPS software that needs a data connection. This is usually good for driving, avoiding traffic jams. We recommend Waze, or Google Maps. Both are free and quite popular. You will have to pay for the data connection. Watch out if you are roaming from a non-EU country the charges can be substantial.
You might consider buying a Romanian pre-paid card. Please see as well the section below for more information on the Romanian Prepaid cards.
2)GPS software that does not need a data connection: Unfortunately Tom Tom does not have good maps for Romania. We recommend Google maps (it recently got an interesting functionality to download maps for offline use) or Igo.
You have to install the GPS software at home before getting to Romania. Do not forget to try out and make sure it works properly before arriving in Romania (e.g. check some cities in Romania on the GPS map).
The price of a taxi ride in Romania is ridiculously cheap as compared to Western Europe or United States. In Bucharest the taxi average price is 1.4RON/KM (approximately 0.25€/0.27$/Km).
At the Bucharest airport (Otopeni/Henri Coanda) we recommend to use the special machines that allow you to order a taxi.
There are many taxi companies in Bucharest.
You can easily use Uber (except for the airport). You have the ease of already providing the destination in writing on your Uber app, without having to say it orally to the taxi driver, and you pay directly from your credit card. You do not even have to have Romanian cash with you. However, Uber is available in only a few Romanian cities.
For more traditional taxis, in Bucharest you can use applications on your smartphone such as “Clever taxi” or “Smart taxi”, or just call them. Please make sure you have enough Romanian cash with you as you cannot pay with a credit/debit card for a normal (not Uber) taxi ride.
Here are a few popular taxi companies in Romania with their phone numbers:
|Taxi company name||County in
|General Taxi||Constanta||004.0241-617 844|
|Romaris||Constanta||004.0241 69 00 00|
If you need the contact details of taxi companies in other Romanian cities, just drop us a comment at the bottom of the page, and we'll reply asap.
Do not expect to have the smartest or the most honest taxi driver.
There are two rules to follow:
- If you are approached by someone asking you if you want a taxi ride, do not take it. Say simply “Nu, mulțumesc”. You can find more common Romanian words in our A0.1 Common Romanian words lesson
- Always place an order. Either via a smartphone app or a phone call. The taxi operator usually speaks at least a bit of English
-Even if there are taxis waiting at the taxi stand, it’s still better to order a taxi. By ordering the taxi company has a trace of your request and you can complain in the eventuality of disagreements with the taxi driver.
Another useful tip is to have a GPS software installed on your smartphone. If you are in doubt about your taxi driver taking the good/ shortest route, just switch on your GPS to see where you are heading.
To sum up, be careful, but do not necessarily expect the worst. Remember in all countries taxi drivers have a 6th sense to spot the foreigners and try to get a bit more from them. Hopefully by following the tips above you should be safe and enjoy your ride.
Romanian prepaid mobile phone card
Romania is one of the most competitive European countries when it comes to mobile communication services and telecom in general. The prices are very low and the quality is very good.
Our advice is to consider a Romanian mobile phone prepaid card especially if you are not an EU national. If you are an EU national starting with June 2017 there should be no more roaming charges within the EU.
If you are a non-EU national: e.g. from United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey etc. check the tariffs that you will be charged in Romania by your home mobile phone operator.
It is important, but not essential, to have mobile data on your phone. It will prove handy in certain circumstances: e.g. order a taxi using the smartphone apps in Bucharest, find a hotel near you, the find the phone number of an information desk/museum, check the timetables of trains, buses, while driving trying to avoid the traffic jams.
At the moment of writing this article the Telekom Prepaid card for 7EUR offers via an option called „Optiunea 7”: 7GB of data at 4G speed + a bonus of 30GB/month, 2000minutes in all national and some fixed international lines, 250 minutes to call mobile phone operators in some countries other than Romania. We expect that the 30GB are a temporary promotion, while the rest of the offer should be the “normal/standard” prepaid card offering.
You need to invest a bit of time, and have at least an average knowledge of setting up an internet connection on your mobile phone, but the advantages are quite big. With 7GB of data you can call using Skype, or Whatsup or any other voice over ip applications virtually for free or at very affordable prices.
By default the prepaid card options are not activated, you will need to send an free sms to a free number. If needed we can write a detailed guide on how to do it. Just drop us a comment at the bottom of this page.
If you are not considering buying a Romanian prepaid card, we advise you to check with your home mobile phone operators if they offer a package for traveling around Europe.
While traveling throughout Romania is perfectly possible without knowing the Romanian language, you might want to learn the most common used words, at least how to say:
I don't like..
On our website we offer very many Romanian lessons with audio and video. A minimum to know would be the lesson on the most used Romanian words. If you have a bit more time to invest you can check all our lessons
You do not need to become fluent in Romanian, but knowing a few words will definitely help in certain situations.
Scammers, cheaters… how to avoid falling into traps in Romania
Romania, as any other country, has a small share of its people that will try to mislead or take advantage of foreigners.
What can you do about it? First and foremost: use your common sense.
Be careful, but this does not mean to be crazily scared that you will have all your belongings stolen in Romania.
Common sense says that you do not keep all your money in cash with you. You must have some Romanian cash, but the rest can be kept on your bank card or in a safe place. There are ATMs in all Romanian cities.
If you are being approached by somebody asking you to buy something or even with a question, if you do not want to engage just answer: “Nu, mulțumesc”. You can repeat this answer several times if the person is insisting.
The second most important item is to know what to expect, thus do your homework: check how much is the price for one Km taxi ride in the city that you will be staying, check the online menu of one, two restaurants in the area where you want to dine.
If you ever get into trouble, and you are in an emergency situation in Romania: call 112. It is a free number and you can get immediate assistance from police, ambulance or fire brigade including search and rescue. It must be an emergency though. Most phones allow you to dial 112 even without a sim card in it.
Romania has a consumer protection service that you can contact at: 0040219551. The office run by the Romanian authorities can be contacted for complaints over goods or services sold in Romania
With your help we can improve this article to the benefit of the other persons that will like to travel to Romania. We are interested in hearing your experiences in Romania. Just drop us a comment using the form at the bottom of this page. We'll update this article with the relevant information.