Travel Tips to Keep in Mind
Ah! Those travel tips that can save us from embarrassments, safety concerns, money and time savings.
We have put together some useful tips for travel to Moldova, and hope they will help you have a better travel experiene. The main thing to remember is to keep an open-mind when traveling to another country. Leave your expectations behind. Every encounter is an experience, which has some good in it.
Some general tips:
- Take your shoes off when entering a Moldovan home.
- The police may approach you and ask to see your papers. Always have your passport on you to avoid any delays.
- Don't worry about not been able to check your email. Internet Cafes are everywhere in Chisinau.
- If you want to see a movie at a movie theater, I have to warn you that they are all in Russian. Ticket prices vary based on your seat selection--the farther back you seat, the more expensive the ticket. They are about $5-$10 a ticket. The experience is interesting.
- Keep an eye on your personal items at all times, especially in crowded places as they might disappear. Do no’t walk around with a lot of money on you.
- There are very few places where credit cards are accepted. Hotels and higher end restaurants accept almost all major credit cards. The large supermarkets also take credit cards. For most other services and stores, expect to pay in cash. You can easily use your credit or debit cards to withdraw money from the countless ATMs (bancomat) around Chisinau. Depending on the ATM, you can withdraw as high as 7000 lei at a time. In stores US Dollars and Euros are usually not taken. Only Lei! There are Currency Exchanges everywhere. Access to your money is no problem!
- If you need a Moldovan cell phone number, you can buy a SIM card at the kiosk stands on the streets, or at some of the small stores for as little as 45 Lei (approx. US$5), which includes 40 Lei of talk time. Recharge cards can be purchased for as small as 12 Lei; instructions are on the back of the card. Basically all you do is type the given number in your phone. Some phones (especially the ones from the US) may not be compatible with the Moldovan system.
- Country code for Moldova is +373; official time is GMT + 2; Electricity 220V, 50 Hz. Most new electronic gadgets and laptops will work with a simple adapter. If you forget to bring one, the open markets, electronics stores will carry them.
- Tips in restaurants: There are no fast rules on how much money to tip. Usually people just leave as much as they want, but follow what is comfortable for you.
- If you travel by trolleybus, there is no need for advanced ticket purchase. A ticket seller is on every bus. The costs is 1 leu, the best deal in Moldova. Be sure to keep the ticket until the end of the journey as there are random checks by police. Avoid extra fees and hassles for loss tickets.
- You can also take a bus. Ticket price is 2 lei, and you buy it once inside the bus.
- When you want to get on a minibus, a simple wave of the hand is all you need for the driver to stop. And when you want to get off, you have to tell the driver to stop. There are no scheduled or pre-determined stops. It runs on the taxi principle: it stops wherever needed. The price for a maxi taxi trip is 3 lei, and you pay when you get on the bus. No ticket is issued.
- Taxi service is very convenient, inexpensive, and quick in Chisinau. Within the city limits, it will cost you about 20-30 lei ($2-$3). A taxi ride to the airport will costs you around 50-70 lei--you must bargain if the price is higher. You can stop taxis on the street or call for pick-up service. There are several taxi companies. When you call, you tell them where you are and where you want to go. Someone will call you back within 2 minutes to let you know which car is coming for you and how long is the wait. Usually it takes 2-7 minutes, and the cars are mostly decent.
- In rush hour time, just add 10-15 minutes additional to your trip. Only a few streets tends to get very busy, for example A. Puskin street.
- If you decide to drive in Chisinau, use caution. The signs are not always clear, and the roads are not always marked. However, after 2-3 days, you'll feel at home. Chisinau is a small city, and you can get to most places within 10-15 min. Don't expect the other drivers to follow the rules, or drive responsibly.
If you know of some good travel tips, please pass them on to: email@example.com.