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CUSTOMS & ETIQUETTE
- Romanians are friendly and open and foreigners are usually made very welcome. Chatting with visitors is very common for Romanians and they will find a way to communicate with you even if they cannot speak your language.
- Older people particularly appreciate old-fashioned politeness. It is respectful to use Mrs. or Mr. when using the name of a person that you just meet.
- Handshaking is the most common form of greeting.
- If one refuses what a host offers to eat or drink, this will often be taken as a polite refusal by guest who really means to say "yes". If you want to refuse the offer find a polite excuse and say it firmly or ask for a replacement.
- It is common to linger once the meal (lunch or dinner) is over.
- When visiting someone at home bring a small gift. Most common gifts include flowers or chocolate (for women only), a bottle of wine or liquor. The number of flowers that one offers must always be odd.
- In Romania as in many Latin countries life is lived at a more relaxed pace. Normal European courtesies should be followed on social occasions. Although casual dress is fine in most occasions, wearing a suit and tie, or the women's equivalent, is important at business meetings.
- Appointments are necessary and punctuality is expected.
- It is not considered impolite to ask a person's age, politics, income or religion, so don't take such questions amiss.
- Be careful and watch over your luggage and personal belongings at the airport, train station, bus station and in crowded places. There might be pick-pocketers.
- Watch out for overpriced taxis! Some taxis try to rip-off foreigners. Ignore taxi drivers that approach you and don’t get in such a taxi. Be safe and call for a cab.
- For a complete list of hospitals, check here.
- If you just need a pharmacy, check here.
- Taxi drivers do not expect tips but courteous service can be rewarded.
- Hotel maid - the equivalent of 1€/day (5 Lei) or 5€ (25 Lei) for one week or longer stays.
- Hotel Concierge - tipping for the answer to a simple question is not necessary but it’s suitable in some situations
- Restaurants/Pubs/Bars –it is not mandatory to leave a tip as it’s consider a “grating” for a good service, but 5% to 15% tip will be appreciated if you were pleased. Try to not pay with coins, it is considered disrespectful and do not ask for change in coins. It is a common use that the amount you give to be multiple of 5, if it’s suitable (ex: if you have to pay 23 lei, you can leave 25 lei including the tip)
- Appropriate gratuities for most services are 10-15%.
- Most of restaurants, pubs & bars accept credit cards, but be careful and ask it before ordering and before asking for the check. If you do not mention it, the waiter will print it and you will have to pay cash.
- Although there are clubs where credit cards are accepted, it is better to have cash because of the crowd.
- Meat might be unavoidable in restaurants and menus are usually based on pork, beef or chicken.
- In some regions of Romania, and especially in Transylvania, some dishes may be prepared with more fat than you might usually use.
- Prices listed on restaurant menus are per serving and include all taxes and service charge. However, some restaurants might post prices per 50 g or 100 g while the actual serving can be up to 300 grams. If not stated clearly on the menu, check with the waiter and make sure that you are specific when you order.
- Typically, each food item (except bread) is ordered (and charged for) individually. If you don't want bread, say so because usually it will be brought to your table and added to your bill.
- Wine mixed with mineral water ( "șpriț“ ) is very popular
- Mulled wine — with fruites, sugar and cinnamon ( "vin fiert“ ) is "the recommended drink" for cold winter days.
- For something stronger try hot plum brandy ( "țuică fiartă“ ) or hot plum brandy with sugar and peppercorn.
- It is not allowed to smoke inside restaurants. If you want to smoke, check if they have a terrace or outside place.
- Observe the speed limit at all time. Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy and you have with you all documentation, including evidence of insurance.
- In winter, equip your car for extreme conditions. Winter tires are mandatory on snowy and icy roads.
- Carry the following equipment: first aid kit, fire extinguisher, red warning triangles and a fluorescent jacket.
- If your vehicle is damaged before you arrive in Romania, ask a Romanian Customs or Police Officer to write a report on the damage. If any damage occurs inside the country, a report must be obtained.
- Exceptions for wearing a seatbelt are pregnant woman and people exempt for medical reasons.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or medicines or other substances with a similar effect is forbidden and considered a criminal offence.
- The traffic police ("Poliția Rutieră") can confiscate any form of a driver's license or permit for 1-3 months and request payment of fines at the time of the infraction.
- Police are required to give all drivers involved in an accident a breathalyzer test on the scene. Refusal to take a breathalyzer test may result in criminal penalties regardless of whether or not alcohol was involved.