Considering… Romania

Romania has many castles and wonderful landscapes which will make for some great photography and video. We happen to know someone who is from Romania, so that helped inspire us to consider it for our world trip. She is a very nice and welcoming person, so we hope to find more people like her in this country.

Why do we want to go?

It is cheaper than western Europe and has many similar things from old Europe like castles and churches. It is a photographer’s dream with many landscapes in a country that is about the size of Oregon in the U.S. but much more populated. We’ve had some fear of this area as well so that makes us want to go even more. Maybe we can get our blood sucked out in Transylvania by some vampires (or mosquitoes). It would be fun to go there for their Halloween event.

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What are some bucket list contenders?

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Country Profile

COUNTRY | Romania
Region Eastern Europe
Best Season March to June and September to October (Weather and costs considered)
Average Temp / Weather Conditions Averages are between 22°C (71°F) in July and -2°C (29°F) in January
Key Attractions Castles, midieval towns, mountains, and vampires!
Entry / Visa Requirements 90 Days no visa required, extensions can be requested. One blank page required for entry stamp
CURRENCY | Romanian Leu (~$4 RON = $1 USD)
Daily Budget $240-320 RON ($60-80 USD) per couple on a frugal budget (hostels, cookings own meals, local transportation)
Frugal Tips Stay on the edges of Summer to save money on lodging and transportation. Hotels and hostels are pretty cheap and a good way to go for couples. Airbnb and couchsurfing are also good options. Make your own meals when you can in more expensive tourist areas, and buy your groceries at discount supermarkets.
THE STAY | Possible duration: 2-3 Weeks
Lodging Types Couchsurfing, hostels, dorm rooms, budget hotels, airbnb
Food Pork and beef dishes, borsch, various soups, and don’t forget the Tzuica, a traditional spirit made from plums
Transportation Options Buses and trains. Hitchhiking is popular among locals and tourists
Driving Requirements Best to have international drivers permit (IDP) for the duration of your 90 days to drive
Connectivity Broadband internet is available as well as WiFi in various cafes, restaurants and even some parks

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CULTURE | Language: Romanian; other languages include English, Ukranian, German, Russian, Bulgarian, Hungarian
Customs Social Norms: Romanians tend to not trust strangers, and are shy and quiet when you first meet. They do not move to a first-name basis with anyone outside their family and close friends. Make eye contact when speaking with someone, or they will think you are not paying attention to them.

Dining Out: Dress in nice clothes for dining. If there are shoes near the front door, remove yours. Always keep your hands visible while eating. Cross your knife and fork to indicate you have not finished eating. Put your knife and fork on your plate with the handles facing right and the prongs facing down to indicate you have finished eating.

Hierarchy: Age and position are a respected part of their culture. The father or husband is the head of the family and makes all of the decisions.

Local Laws Similar to most western societies:

  • Do not drink and drive
  • Smoke in designated areas
  • Do not do illegal drugs
Local Holidays/Festivals Major Festivals:

  • June: Traditional Crafts Fair – Bucharest (wood carvings, pottery, glass blowing, painting, etc.)
  • July: Bucharest of Old – Celebration of the city’s history with horse-drawn carriages, food, and performances
    • Several traditional / medieval festivals this month (Maidens’ Fair, Sighisoara Festival of Medieval arts and Crafts)
  • August: Folk Art Festival and Dance at Prislop (Regional Celebration)
  • September: Sambra Oilor – Festival which marks the time when sheep herds return from higher elevations
  • October: Wine Making Festival, Halloween in Transylvania (Dracula themed)
  • December: Traditional Festival of Christmas

Major Holidays: See this website for more info. Most are very similar to other westernized countries. officeholidays.com

English Availability In tourist areas mostly, but don’t depend on it. Learn some basic phrases as it will not be as well known here. Romanian is an easy language for English speakers to learn as it is also Latin based. We recommend the Duolingo app, which is free and can help you practice your Romanian and many other languages.
Attitudes Toward Americans Generally positive, although they do point out things like our invading oil countries, being arrogant and wealthier than them. They do value our power in the world and our advances in technology.
Photography Concerns A photography-friendly country with beautiful landscapes and street photography. Laws are generally in favor of the photographer, but use common sense.

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SAFETY
General Safety
  • Use cash to avoid skimmers, get cash from ATM’s inside of banks (check for tampering).
  • There are fake policemen who may ask for your wallet and passport (dressed in plain clothes), ask them for a uniformed policeman and insist that issues be resolved in the police station.
  • Criminals frequent train stations, subways and buses, so be careful.
  • Pick-pocketing, internet scams, robbery and credit card fraud are the most common crimes.
Emergency Number 112
Location of U.S. Embassy / Phone B-dul, Dr. Liviu Librescu Nr. 4-6,
Sector 1, Bucharest, 015118
Phone (40) 21 200-3300

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MEDICAL
Medical Facilities Medical care levels vary depending on location, but is quite affordable compared to the U.S. It is not up to first world standards except in Bucharest.
Vaccinations Needed None Required, but recommend MMR, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, polio, Hep A (can be infected through water and food), Hep B if you plan on having sex with new partners, Rabies only if you plan to do caving, work around animals, staying in remote areas for long periods of time, or have children. Try to avoid mosquito bites which can transmit West Nile.

Resources: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov, https://www.worldnomads.com

Health Concerns If planning a long rural trip, vaccination is highly recommended. There are food-borne and water-borne infections diseases such as measles, hepatitis, typhoid and tuberculosis.
Water Quality Tap water is okay, but locals will mostly drink bottled water. We think siding with the locals is best.

Additional Resources


Have you been to Romania?  What activities do we have to try out?  What other countries should we consider?

Photos by Jorge Láscar Flickr, Creative Commons

 

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One thought on “Considering… Romania

  1. Sibiu is also a nice Romanian city for a short trip. At least the city’s center, the Astra Museum, the Council Tower and possibly the Bruckenthal Museum are worth visiting and it’s not that far away from Brasov.

    Liked by 1 person

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