Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. The standard
two-pin European style plugs are used.
The national language is Polish. English is widely
understood in tourist areas.
Tipping is not customary in Poland, but small gratuities of 10%
can be offered for excellent service. In restaurants, when your
money is collected, by saying 'thank you' this signals to the
waiter/waitress to keep the change.
Tourists should be alert to the risk of robbery in tourist areas
in large cities in Poland, particularly in the vicinity of hotels,
markets and banks. Vigilance against theft should also be exercised
at central railway stations, as well as on overnight long distance
trains, and when travelling on public transport between Warsaw's
Frederic Chopin Airport and central Warsaw. Avoid walking alone at
night. Tourist sites, areas near big hotels, money exchange
facilities and ATMs are popular with thieves.
Jay walking is an offence in Poland, which is punishable with a
fine. Public drunkenness is severely viewed; police will take drunk
people to drying out clinics until sober and the person will be
charged for the stay, and driving after drinking alcohol is
punishable by law.
Poland has an interesting mix of the old and the new, and this
is apparent in the business world too. Women can expect a kiss on
the hand rather than a handshake from the older generation and one
can expect to be warmly offered drinks during meetings; it is
impolite to refuse. Although the Polish are hospitable and
friendly, business is still conducted formally. Punctuality is
important, dress should be formal and conservative (a suit and tie
the norm) and business cards are exchanged. Use titles and first
names unless otherwise indicated. English is widely spoken, though
attempting some basic Polish phrases will be appreciated. Business
hours in Poland are traditionally 7am to 3pm Monday to Friday, with
a long lunch taken after 3pm. Western influence, however, means
that hours are starting to shift to the more common 9am to 5pm.
The international access code for Poland is +48. The outgoing
code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the
United Kingdom). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)22 for Warsaw
and (0)12 for Krakow. Cheap rates apply between 4pm and 6am, and on
weekends. Mobile phones work throughout the country, local
operators use GSM networks, which may not be compatible with some
US cell phones. Internet cafes are available in most towns.
Travellers to Poland over 17 years arriving from non-EU
countries do not have to pay duty on 250 cigarettes or 50 cigars or
250g tobacco; 1 litre wine and 1 litre spirits; cosmetics and
medicines for personal use; gifts up to the value of EUR175.
Travellers to Poland arriving from within the EU do not have to pay
duty on 800 cigarettes or 200 cigars or 1kg smoking tobacco; 10
litres spirits, 90 litres wine and 110 litres beer. Prohibited
items include birds and poultry arriving from countries infected
with Avian influenza. The export of all articles of artistic,
historic or cultural value are subject to special regulations.