Prague Hotel Service

Experience Prague

Category: Touring Prague

Save Money On Your Cell Phone Calls When In Prague

Have you ever found yourself feeling embarrassed when traveling overseas because you had to borrow other people’s phones? I certainly have! Every time I would go back to Prague, I’d have to borrow my sister’s phone so that I wouldn’t have to pay international roaming charges. Coming from a place where I was on Facebook, email, Internet and IM pretty much the entire day, I was feeling very disconnected and frankly, lost.

When I got my new HTC Sensation from T-Mobile, I was thrilled! I traveled back to Prague, turned my phone on and wuala! I was immediately connected to the local T-Mobil tower. My connection with the world worked like magic. I was Facebooking away every single day, posting pictures and stories about my visit in Prague and having a great time doing so. When I returned home, I opened my mail and found an invoice from T-Mobil for the amount of $1,500!!! You can only imagine the words that were coming out of my mouth! I called T-Mobil’s Customer Care immediately and pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges. Long story short, many long minutes on the phone with all kinds of T-Mobil Supervisors later, I won my case. I was found “not guilty” and T-Mobil dropped all the roaming charges. I am sure you are wondering how was that even possible? Well, a couple of years back, when you turned your phone on, you did not have to read and acknowledge a warning pop up explaining the roaming charges you were about to incur. It was T-Mobil’s the lack of transparency that got me out of that mess. I heard that I was not the only one dealing with this issue which propmpted T-Mobil to make some changes. Today, if you travel anywhere outside of your coverage area, you will recieved a pop up warning informing you about the roaming charges you are about to incur and it is your responsibility to either accept them or decline them and lose your coverage. I am glad this change has been implemented as I wouldn’t want anyne to experience what I had gone through. I will also add, that since T-Mobil took care of me and made me feel like a valued customer, I became a loyal customer and have been for almost 10 years now.

My experience made me much more aware of all the pop ups I receive from my provider. It also  forced me to do a research about how to best use my cell phone when I travel to Prague or anywhere else in the world.  I found some great information and I am happy to share it with you.

The solution is pre- paid SIM card. A prepaid SIM card for the Czech Republic with an international cell phone seems to be  the most convenient and economical solution.

  • No contract. No commitment.
  • Pre-paid service – you only spend what you paid for.
  • All incoming calls while in the Czech Republic are FREE.
  • Full transparency – rates for local and international outgoing calls and text messages are listed on the card.

The Czech SIM card, provided by O2/Eurotel, requires a SIM unlocked GSM 900 compatible international cell phone. You must call your provider to unlock your cell phone first and to check its compatibility. If your cell phone does not meet the criteria, you will be able to purchase a cheap phone once you get to Prague in the local T-Mobile – CZ stores. Some places even rent phones.

Unlocking your cell phone can be tricky as most providers don’t seem to be inclined to do so. Use your best negotiation skills and I am sure you will be successful! Remember to plan accordingly and give yourself plenty of time as the request to unlock your phone takes up to 14 days to process.

Once you know you are able to have your cell phone unlocked, find out if your provider offers a service suspension benefit to their subscribers (T-Mobil does for just $10). This is a great way to save money while you are away as your service is temporarily suspended and you don’t get a bill for that pay period . Instead, you will just pay the suspension fee. When I travel to Prague, I now save $100 on average just by taking advantage of this benefit.

Purchasing and swapping your SIM card when you arrive to Prague is very easy.

  • Purchase your new SIM card right at the airport in any newsstand kiosk.
  • Your new Czech phone number will be listed on the purchased Czech SIM card. The number will begin with +420
  • Remove your old SIM card and insert the Czech SIM card into your phone.
  • Turn on your cell phone.
  • Enter the PIN code listed on the SIM card.
  • Start calling.

Making calls is super easy!

  • Your friends and family will be able to reach you in Prague by dialing 011 followed by the country code 420 and then your new Czech number
  • To make outgoing calls to oversees, simply dial 00, followed by the country code and phone number.
  • Customer service for your Czech SIM card is available 24 hours by dialing 1188 directly from your phone.

Lastly, make sure you have a correct electricity adapter (220 Volts AC/50Hz)  packed for your trip to Prague! If you don’t have one, you can always buy one at the aiport or in Prague.

However, if you travel smart and plan in advance, you will get yours for a faction of the price at Accessory Geeks!

 

What to pack for Prague

When you are planning your trip to Prague or any other international destination and you are not an experienced traveler, you may feel uneasy about remembering all the ”little” things that if forgotten, can either make or break your trip. Czech out the packing guide below as it is a great tool that will take the stress of packing away from you.

GENERAL INFORMATION

1.Verify that you have all the pertinent documents allowing your entry to Prague – Visa/Passport/Government ID. Review the specific requirements based on your nationality in our Passport And Visa Requirements For Your Trip To Prague post.

2.Make copies of all your travel documents. Leave one copy at home and bring the second copy on your trip with you. Always carry your travel documents (Passport, Government ID, etc.) with you. Leave the second copy in your hotel room safe.

3. If you are planning to rent a car when in Prague, you must obtain an International Driver’s Licence prior to your trip. Check with a local Department Motor Vehicles for your specific information. If you have a Driver’s Licence issued in USA, any local AAA office will provide you with an international driver licence that will be recognized in Prague.

4. Check your travel itinerary and print all the pertinent confirmation numbers. This applies to your hotel, car and tour/excursion reservations in Prague.

5. Check Prague’s extended weather forecast. Based on the season, you may experience extremely cold or hot temperatures or a combination of both. FYI-rain is pretty much always in the forecast. Don’t forget an umbrella or a rain coat. You will do a lot of walking in Prague. Packing comfortable shoes is a MUST!

 

IF TRAVELING BY AIR

1.Log in to your airline’s website and verify the following:

  • Current Travel Information – for any weather related or other delays.
  • Baggage Allowance and Other Fees – read up on the size, weight and number of bags allowed free of charge; become familiar with the fees charged for any additional bags or weight.
  • Find out your airline’s required check-in time for international travel.
  • Find out what services are provided to travellers with children, travellers with disabilities and travellers with animals.

2. Check-in online is this options is offered by your airline. It will cut your time at the check-in counter in half.

3. Mark your checked baggage with something that you will easily recognize from a distance AND fill out your bag’s name tag with your current address. In addition, make sure that you remove medicine and any valuables such as your laptop, cell phone, PDA, important documents (i.e. Passport, Government ID), jewellery from your checked baggage and place it in your carry-on luggage.

4. Carry-on luggage requirements and regulations 

Only limited amount of liquids and gels can be packed in your carry-on luggage while observing the following strict regulations:

  • Containers with liquids and similar products may contain up to 3.4 ounces/100 millilitres.
  • All containers must be carried in a transparent resealable plastic bag.
  • Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, resealable, clear plastic bag.
  • The bag must be presented separately at the security check.
  • Medication and special food (i.e. baby food) must be presented to a TSA/Security Checkpoint agent for inspection.
  • Duty Free items are now allowed to be carried on board along with one carry-on luggage. They  must be kept in the sealed, transparent and tamper-proof bag with a receipt.

An example of TSA approved resealable plastic bag.

TSA approved resealable plastic bag dimensions

You can also visit the Transportation Security Administration(TSA) wesbite for more detailed information about the carry-on regulations when traveling from Prague to USA. You can visit Lufthansa’s website for the European Union (EU) requirements.

TRAVEL PREPARATION AND YOUR HEALTH

In case you are nervous about jet lag, food allergies or any other possible illnesses while on board an aircraft, you can read up information on your airline’s website or right HERE. This information has been prepared by Lufthansa. I find it extremely informative and applicable whether you are flying to Prague or anywhere else in the world.

Useful Info

Becoming familiar with the country you are visiting and being aware of the very basic emergency contact information should be an essential part of you planning process. If you are planning a trip to Prague, you will find the information below beneficial as it offers a comprehensive overview of Prague’s most important phone numbers, services and places where you can get help. Make sure you have this information with you when traveling to Prague.

BASIC INFORMATION

Prague: The capital of Czech Republic

Population: about 1,240.000

Time Zone: Central European Time (GMT)

Language: Czech

Currency: Czech Crown (Koruna), abbreviated as Kc or CZE

ATM: Located throughout the city, accepted credit/debit cards are Visa, Mastercard/EuroCard, Maestro and American Express.

Electricity: 220 Volts AC/50Hz (electricity adapters are necessary)

Phone Area Code for Czech Republic : +420

Phone Area Codefor Prague:  02

Phone Cards: All phone booths accept phone cards. These are available at newsstands, post offices, hotels and cost 200-300 CZE

Roadside Assistance: 1230-1240 (Yellow Angel)

Central Prague Post Office: Jindrisska 14 (off Wenceslas Square), Prague 1. It opens daily from  2am midnight.

MEDICAL/SAFETY RELATED EMERGENCY

Emergency Phone Number: 112 (Ambulance / Fire / Police)

Dental First Aid Phone Number: 141 22

24 hr Medical Providers:

  • Doctor Prague Health Center (www.doctor-prague.cz): Located at Vodickova 28, 2nd floor, Prague1, phone:224 220 040
  • Pharmacy: Located at Palackeho 5, Prague 1, phone: 224 946 982 AND Belgicka 37, Prague 2, phone: 222 519 731
  • Dentist: European Dental Center (www.edcdental.cz): Located at Peckova 9, Prague 8, open Mon-Fri 8:30am-8pm, Sat 9am-6pm. FOR 24 hr on-call service call 224 228 993 OR 224 228 994 OR 224 228 984

Dentist Providers With Limited Hours Of Operation:

  • American Dental Associates (www.americandental.cz): Located at Celnici 4, Prague 1 , open Mon-Thu 8am-8pm, phone 221 181 121
  • Emergency Dental Service: Located at Palackeho 5 (near Wenceslas Square), Prague 1, open: Mon & Wed 8am-5:30pm. Tue & Thu 8am-4pm. Fri 8am0-2pm, phone: 224 235 085

LOCATIONS OF TOURIST CENTERS

  • Na Prikope 20
  • Old Town Square – (in Old Town Hall)
  • Rytirska Street 31
  • Prague Airport
  • Lesser Town Bridge Tower (open in the summer season only)
  • Main Train Station  (in the lobby)

PHONE NUMBERS FOR EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES

  • USA: +420 257 530 663
  • UK: +420 257 402 111
  • Canada: +420 272 101 800
  • Australia: +420 296 578 350 (Consulate)
  • South Africa: +420 267 311 114
  • Ireland: +420 257 530 061
  • Germany: +420 257 113 111
  • Spain: +420 224 311 222
  • Italy: +420 233 080 111
  • New Zealand: +420 222 514 672 (Consulate)
  • France: +420 251 171 711

WEATHER

The weather in Prague varies based on the season (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall). Winter can be very cold with temperatures dropping below 0°C (20F). Spring usually takes its time and the weather doesn’t starts to get warmer until around April. Summer time (June – August) is the warmest with temperatures rising up to 30 °C (86F). Temperatures drop at night pretty significantly, additional layers are recommended.

GETTING TO PRAGUE

  • Plane – Prague’s airport Ruzyne is about 15 km from the city center. Bus and taxi service is available and can be reserved at the airport.
  • Train – The Main Train Station is adjacent to Wenceslas Square, about a 5 minute walk. Access to Pragu’e Metro (subway) is available directly at the Train Station.
  • Bus – The Main Bus Terminal Florenc is located just east of the Old Town Square. Majority of international and domestic buses travelling to Prague make their final stop in Florenc.
  • Car – You must be at least 18 years old with a valid International Driving Licence to drive in the Czech Republic. All drivers are required to purchase and display a toll stamp allowing access to Czech highways.

GETTING AROUND PRAGUE

  • On foot – Most of Prague’s sites are located within a walking distance of each other.
  • Metro (Subway) – Metro operates from 5am – Midnight. It is easy to use and navigate around (three lanes only).
  • Tram – The tram system reaches pretty much all the parts of the city. It is the best way to see all of Prague.
  • Bus – Buses serve mostly the suburban areas.
  • Boat – Boat services are mostly used as tourist attractions (i.e. dinner on the river Vltava) or excursions. Tickets can be purchased in the Prague’s tourist centers or directly at the pier. Most of the excursions depart from Prazska paroplavebni pier in Nove Mesto.
  • Taxi – The Prague’s taxi system is not a recommended means of transportation. It is very difficult to negotiate prices and in most cases, you will end up paying an excessive amount of money. AAA Radiotaxi is the only recommended taxi service in Prague and their phone number is (+420)257 257 257

Make sure you print the Prague’s Useful Information prior to your trip to Prague and have it handy if and when the time comes!

Great Lunch in Prague for under 400CZE and Much More

Did you know you can enjoy lunch for two on a boat with the view of Charles Bridge, Lesser Town and the Prague Castle for under 400 CZE? When my tour guide, Helen, suggested lunch on a boat in the middle of Prague, I hesitated. I was certain I would be digging deep in my pocket at the end of our meal. It was a gorgeous Spring day, my conversation with Helen about the history of Prague was splendid, so I figured why not? I work hard, I can play hard too.

 

Helen and I walked through Old Town Square all the way to the bank of river Vltava and there we found Marina Grosseto Ristorante, a boat that was converted into a restaurant. My first impression was PRICELESS! I loved what I was seeing as it felt like I was standing in a picture of an advertising magazine.

Marina Grosseto Ristorante in Prague

We were greeted by a hostess as soon as we walked in. “Inside or out?”, she asked. We opted for eating out on a deck. The restaurant had a lovely modern design perfectly suitable for the location – wooden tables, wooden chairs, B-B-Q, and a bar in the middle of the deck. Every table on the deck had a amazing view of Prague’s two most iconic historical sites- Charles Bridge and Prague’s Castle. Our waiter approached the table almost immediately. He was smiling, welcoming and asked if we had any questions about the lunch menu. Then he gave us a few minutes to decide. I couldn’t make a decision and when I mentioned to him that I was counting my calories and working hard on eliminating carbs out of my diet, he responded back with a very educated suggestion: “You should have the roasted chicken with vegetables, menu item xy. And don’t eat the bread that’s on the table! Stick with the protein for now and have a salad for dinner.” I was very impressed with not only his patience and caring value, but his delivery and eye contact. He was funny, entertaining, knowledgeable, respectful and he understood and met our needs. Not for nothing, but the customer service industry in Prague and the Czech Republic is not really the best in the world. Sometime you feel like you are actually bothering staff when asking to be waited on in a timely and courteous manner. It’s a shame, but restaurants like Marina Grosseto keep me hopeful that Prague’s customer service industry is on the rise and will continue heading in this positive direction.

 Our Lunch at Marina Grosseto Ristorante, Prague

My lunch – Roasted Chicken and Vegatables

Helen’s lunch – Salmon Salad

**FIND GREAT DEALS ON HOTELS IN PRAGUE**

The food was delicious! My chicken had a perfect blend of spice and the veggies were nicely sauteed and seasoned. Helen enjoyed her salmon salad with a tall glass of cold Czech beer. I really wanted to try a desert to go with my double presso, but I felt guilty. I didn’t want to disappoint our waiter after all his time and effort of suggesting a meal that would fit my low carb diet.  Splurging on a 500 calorie desert just didn’t seem right. I also wanted to mention that the day we ate at Marina Grosseto Ristorante they were playing a perfect collection from the 90s. Since I am a big fan, eating, chatting, enjoying the amazing view of Prague while listening to Pet Shop Boys and Tina Turner just seemed like a cherry on top of a delicious cake.

I highly recommend Marina Grosseto Ristorante and hope you have a memorable experience as well. And when you do, come back and let us know your story. Until then, Bon Apetite!

Best Tour Guide in Prague

It has been a while since my last lunch date with a complete stranger. One of my colleagues back in the United Stated highly recommended this young woman as my tour guide in Prague. Being that I am from Prague and my expectations tent to be very high, I didn’t know what to expect. I connected with Helen, the tour guide on Facebook. We exchanged a few emails with some very basic information and agreed to meet by Orloj, Old Town Square, right in the middle of Prague around 1pm. Helen got back in touch with me the day before our meeting and proposed meeting around 11ish as her morning had freed up. Even though I had great references about Helen and had spoken to her via Facebook, I still wasn’t sure if she would even show up. Around 11am I got a text message from her asking me what my location was. I happened to be standing right in the middle of Old Town Square. I started looking around looking for Helen. In about two minutes I saw this lovely young woman heading in my direction. I knew immediately that it was her. My friend described her as fun, bubbly, personable and extremely hip. He was right! Helen walked up to me smiling, introduced herself and welcomed me to Prague. I was so relieved! Not only that she was right on time, pleasant with great manners, she seemed really cool! I was excited as I knew I was about to spend a great afternoon in Prague with a wonderful tour guide, Helen.

We started walking. Around noon I was feeling hungry. I asked Helen to recommend a restaurant where we could have a nice, inexpensive lunch. I was curious to see what place in the entire Prague she would suggest. It was a beautiful day. The temperature must have been close to 20 degrees Celsius. You can only imagine the hundred s of cafés that were opened that day in Prague for all the tourists to enjoy. Helen picked this place right on the bank of river Vltava, overlooking Charles Bridge and the Prague’s Castle. From the moment I saw the place I could tell that Helen had a great taste. We sat outside. The food was delicious, conversation wonderful and the setting absolutely breathtaking! Right there, I knew Helen was not only a knowledgeable, bright young woman, but a very intuitive one. She read me and my personality to the T and picked a place that was exactly what I had in mind!

As I have mentioned above, I could tell right away that my day with Helen would be fun just by observing her behavior and demeanor. I was even more impressed by her when I learned about her life journey and how she ended up in Prague. Born in Ukraine, Helen studied in Kiev and earned her degree in editing. As a graduate, she was earning “whopping” $300-$400 a month working for a company in Kiev. To no one’s surprise, Helen’s aspirations and dreams were almost impossible to achieve under those conditions and so she made a tough decision to leave everything behind and move to Prague. Helen worked in a restaurant and retail business before she decided to pursue her family tradition – tourism. She became certified as Prague’s tour guide and made it her career. She has now been living in Prague for 6 years. She mastered her Czech and had I not known she was a foreigner, I wouldn’t have guessed she wasn’t from Prague. Her language skills have impressed me even more when we started speaking English – perfect grammar and no accent. In addition to Czech and English, I learned Helen is also fluent in Finish and of course in her mother tongue, Russian.

Helen’s knowledge about Prague, its art, history and the people, her passion for what she does make her a perfect tour guide I would highly recommend to everyone. She can be hired for individual or group tours. If you are thinking of getting a tour guide while in Prague, you must contact her. You will love her!