- Check the validity of your passport
- Make any necessary bookings (for sights, accommodation and/or travel)
- Check your airline's baggage restrictions
- Inform your credit/debit card company you're going abroad
- Arrange travel insurance
- Check to see if you can use your mobile (cell) phone away from home
What to Take
- Money belt
- Adaptor plug
- Hat/cap and sunscreen for sun
- Swimsuit and towel
- Torch (flashlight)
- Small pair of binoculars
- Sturdy walking shoes
What to Wear
In general, Hungarian dress is casual; many younger people attend classical-music concerts and even the opera in jeans. Men needn't bother bringing a tie, as it will be seldom – if ever – used. There are no items of clothing to remember, apart from bringing an umbrella in late spring and autumn, and a warm hat (everyone wears them) in winter. A swimsuit for use in the mixed-sex thermal spas and pools is important as are plastic sandals or thongs (flip-flops). The summer fashions and beachwear can be daringly brief, even by Western standards.
Two months before If travelling in high season or during big festivals, book your accommodation; reserve a table at a top restaurant.
One month before Check listings in the Budapest Events Guide (www.budapesteventsguide.com) and Budapest Times (www.budapesttimes.hu); book popular events.
One week before Call your bank/credit-card company to tell them you're travelling and ask about 'contactless payment’. It’s very common here.
- Budapest Info (www.budapestinfo.hu/budapest) One of the better overall tourist websites.
- Budapest Times Online (www.budapesttimes.hu) Popular English-language site, with local news, interviews, reviews and opinion pieces.
- Budapest by Locals (www.budapestbylocals.com) Excellent and very useful expat-driven site full of both glaringly obvious information and bits and pieces that impress even us.
- Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/budapest) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.
- We Love Budapest.com (www.welovebudapest.com/en) English and Hungarian portal about the city.
- Bring good walking shoes and be prepared to hoof it – this is a city best seen from ground level.
- If you are using public transport a lot, make life easier (and safer) and buy a pass. It saves fiddling for a new ticket each time, keeps you safe from inspectors and usually works out cheaper.
- Eat your main meal at lunchtime; set meals at lunch at most restaurants – including high-end ones – cost much less than they do at dinnertime.
- When tipping in a restaurant, never leave money on the table. Instead, tell waiters how much you intend to leave, and they will give the change accordingly.