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Finland Travel Notes

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Australian Honorary Consulate in Finland

Museokatu 25 B 23
00100 Helsinki, Finland

Australian Embassy in Sweden

Klarabergsviadukten 63, 8th Floor,
Stockholm, Sweden

Tel +46 8 613 2900
Email [email protected]
www.sweden.embassy.gov.au

Smartraveller

The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers.
www.smartraveller.gov.au

Time Zones

Finland is on Greenwich Mean Time +2 time making them 8 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time. When on daylight saving time (GMT +3) they are 7 hours behind Australia. Daylight Saving starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.  To obtain the current local time and date in cities and countries in all time zones.
www.worldtimeserver.com

Voltages and Plugs

Finland use 220 volts. Plugs are of the two-round-pronged European type.
www.korjo.com/Adaptor-Guide

Currency

To obtain the most up-to-date exchange rate you may wish to visit
www.xe.com/currencyconverter

As Finland is a member of the Euro-zone, their official currency is the Euro (EUR). There are 8 euro coins denominated in 2 and 1 euros, then 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. Every euro coin carries a common European face. On the reverse, each member state decorates the coins with its own motifs. No matter which motif is on the coins they can be used anywhere inside the 16 countries that are members of the Euro-zone.

There are 7 euro notes. In different colours and sizes they are denominated in 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 euros. The notes are uniform throughout the euro area; unlike coins, they have no national side. The designs depict Europe’s architectural heritage.

Credit Cards and ATM machines

ATMs are the easiest way to access your money. They are common throughout the country, virtually all accept Visa, MasterCard, Electron, Cirrus, Maestro and InterBank cards. ATMs sometimes run dry on weekends in smaller towns. Do not expect to find them in villages and rural areas.

Please note that using a credit card in foreign countries usually requires a “chip-and-pin” credit card with an embedded microchip and an associated PIN number (the PIN is specific to each credit card). If you have questions about using your credit card in a foreign country, please contact your bank prior to departure from Australia. Check with your credit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Cash

Foreign currency is not accepted. Currency can be exchanged at banks, exchange bureaux and larger hotels, though you may get a better exchange rate at the ATMs. Do not change money in the street, it is not safe.
Travelers Cheques are NO longer accepted.

Telephone & Communication

Mobile telephones
Most mobile telephones work in Finland and coverage is excellent. Check with your local provider that your phone can switch on ‘Global Roaming’ and that your provider has coverage in the places you are visiting. Mobile phones can be very useful for SMSing  (especially if you get lost!). International calls are often expensive, as is checking your message bank as calls have to be routed through Australia.

Should you choose to purchase a local sim card please check with your local provider prior to departure to make sure your phone is unlocked and will accept another sim card.

Internet
Internet access is widespread and available throughout Finland.  Many hotels and cafes now offer access, some you need to pay while others have free Wi-fi zones.

If you have Web access while traveling, you might consider a broadband-based telephone service (in technical terms, Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP) such as Skype or Vonage, which allows you to make free international calls between online computers and phones, and cheap international calls if you’re calling a normal phone number. Most cybercafes throughout the country will be using these programs already, complete with headset, microphone, and webcam.
www.skype.com    www.vonage.com

Business Hours in Finland

Offices  08.00 – 17.30 Monday to Friday.
Banks   09.00 – 17.00 Monday to Friday.
Shops   09.00 – 17.30 week days / 09.00 – 14.00 weekends. Malls stay open to at least 21.00. Opening hours will vary in smaller towns.

Sales Tax

A sales tax (TVA) of 24 %. VAT Refund – VAT refund offices can be found at Helsinki airport near passport control.

To claim you Sales Tax Refund please make sure that:

  • If you are purchasing goods in Finland for personal export and you are leaving the EU from Finland, you need to present your passport and receipts to claim your Tax Free shopping refund at the Planet refund point at either Helsinki Airport. Be prepared to present the goods if needed.

Personal Safety

  • We strongly recommend the use of a money belt to keep your cash, cards and travel documents safe. This should be kept under your clothes at all times. This is a precaution that should be taken anywhere due to the difficulties that can be experienced in trying to replace stolen items.
  • Take photocopies of all important documents (passport, credit cards, airline tickets, insurance) and keep one copy securely in your luggage and leave another copy at home.
  • It is generally helpful to take a business card from the hotel you are staying at. This can assist hugely if you get lost. If you also have a key card for your hotel, make sure you keep these two cards separate or you run the risk of allowing a thief access to your room
  • Take extra care in crowded places and try not to ‘advertise’ the fact that you may be carrying valuables by having something like an expensive camera over your shoulder. Put it in your bag or under your coat. And men, try to avoid keeping your wallet in your hip pocket.
What to Pack

Clothing (general)
The time of the year you visit this destination will dictate the type of clothing it is appropriate to bring. It would always be advisable to take a rain coat or a water proof windbreaker. For daytime activities, we suggest a wardrobe that is versatile, casual and comfortable. It is recommended that “layered” clothing might offer the best comfort in a variety of conditions. Always expect the weather to be changeable.

Beyond the normal wardrobe we suggest

  • comfortable walking shoes (very important)
  • sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat
  • folding umbrella and/or light raincoat
  • ladies should have a scarf with them at all times in case it is required to cover shoulders or head when entering religious sites
  • prescription medicines for the full duration of your time away and a written copy of your prescriptions including what they are for, provided by your doctor
  • extra prescription eyeglasses (if required)
Etiquette

No attempt should be made to photograph anything remotely connected with the armed forces or in the vicinity of defence installations. Many people do not like being photographed. Always ask before photographing someone, they may try to obtain money from you.

Tipping:  Normally tipping is not expected in Finland and a service charge is added in hotels and restaurants. Finnish people do tip if they appreciated good service or delicious food. It is not obligatory to give a tip to the taxi drivers.

Useful websites

Finland Tourist Board
www.visitfinland.com

Helsinki Guide
www.myhelsinki.fi

“In Your Pocket” and select the relevant country or city
www.inyourpocket.com

Climate

We suggest that prior to departure you check the weather forecast for the most up-to-date information.
www.worldweatheronline.com

The climate in Finland differs according to region. The south central regions are milder than the north.

Average minimum/maximum Temperatures (˚C)

City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Helsinki -9/-3 -10/-4 -7/0 -1/6 4/14 9/19 13/22 10/20 8/15 3/8 -1/3 -5/-1