Quick Facts – Time Differences, Calling Europe, and Travel Insurance
Don’t forget the time difference when calling Eastern Europe (or vice versa). Eastern Europe is six hours behind the East Coast of the United States and nine hours behind the West Coast.
So when it’s 9PM in Prague, it’s noon in San Francisco on the same day. When it’s 9AM in Warsaw, it’s 3AM the same day in New York.
Because most United States insurance policies don’t cover you when you are overseas, it’s best to arrange coverage specifically for your trip.
Your travel agent can provide you with a list of travel insurance carriers offering health insurance, lost baggage protection, and the like. Many credit companies offer some form of travel insurance and protection against cancellation of trips purchased using their credit cards. Insurance policies sold through such student travel organizations as Council Travel offer a comprehensive package of health and trip coverage. Special comprehensive coverage for educators is available at a cost of US$50 or more per month from such organizations as John Hancock (800) 767-0169, Hinchcliff International (607) 257-0100, or Seabury & Smith (800) 331-3047.
You might consider obtaining an International Teacher’s ID for US$17 from CIEE, (800) GET-AN-ID. These cards entitle you to student-rate airfares and include a minimal health insurance policy.
Calling Eastern Europe
Nowadays, everyone has a cell phone (or mobile as it is called there) in Eastern Europe. In fact, in the Czech Republic alone, there are currently more mobile accounts than there are people in the country! If that doesn’t tell you something, then you should just show up and see for yourself. However, most people, especially the younger generation, use SMSing (text messaging) to communicate, rather than chat away the rather expensive minutes. The best part is, incoming SMSs and phone calls are absolutely free, so you can have your friends back home call you anytime on your mobile at no cost to you. However, Skype is also a highly popular form of communication, and you may find yourself chatting or speaking via Skype with colleagues if you end up working from home. Landlines are also available, but most people who travel to Prague prefer the cost of a mobile phone to a landline that is hardly used. Phone booths are placed all around the city, although you will hardly see them being used, and even Czechs admit having a hard time figuring out how to work them with the prepaid cards instead of coins is relatively easy. Just follow these steps:
- Dial “011” to get an international operator.
- Dial the “International Country Code”:
Czech Republic 42
- Dial the “City Code.” (This is the number within the parentheses.) Remember to omit the “0” when calling from overseas. For example, from the United States to Prague, dial 011-42-2-, then
- Dial the telephone number.