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Tourist and Travel Information
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Tourist and Travel Information

Odessa is the second most popular tourist place in Ukraine after Kiev. It offers to tourists, which number over 300,000 per year, its museums and theatres, lots of entertainments, vivid nightlife and beautiful beaches.
UKRAINE GEOGRAFICAL LOCATION & POPULATION & LANGUAGE

Ukraine Declared Independence: August 24, 1991. It is situated in Eastern Europe and lies in the Dnipro River basin. Neighboring Ukraine are the countries of Belarus, Russia, Moldova, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. In the South, Ukraine is washed by the Black and Azov Seas. The area of Ukraine is 603,700 sq.km (2333,089 sq. Miles), the population is 51,728,400. Kiev (Kyiv, in Ukrainian), is the Capital of Ukraine and the biggest city. About 3 million people live in Kiev. Ethnic Composition: Ukrainian 73%, Russia 22%, Jewish 1%, other 4% approximately 85% of the Ukrainian population is Orthodox Christians; 10% are Catholics of the Byzantine rite; 3% are Protestant (mainly Baptists); 1.3% is of Jewish faith. Main Industries: Agriculture (grains, potatoes, beets, cooking oil, canned goods, and dairy products) and manufacturing (electrical goods, agricultural machinery) iron ore, coal, chemicals. Official state language in Ukraine is Ukrainian, but Russian is widely used. In big cities, people speak mostly Russian, and in villages - Ukrainian. All official documents are exercised in Ukrainian, mass media uses two languages. Many people have basic knowledge of English. Hotels, restaurants, bars, private companies hire people who know English. But do not hope to hear English in shops, kiosks, town transport.

CLIMATE

Climate in Ukraine is basically sparingly-continental, in the Crimea - a subtropical climate of Mediterranean type. Winters are long, snowy and cool, average temperature in January is - 6 C (21 F). The coolest month is February. Summer is short and not very hot, average temperature in July is + 19 C (67 F). In July, August there can be + 32 C more often + 25-30 C. Change of seasons is very distinct in Ukraine, snowy winter, flowering warm springtime, hot summer and gilded autumn. In Odessa temperature is usually 5-10 C higher then in the rest of Ukraine due to Southern location.

UKRAINE CURRENCY

Since 1996 Official state currency is Hrivna. There are money bills by nominal values 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 hrivnas and small change coins by nominal values 1, 2, 5,10,25,50 kopecks. Payments on the territory of Ukraine are accepted only in national currency (hrivnas). You may exchange your country money for hrivnas at ATMs located in all big cities by Banks and in the streets and in banks. In order to avoid fraud and troubles, do not use services of street changers. Credit cards are accepted in large hotels, restaurants, shops.

ELECTRICITY

Standard voltage in electric networks in Ukraine is 220 volts. Faults in electricity supply occur very seldom and, as a rule, are immediately eliminated.

WATER

For drinking water, Ukrainians use water filters, or boil tap water. We do not advise you to drink tap water without filtering. Better buy drinking water or mineral water in a store. Many people use water taken from artesian bore holes, from the depth of 300 m underground. The springs of artesian water are scattered all over big cities. Usually, they are fenced, sheltered and have water characteristics. This water is cleaner than tap water, but it also should be boiled before drinking.

CRIME SITUATION

In spite of common view in Western newspapers that Ukrainian Mafia is everywhere and watching you and that streets of Ukrainian cities are dangerous for foreign tourists, this is not true. In fact, streets of any city in Ukraine are much safer than streets of NEW YORK, Los-Angeles or Chicago. You can freely walk downtown at night. Try not to attract attention, do not carry a lot of money, do not use ATMs in the streets late at night, watch your baggage and your own pocket when using public transport. Do not take a taxi if there are already several passengers in it. Follow a principle of good sense and your stay in Ukraine will be pleasant and safe.


Ukrainian Etiquette (Following these rules, may avoid embarrassment).
  • If invited into a family home, it is traditional to bring a gift. A bottle of wine, a cake, chocolates or a bouquet of flowers is customary. If there is a child in the house, it is appropriate to provide him/her with a small gift as well.
  • Do not shake hands across the threshold of a door. It is considered bad luck.
  • When shaking hands, take off your gloves.
  • In Ukraine it is not a custom to shake hands with a woman. Kissing her hand will make you very gallant.
  • Be prepared to remove your shoes upon entering a home. To keep apartments clean, most hosts will provide you with a pair of slippers.
  • On public transportation, give up your seat to mothers with children, the elderly, or the infirm.
  • At the entrance of upscale restaurants, expect that your coat, briefcase or baggage will be checked.
  • Be sure to have business cards printed in Ukrainian on one side and English on the other.
  • When eating dinner at someone's home, casual dress is accepted.
  • If you bring flowers, make sure it is an uneven number (even are for funerals) of flowers.
  • Be ready to give toasts at dinner, for guests are often asked to do so.
  • Offer to share your snacks and cigarettes with those around you.
  • Be prepared to accept all food and drink offered you when visiting friends.
  • Ukrainians are known for their generosity when it comes to feeding others. Turning down food may be considered rude.
  • For business, dress should be conservative. Men should not take off their jackets unless asked to do so.
  • In Orthodox churches women wear scarves or hats, and men take off their hats.
  • Don't put your thumb between your first two fingers - this is a very rude gesture.
Common advice for tourists to Odessa Ukraine
It is understandable that arriving to an unknown country a person could feel himself lost and maybe even unsafe in different situations. Actually Odessa is very similar to many other larger cities of the World. Odessa has about 1.5 million residents in the city and in the surrounding areas.
You can be safe here if you follow common rules of behavior that are similar for all cities.
  1. Don't walk along dark streets in the late night;
  2. Don't visit apartments of people that you just met;
  3. Don't go with with anyone you just met far from where you are at the moment;
  4. Don't get into cars of unknown people who invite you to do this;
  5. Don't invite people that you just met to the apartment;
  6. Don't provide your address to strangers;
  7. Always be aware of your surroundings and where you are;
  8. Don't walk around late at night after a good night of drinking;
  9. Don't leave your hotel or apartment with out a cell phone and our contact info as you will never know when you might need some help;
But if you still feel uncomfortable, someone from our staff can be with you any time you need it. Our staff, interpreters and drivers are helpful and become caring and supportive friends. You can always feel safe any time you are with them here in Odessa Ukraine.

Frequently asked travel questions.
Can I use my credit card in Ukraine?
  1. In general, Ukraine operates as a "cash economy". In most situations you will be expected to pay for goods and services in local currency, not with dollars or credit cards. However there are many currency exchange offices available. It is easy to exchange dollars for hyrivnas (UAH).
  2. The banking situation had been unstable in both Russia and Ukraine. In 1998, the August banking crisis hit with no warning, making credit cards useless overnight. Don't get caught short! Always have $ 300-500 cash in reserve, in case your credit cards suddenly don't work.
  3. Travelers Checks are for security and are not convenient! Unlike in the States and many European cities, there are a very limited numbers of places to cash traveler's checks. There is a fee for cashing traveler's checks. It can take several hours.
  4. We recommend wearing a money belt and bringing mostly cash. Of course, it's completely up to you.
  5. We also want to remind you to also check with the Ukraine Embassy on how much cash you are allowed to bring into the Ukraine as if you go over that Limit you can and will loss that cash at customs before you leave the airport.
What will the weather be like in Odessa Ukraine?

It depends on the time of year that you travel, but generally the weather and temperatures in Odessa will be about the same as many cities in Europe.

In both spring and autumn, you will need to bring some warm clothes. Expect daytime temperatures to be in the mid 50s-60s, and the night temperatures to drop into the low 40s or even 30s on occasion.

In wintertime, the coldest days hover around 32. However, snowfall is minimal so heavy snow boots are not needed.

Summertime weather is usually fantastic, with daytime temperatures in the upper / mid 80s to lower 70s, and night time temperatures in the mid 70s.

What kind of clothing should I bring?

Weather considerations aside, be yourself and be comfortable. Bring a mixture of both casual clothes for daytime and clothes you would normally wear out on a date. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to dress, so relax and wear what you want.

What kind of electricity do they have in Ukraine?

Electricity in Ukraine is 220 Volts, 50 Hz AC. You will need an Eastern European plug adapter (with round pins) to plug into electric sockets. Adapter kits can be purchased at Radio Shack, Wal-Mart, K-Mart and luggage stores.

American electrical appliances will also require a "step down" converter that adjusts the electricity from Ukraine's 220V down to 110V.

Note: Most new video camera Battery Chargers and laptop computer adapters can be plugged into 220V or 110V sockets. Consult your Operating Manual for details for your camera and computer model.

Luggage

Check with the airlines since many are modifying their baggage allowances. NOTE: We recommend that your carry-on bag contain a full change of dress clothing and toiletries. In the unlikely event that your check-in luggage doesn't arrive with you, you will need clothes for your first contacts. Occasionally, one of our clients has a problem with his luggage arriving late. This is normal for all international airlines, and luggage is usually delivered within the following 24 hours. If this happens, we will work to expedite the return of your luggage.

If you have other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at Info@odessarents.com and we hope you will enjoy your trip to Odessa and we look forward to meeting.