This is one of the great benefits of coming to Hungary. The food is good and it is relatively inexpensive to eat in many restaurants. You can have a nice meal for as little as $10. However, watch for the extra charges. Some things that you might take for granted like drink refills are NOT free. Also, there may be bread on the table when you sit down, but do not assume it is free; you may have to pay for each slice of bread that you eat. In a lot of places you can choose to order half a plate of food or split a full portion with someone else without an additional charge. Some places may have a menu in English, but you will have to ask for it. Don’t be surprised if they don’t.
• One check for a group: It is preferable to pay as a group; often, settling individual bills can be a frustrating, time-consuming matter for a waiter. Determine who owes what later it is important that each person keep track of what his/her meal cost plus a portion of the tip.
• Paying the bill: You have to signal and tell the waiter that you are ready to pay and to bring you the bill.
• Tipping Hungarian style!: Round the bill up to the nearest hundred, add in 10% and pay the entire amount directly to the waiter. Please do not leave a tip on the table; it is considered an insult. Instead, the tip should be included when paying the waiter.
There are a few American restaurants in Hungary, such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Subway, and KFC; the menu and prices are comparable to what you would find in America though they will often offer some items never seen in America. You won’t find these famous American franchises in smaller towns.
You will not find any Super Wal-Marts in Western Hungary. Most shops are specialty shops. For example, you go to one store for clothes, another for shoes, another for aspirin, another for shampoo, and yet another for flowers. There are, however, a few stores that sell a variety of goods.
Tesco or InterSpar are the closest you will find to Wal-Mart or Target; these can be found in towns of 20,000 residents or more. Most local shops are very tiny and can only accommodate a few people at a time. Be sure when you enter to greet the salesperson. And remember to pick up a shopping basket, located near the door, if one is available! People without a shopping basket are looked upon with suspicion. Be sure to say goodbye when you leave.
The Hungarian currency is the forint.
As of November 6, 2012, one dollar equals about 220 forints.
There is little difficulty finding an ATM in Hungary. Check before leaving for Hungary if your bank will charge you a fee for using your bankcard for overseas ATM withdrawals. Besides using an ATM, you can exchange money at any bank or money exchange booth. Not all establishments take credit cards, so generally be prepared to pay in cash. Personal checks are not accepted anywhere. Traveler’s checks can be used/cashed at banks or exchange booths, but not in stores. • NOTE: Never exchange money with individuals on the street or in the market place; it is risky, dangerous, and it is illegal! In Budapest, be wary of anyone posing as an undercover police officer flashing an identification card or badge, who suspects you of black-market money exchanges! Hungarian police wear uniforms and can be clearly identified always request the presence of uniformed police officers if there is a problem. Tourists in some popular Budapest shopping areas have been targeted by this scheme.
Cameras: respecting privacyPlease be considerate of people’s right to privacy when taking photos or making videos. Hungarians are very private people and may be offended if you take their photo/film them with out asking for permission first. In general you are free to photograph buildings, statues, large groups of people, but for shots of individuals, close-ups, be sure to ask first.