Remember to take your passport with you when changing money outside the hotel or apartment. many hotels now give official bank rates when changing money so it's
worth checking before making an unnecessary journey to the bank. Bank are open 09.00 to 14.00 Monday to Friday.
Visa, Access and American Express are the most popular. Just look for the signs in the shop window or reception areas of hotels. Credit cards and charge cards are accepted by many hotels, shops and restaurants.
To hire a car you can used your British driving licence but the minimum age is 21. Once behind the wheel, remember:
- Always take your driving licence and passport with you.
- Wear your seat belt when driving an motorways and major roads.
- Traffic police are strict with offenders and can demand fines on the spot.
- In the event of an accident, never admit liability or part with any documents. Co-operate with the police and contact the car hire firm as soon as possible.
- Always give way to traffic coming from the right.
- Petrol stations are normally open 24 hrs. The easiest way to buy petrol is to show the attendant how much you want to spend!
If you need assistance, the British Consulate is in Barcelona at 477 Avenida Diagonal, tel; (93) 419 00 44
The Spanish equivalent to V.A.T., in Spain there are currently three rates of I.V.A., 7%, and 16%. Please note that I.V.A. is not a service charge.
As a general rule please exercise the same care for your safety as you would at home. Keep an eye out for common hazards such as raised paving stones, manhole covers and the like.
Remember that children may be less careful than adults in new surroundings, please take extra care with children on stairs, on balconies and anywhere where there is likely to be water on the floor. Note that the food overseas can be very rich and contain unfamiliar ingredients, it is easy to over-indulge in both food and drink whilst on holiday but the effects can ruin a holiday.
Local telephone boxes accept Euro coins for international calls. If you want to make a call, lift the handset and insert coins Dial 00 and wait until you hear the high pitched tone. Then dial 44 and miss the zero off your area, e.g. for central London you would dial 00-44-171 then your local number.
TAXIS Fares are standard charges or run on a meter. Taxis can be called from your hotel or apartment reception.
If you require a Doctor, please contact your hotel/apartment reception or your holiday rep. Don't forget to retain all Doctor's and chemist receipts to make a insurance claim on your return home. The chemist are call "Farmacias" and are identified by a green cross. Outside normal shopping hours there is always a duty chemist available, called "Farmacia de turno", the address of which is displayed on the door or window of all the chemist that are closed.
FOOD & DRINK
If you want to eat out, the menu of the day, is available in most restaurants, is a reasonable way of eating out. Do try some of the "Tapas" served in most of the Spanish bars, a selection of small snacks which are a treat to your palate.
Salou is well connected with train and bus services, ask your hotel/apartment reception for details.
Even "safe" beaches may become dangerous in certain weather conditions. Be aware of depths, tides and currents by listening to local advice. Swim before, not after eating and do not mix alcohol with swimming. Do not swim alone or at night. Do not use inflatable boats or lilos on open water. Swim along the shore, not out to sea. Always watch out for any possible dangers (speed bikes & boats). If the beach has flags, ensure you are aware of their meaning and obey them.
Salou is no more risky than any other tourist town, but while on holiday, don't relax your
guard too much. Here are some things to take note of.
1: Hotel Security. When you arrive, keep an eye on your bags at reception. Thieves can
take advantage of the crowds to make off with an unguarded case. Use the hotel safe or
safety boxes to store passports, travellers cheques, jewelery, spare cash and credit
cards you don't need to carry here. Only carry the cash you need for each trip.
Leave the passport and travel tickets in the safe. Insure your stuff!
2: In Cafes and Bars. Keep handbags and wallets, cameras, phones in front of you or in a
pocket. Beware of beggars placing papers or cards over them. Never drape a coat or bag over
the back of the chair. Also be alert for pickpockets on trains and buses and especially
in crowded Barcelona.
3: On the street. Don't put a wallet in a back pocket. Don't keep valuables in a backpack
pocket (they slit the pocket from below). If you take out wallet or purse to pay for things
including the bus or road train (this is a favourite) watch out for snatchers.
Late at night, don't walk alone especially down dark narrow lanes. Take a taxi home from
4: Crossing the street. Don't expect any mercy from drivers. They are just as confused as
you since a flashing yellow light means "Stop, Pedestrians have been signalled to cross" or
"Watch out - pedestrians haven't been signalled to cross, but might anyway" or
"The electrical connection to this lamp is not very good". Do use the zebra crossings -
don't just run out and hope for the best. Obey the alarms and barriers at the railway
crossing. Several deaths a year - mostly elderly foreigners.
5: On The Beach. Take only what you really need to the beach. Don't abandon your bag or
cash when you go for a swim.
Ask someone near to watch it for you - they won't mind. In the water, don't swim or pedalo beyond
the yellow buoys - they mark the speedboat limits. Keep your sun exposure under control - choose
the correct sunblock 30 minimum on day 1! There are Red Cross centres on all the main beaches
if the kids get lost, or if you feel unwell.
6: Health: Ice is nowadays made with pure water so no risks anymore. Most sickness
is caused by over-indulgence on local cheap spirits. In very warm weather avoid mayonnaise
and eggs. If you suffer from dehydration or any other complaint see the pharmacy about
salt tablets. The one at the top of C/ Valls (round the corner from H. San Diego) is
excellent. Be extremely careful of sunburn. Use 50 factor for kiddies and top up all day.