In order to facilitate your stay in Szczecin, we would like to provide you with some helpful information.
Paying by card and withdrawing cash
You can pay by card almost everywhere in Szczecin – also small amounts.
However, when you pay with a foreign credit or debit card or use it to withdraw cash from an ATM (in Polish: “bankomat”), we encourage you to decline any offer to convert the amount you want to pay or withdraw into the currency of your bank account and to insist on paying in Polish Złoty (PLN).
The service behind the conversion offer is called “Dynamic Currency Conversion” (DCC) and you can encounter it all over the world. The problem is that the conversion rate you are offered is often significantly worse (up to 10 %) than the interbank rate and thus you can lose quite a lot of money by accepting DCC instead of paying in PLN and letting your bank do the conversion, even if you consider the foreign currency transaction fee of up to 2 %.
If you have to choose yourself on the credit card terminal in which currency to pay, you often have to push the red button on the left once or even twice in order to refuse using DCC and pay in PLN.
Caution: If you want to refuse DCC, make sure before entering your PIN that only the PLN amount appears on the final screen.
Remark: If you have a card that supports contactless payments (PayPass/payWave), you can avoid DCC entirely by paying an amount of less than 50 PLN contactless. (Since for contactless transactions of less than 50 PLN, no PIN is required and the payment is immediately accepted, one cannot be asked for DCC and thus it cannot be offered.)
At cash machines, in order to avoid DCC and be billed in PLN, you often have to refuse twice and confirm that you want to take the “risk” of an “unconfirmed” conversion rate by pressing a button on the left side of the screen.
In a few restaurants, you might still encounter the traditional Polish signs to indicate toilets:
◯ = ladies ▽ = gentlemen
Using public transport
Szczecin has a dense network of trams and buses and it is convenient to use, especially if you stay in the Willa West-Ende or the University hotel.
In order to go from these hotels to the conference site, you just need a 15-minute ticket for 2 PLN.
You can buy tickets at one of the ubiquitous kiosks around the city, at ticket machines inside most of the trams (enter the front coach, payment by card or coins) and busses or at ticket machines on the main interchange tram stops. If the ticket machine inside a tram does not work, you can also buy a ticket from the conductor using coins.
Use the phrase: “Poproszę bilet za dwa złote.” [paw-praw-sheh bee-lett zah dvah zwaw-teh]
You need to validate tickets you bought at a kiosk or at a ticket machine outside of a vehicle by stamping them once in one of validation machines inside a tram or bus. Tickets bought inside a tram or bus are already validated.
Bus and tram stops that are marked with “nż” (= “na żądanie”) are stops on request. You need to press one of the stop buttons inside a bus (or tram) to exit there and when you wait for a bus at an “nż” stop, you need to wave your arm in order to make the bus stop.
Caution: For night busses, which use a number like 5xx , all stops are on request!
Remark: Do not use busses marked with a letter (A to E). These are express busses and cost twice as much.