TRAVEL

Travel to the conference is the responsibility of the artist. Below are our suggestions and tips for travel.

7th ICCCIA Travel Handbook – Download PDF

Here is some useful information if you are traveling to Latvia for the conference. Latvia will be the EU Capital of Culture in 2014. The conference will be taking place during Jani (Midsummer’s) one of the biggest national holidays in Latvia. Be ready to be immersed in Latvian culture!

There are Tourist Information Centres in almost all cities or towns in Latvia. For more information visit: http://www.latvia.travel/en/article/tourist-information-centres For a brief history of Latvia leading up to current events:http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5378.htm

Passport
To travel internationally you will need a current Passport. If you already have a passport, verify that it will be valid for at least six (6) months beyond your anticipated return to the United States. In addition, make sure that the legal name on your passport is the legal name you currently use. If you are unsure whether your passport is current, or need to obtain a passport please follow these links:

First time applicant: http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/first/first_830.html
Passport renewal: http://travel.state.gov/passport/renew/renew_833.html Please keep in mind that getting or renewing a passport can take time, sometimes up to 6 weeks, so plan accordingly!

Money
When budgeting for your trip keep in mind the exchange rate between the Euro and the American Dollar.

Debit/ credit cards and cash are the easiest when traveling. If you plan to use a debit or credit card, make sure to let your bank know the dates and location of your trip or they may not let you make international charges. You do not need a Chip as you do in the UK, but you will need to know your PIN. If you are concerned about keeping your money safe while traveling, these sites provide some practical solutions:
http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-how-to-get-and-carry-cash-safely-and-securely
http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/money-and-insurance/money-safety-tips-for-travelers
http://studenttravel.about.com/od/mattersofmoney/qt/money_hide_ways.htm

Safety
Though violent crimes are rare, there have been reported cases of pickpocketing/mugging in Riga’s tourist destinations (Old Town, Central Train Station, Central Bus Station, Central Market). For a general overview of the state of things in Latvia today check out the U.S. Department of State website: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5378.htm
We recommend you carry travel insurance. Often travel insurance can be procured through your sponsoring school or organization.

Traveling
The first stop for travelers coming into Latvia is the country’s capital, the 800 year old city of Riga. There are several ways to get to Riga (and from there to the Open-Air Art Museum in Pedvale 1.5 hours away). There will be group buses from Riga to Pedvale on June 19 and from Pedvale returning to Riga on June 24/ 25. See travel suggestions below:

Group Buses
Riga to Pedvale 6/19, leaves Old City Center at 10am, stops at RIX, at Pedvale by 12pm
Pedvale to Riga 6/24, leaves Pedvale at 1pm, stops at RIX, at Old City Center by 3pm
Pedvale to Riga 6/25, leaves Pedvale at 10am, stops at RIX, at Old City Center by 12pm

Travel Via Riga
Air to Riga
Bus/taxi/car rental to central Riga from airport
Bus/car rental from Riga to Pedvale 

If you plan to fly into Riga, you will arrive at Riga International Airport, the only international airport in Latvia. The only city in North America to offer a direct flight to Riga is New York, NY. Optionally, you may choose to fly from another country; other cities that offer direct flights to Riga include many major European and Russian cities. The airport website is a great resource: http://www.riga-airport.com/

Latvia has its own inexpensive national airline: Air Baltic (https://tickets.airbaltic.com/app/fb.fly?p=BTI&pos=LV&l=en). The current cost of a flight from New York to Riga starts around $850 through international providers. Prices fluctuate up to $2500 dependant on whether you need to travel in style and the number of stops. The best website I’ve found to compare prices is http://www.cheapflights.com/. It allows you to search by country, region, city, dates, and/or airline. Remember to buy early in order to save! Some websites like http://www.expedia.com/ and http://www.travelocity.com/ may offer some useful flight and hotel package deals. If you are flying from another European city Ryan Air (http://www.ryanair.com/en) and Wizz Air (http://wizzair.com/en-GB/Search) may provide cheaper alternatives. Keep in mind that prices listed on these sites are in the Euro or British pound.

When you land in Riga you will need to travel to the city center, since Riga International Airport is located approximately 13 kilometers from the city of Riga. There is no rail connection from the city; however there is a bus service from outside the terminal building. Bus options are listed on the airport website: http://www.riga-airport.com/en/main/passengers/useful-information/getting-to-the-airport/public-transport. Journey time is approximately 30 minutes and costs .70 LVL to 1.90 LVL. There are also taxis available outside the terminal building. The journey by taxi is approximately 15-20 minutes and costs approximately 8 LVL to 10 LVL. Red taxis operate from the airport to the city center. The green Baltic Taxi operates from the airport to the city center for a flat fee of 10 LVL. Green taxis are recommended, since other taxis may charge more.
There are several discount promotions offered by business partners at the Riga International Airport (even some for car rentals): http://www.riga-airport.com/en/main/rix-club/partners-proposals

Travel Via Helsinki, Finland
Air to Helsinki, Finland
Ferry to Talinn, Estonia
Bus to Riga
Bus/car rental from Riga to Pedvale

Most major U.S. cities offer flights to Helsinki. http://www.cheapflights.com/ is still a great way to compare prices. Roundtrip starts at just over $600. To learn more about how to get around once you’ve landed: http://www.helsinki-vantaa.fi/home

You can get to Riga Central Train Station from many cities in Latvia as well as a few cities in Russia, Belarus, and Estonia. Five train lines connect Riga to suburbs and nearby towns (Saulkrasti, Sigulda, Salaspils, Jelgava, and Jurmala directions). Riga has daily train service to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Minsk. The train ride from Moscow to Riga lasts 17 hours, St. Petersburg to Riga lasts 13 hours.  Prices vary dependant upon the departure city. The Riga Central Train Station website is in Latvian: http://www.ldz.lv/. It can be translated using: http://translate.google.com.

Travel by Train
You can get to Riga Central Train Station from many cities in Latvia as well as a few cities in Russia, Belarus, and Estonia. Five train lines connect Riga to suburbs and nearby towns (Saulkrasti, Sigulda, Salaspils, Jelgava, and Jurmala directions). Riga has daily train service to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Minsk. The train ride from Moscow to Riga lasts 17 hours, St. Petersburg to Riga lasts 13 hours.  Prices vary dependant upon the departure city. The Riga Central Train Station website is in Latvian: http://www.ldz.lv/. It can be translated using: http://translate.google.com.

Travel by Boat
Tallink Silja Line http://www.tallinksilja.com/en/schedules/stoRig/ provides a daily ferry between Stockholm, Sweden and Riga, Latvia. Prices range from 29  to 257 Euros. There is a 15%  ‘early bookers’ discount if you book and pay 28 days in advance. There is also a 10% group discount. Prices and promotions are found here:  http://www.tallinksilja.com/en/productsAndPrices/routeTrips/sto-rig/default.htm

Travel by Bus
Latvia has extensive bus routes between most major European and Russian cities. The two major international carriers are Ecolines (http://ecolines.net/en/?l=2) and Lux Express (http://www.luxexpress.eu/en). If you are traveling from outside the European Union, buses will be stopped by Latvian officials who will check passports. Most buses will stop both in Riga’s city center and at Riga International Airport.

If you are using the bus the to get to or from the airport, the Riga International Airport provides a complete overview of your options: http://www.riga-airport.com/en/main/passengers/useful-information/getting-to-the-airport/international-bus

Sabile-Riga Bus Schedualhttp://www.1188.lv/transport/bus/schedule?from=Sabile&from-id=5495700&fc=1&to=R%C4%ABgas+SAO&to-id=5495843&tc=1&ttype=bus

Travel by Car
If you have a driver’s license issued by another country of the European Union, you can use it in Latvia.

From the U.S. Department of State: Foreign visitors to Latvia planning to operate a motor vehicle are required to obtain an International Driving Permit. You may get these through the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance for a small fee. Your U.S. state driver’s license is not sufficient for driving in Latvia. These requirements apply if you are using rental cars as well, whether or not the rental company chooses to enforce the requirement as a condition of rental. If you drive without an International Driving Permit, you may have your vehicle confiscated by the police.

Other driving notes from the Department of State: Latvia’s rate of automobile accidents and fatalities is one of the highest in Europe. You should be alert for pedestrians and slow-moving vehicles in traffic. Additionally, violation of traffic rules is common, and it is not unusual to be passed by other automobiles traveling at high speeds, even in crowed urban areas. Drivers do not always yield to pedestrians, even at marked intersections. You must use headlights at all times,
The average price of gas in Latvia is currently .95 LVL. Gas stations are found in most larger towns and many operate 24/7.

The Riga International Airport has the most car rental options. They offer services by Auto5, Avis, Budget, Europcar, and Sixt. Prices for weeklong car rental start at 18 Euros a day (Europcar):
http://www.rigaairport.com/en/main/passengers/services/cafes-bars/car-rental
Discounts for Hertz and Europcar are listed here:
http://www.riga-airport.com/en/main/rix-club/partners-proposals
A great resource for car travel in Latvia is provided by the Official Latvian Tourism Portal: http://www.latvia.travel/en/article/car

Equipment and Electricity
We do not recommend bringing your own power tools. If you bring an electric drill with a battery charger, make sure the charger is rated for 220 volts. Computers, phones and other electronic devices can be powered with the proper adapter as long as they are rated to 220.
http://www.adaptelec.com/index.php?main_page=document_general_info&products_id=160

Useful Links
Ten Rules of Travel – Our Helpful Travel Handbook
Translator
http://wikitravel.org/en/Latvia
Riga Ferry Schedule
Riga Bus: Bus Number 22 & Taxis connect to city center
Phone: Pay as you Go Sim Card
Bite: Latvian Phone Provider

Volunteer Opportunities
Please check with Stacey Rathert about Volunteer Opportunities

Stacey Rathert - Student/ University
Sculpture Student, University of Mississippislrather@go.olemiss.edu

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