Hungary became a Christian Kingdom around 1000 A.D. and for many centuries acted as a bulwark against Ottoman Turkish expansion into Europe.
The country eventually evolved to become part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which fell apart during World War One. And then fell under Communist rule after World War II.
During the leadership of Janos Kadar in 1968, Hungary began to liberalize its economy. Hungary had its first multiparty elections in 1990 and started a free market economy. It joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.
It has plans to adopt the euro by 2010.
The country is landlocked and has borders with Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Austria and Slovenia. Almost three quarters of the country is a low plain which is surrounded by the Carpathians, the Alps and the Dinara mountains. It has only one major city, Budapest, which attracts an estimated 60 per cent of all foreign investment.
Formerly a planned economy, the private sector (which has attracted substantial foreign investment) now accounts for over 80 per cent of national output. Hungary's inflation and unemployment have both been brought under control and with the economy expected to benefit from EU membership continued economic growth is forecast.
Most property is now in private hands, a trend encourage by mortgage subsidies. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor's 2005 European Housing Review a 'significant housing boom' between 2000 and 2003 was followed by a decline in housing market activity last year as mortgage subsidies ended and interest rates rose. House prices remain comparatively cheap by European standards.
Taxation of property interests, especially those purchased via a company, is relatively favourable in Hungary while letting laws are said to favour landlords. In the case of apartments, an important part of the market in Budapest, tenants are expected to contribute to maintaining common areas and to renovations.
Hungary has a land registration system. Buyers of registered property are assured titled subject to registered encumbrances and legal restrictions. However, the registration system came under strain following liberalisation of the economy, especially after 1990. This led to a backlog in registrations which quickly escalated to mammoth proportions and even more substantial delays.
Things have improved more recently but registration can still take considerably longer than the 30 days allowed - although 'marginal notes' are used to note pending registrations.
Obtaining a clean title to property is one of the acknowledged dangers of buying property in Hungary and at least one law firm advises clients to 'signing nothing' until everything has been checked.
Import of currency in amounts sufficient to fund purchase of a house or apartment has to be declared and restrictions currently apply to export of currency.
Hungary became a Christian kingdom in A.D. 1000 and for many centuries served as a bulwark against Ottoman Turkish expansion in Europe. The kingdom eventually became part of the polyglot Austro-Hungarian Empire, which collapsed during World War I.
The country fell under Communist rule following World War II. In 1956, a revolt and an announced withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact were met with a massive military intervention by Moscow. Under the leadership of Janos KADAR in 1968, Hungary began liberalizing its economy, introducing so-called "Goulash Communism."
Hungary held its first multiparty elections in 1990 and initiated a free market economy. It joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.
Several factors contribute to the extravagance of the yearly vacation, including room and board, meals, and travel time. Many hotels offer simple accommodations, while others include a few perks to make the trip worthwhile. A bed and breakfast, or B&B, is a different story altogether; they are locally owned and operated businesses that truly help customize your vacation.
Bed and Breakfast Basics
A B&B is often a private home consisting of fewer than 10 bedrooms. Most offer private bathrooms as well, but some simply have a shared bathroom, depending on size and occupancy potential. The host provides one meal, usually breakfast, hence the name bed and breakfast.
Meals are usually cooked by the owner of the facility and served at a specific time. Many hosts offer guests meals with family meals to help acclimate guests to the local cuisine and dining etiquette.
All guests are invited to partake in meals offered by the B&B. You may find very interesting conversation from all parts of the world at the breakfast table.
Rarely, and sometimes by request, meals may be served to the room. Guests may request breakfast in their room, depending on the owner of the B&B and their requirements for guests' meals.
Bedrooms in a B&B are often small, cozy and quaint. The purpose of a B&B is to make your vacation more authentic and less commercial.
Bed and Breakfast or Hotel?
A hotel is often the accommodation of choice for people making vacation reservations. This is due in part to limited marketing of B&B's compared to mass marketing of hotel chains. The simplicity of the Bed and Breakfast is often overlooked by people planning an ordinary vacation.
A bed and breakfast offers a very unique accommodation possibility for people planning an extraordinary vacation experience. Honeymooners, and people traveling on a special occasion, often prefer a quieter, less commercialized place to rest. A B&B offers that distinct difference between your ordinary hotel room and a quiet, homey atmosphere.
Quaint Doesn't Mean Technologically Inferior
The largest hotel chains offer Wi-Fi to people who enjoy surfing the net or require an internet connection to work away from home. Most B&B's also offer internet access ranging from Wi-Fi to cable internet connections. The internet connection is often stronger and more reliable due to the fact that the establishment is smaller with fewer concrete walls to penetrate.
Explore a whole new world by booking a stay with a B&B instead of a hotel the next time you plan a family vacation or just a weekend away. Bed and breakfasts are locally owned and operated. The owners are often life-long residents of the town and familiar with every aspect of the history and growth of their surroundings.
Planning a trip to study historical truths about an area or explore historic areas should always include a stay at a B&B. You may be surprised at the amount of local knowledge and history you can learn during a simple conversation. Ask about tours and local history presentations as well as randomly visiting small businesses in the area for information.
You can eliminate the hassles of traveling by commercial airlines by choosing to travel in comfort via a charter jet. While many people think of taking a charter flight as a luxury, few realize there are additional benefits to flying with this alternative to a regular airline. This article provides a look at some industry secrets and tips that will help you experience the full benefit of chartering a flight for your next trip.
Many times, the passengers make the mistake of packing too lightly. While is it difficult to maneuver multiple large and heavy suitcases through airports and hotels and on and off planes, you can usually pack more than you think you can, even with space and weight restrictions. Packing light may make travel easier, but it usually means you may leave important items out of your suitcase.
When it comes to packing, it is best to contact your charter flight company for a recommendation. Then it's time to make a plan. Write out a list of what you'll need a few days before your trip. Review it the next day, removing items and adding new items you think of. When it's time for your trip, you'll have the perfect list to pack by. After packing, review your list one more time before heading off to your charter jet.
Many people don't realize that a charter flight is full of perks. It's more than just a seat on a small aircraft. There are usually a number of comforts and additional services included that will work to make your trip even more enjoyable. When booking your trip, ask about perks like food, drinks, pillows, blankets, and entertainment, especially for long flights. With commercial airlines cutting their additional services, many who use this transportation method don't usually even think to ask.
In addition to inquiring about perks, ask if you can request specific perks like a vegetarian meal, a certain movie, or even requesting a cotton blanket instead of a fleece blanket. In addition to comfort, the additional services dramatically set a charter jet apart from a commercial jet any day.
Things To Do
Most of the time, people are so excited about the actual destination that they forget to think about passing the time while on board their charter flight. While entertainment is a perk of flying a charter jet, you may want to bring your own things to do. This can include reading a book, drawing, listening to your .mp3 player, bringing your laptop to work on writing your own novel, or anything else you like to do.
Since service and comfort are what set a charter flight provider apart from their commercial counterparts, they will do everything in their power to satisfy your needs. However, keep in mind that they do have FAA rules, restrictions, and guidelines to follow, especially in regards to space restrictions, technical issues, and the weather.
It doesn't matter whether you're a grandma in a small town or a real estate mogul from Chicago, charter jet companies can offer you a relaxing and comfortable flight. Just make sure you take advantage of all the benefits provided.
Although luggage bags at airlines go missing quite often, only a small percentage of all checked baggage is permanently lost. Most bags will be found within a few hours and if it takes longer, the airline will deliver it to you by courier. However, in the event that you become separated from your bag, there are steps you can take to locate it.
If your baggage turns up missing while you are flying to your destination, the following steps will help when making a claim:
Lost Baggage: If your baggage is lost while in transit, you should report the loss to the airline carrier. If your bag does not show up on the baggage carousel, immediately go the airline's baggage office or window. Give the window clerk your baggage stubs. Retain your receipts for all replacement of items purchased together with the baggage check tags and remaining portions of your flight tickets.
Baggage Delay: In the event that your baggage is delayed in transit while on your journey, report the delay immediately to the airline and obtain a property irregularity report (PIR.) You will also need to supply evidence of the length of the baggage delay.
What must an airline do?
All airlines are liable for compensation if baggage is delayed or damaged due to their own negligence but this liability doesn't include fragile articles, liquids, or perishable items.
The clerk at the baggage claim window will track your bag using your luggage stubs. If there are no results, the clerk will send baggage workers to try to locate your luggage. It is important that you can describe your baggage.
If the airline still cannot locate your baggage, you will have to fill out a baggage claim form where you will have to list the contents of the baggage and a description of the bags. You must provide contact information and an address, so if they do find it, they can deliver it to you. Make sure you keep a copy of the claim form.
A little extra care can keep your bags safe while you travel
- The airlines have upgraded baggage tracking technology so reuniting you with your misplaced bags is much quicker and easier. As a passenger, you can take certain precautions that can help the airlines return items you leave on a plane or get your bags back to you quickly. As you pack, follow these tips:
- If you must travel with expensive items, you can buy excess valuation coverage on the spot at the ticket counter or check with your insurance company before you start your trip.
- Keep prescriptions, travel documents (especially UPC stubs for your checked bags), cash, and jewelry with you as you travel. Buy a bag or money belt to hide your valuables.
- Buy a suitcase with a slide-in window for additional identification (since attached bag tags can be easily torn off) and ensure the address information on your bag tag is up-to-date.
- Tie a colored ribbon on your bag. Consider putting additional identification inside your bag along with a copy of your itinerary to help the airlines know if they should send your bags to your travel destination or your home.
- Put your name and address on every bag. Due to stricter bag limits, carry-on suitcases and bags you've managed to get on board in the past may now need to be checked.
If the airline cannot find your baggage, contents compensation varies by airline so ask the airline what they will reimburse or replace. Unfortunately, lost baggage does happen. By taking the appropriate precautions and knowing what to do in the event of lost luggage, you will be prepared to deal with the situation.
In many foreign countries it is frowned upon to walk around exposing all kinds of skin like we do in the states. For example just because Costa Rica has a tropical and temperate climate does not mean you should walk around towns in your bikini, likewise even though they have been blessed by Mother Nature with abundant tropical jungles and fertile rainforests doesn't imply that men should dress like Tarzan, even if they have the body for it.
This is not to say that when you are in Costa Rica that you have to wrap yourself up. Even if clothing as a whole is determined by a society's cultural scene, its climate, and the manner its citizens live, Costa Rican clothing doesn't differ a great deal from any other Central or South American countries. All the same, in Costa Rica clothing has two main types. First you have the traditional Costa Rican clothing that is worn to symbolize the country's culture. This is also regarded as their national costume and can be seen being donned by locals for folkloric presentations. The Costa Rican men however, are still seen wearing these traditional styles when working in the fields. The women typically never wear these costumes outside of the folkloric presentations. Their traditional dresses are defined by a long tiered skirt, full of colors and embellished with ribbons. The blouses are sleeveless but have wide ruffles at the neck that fall past the shoulders. Their hair is usually held back in a bun and a flower, generally Guaria Morada (the national flower), is inserted behind one ear.
Another type of clothing that is commonly worn in Costa Rica is contemporary clothing. This means the daily apparel that the Costa Ricans wear. Although the sun shines practically everyday of the year, shorts are typically not satisfactory outside of the beach resorts. If you're visiting you probably don't care, but Ticos which is what Costa Rican locals call themselves, leave their shorts for beach wear.
Ticos tend to dress very conservatively. So the most common thing you'd see them wearing around town are long pants and shirts. Mostof the citizenry wear long sleeves or jackets over their shirts as weather occasionally become unpredictable bringing short rains in some afternoons. Men may sometimes be seen in knee-length shorts though, but again,shorter running shorts and surf shorts are saved for the beach. Dresses are worn on special occasions and are done so by the elderly people. Costa Rican clothing is also inexpensive, particularly the underwear and while the malls and shopping centers offer good deals, you will find the best bargains in downtown San Jose.
A member of the European Union since 2007, Romania is a country of almost 92,000 square miles - roughly the same as the UK - but with a population of only 22m people.
This one time communist state has borders with Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, the Republic of Moldova and the Ukraine. To the east it has a Black Sea coastline of about 120 miles. The Carpathian Mountains are in the north east and the Transylvanian Alps are in the centre. The Danube marks the southern border.
Bucharest, the capital, is in the south and home to 2m Romanians. Other major cities include Arad, Oradea and Timisoara to the far west, the Black Sea town of Constanta (the country's largest port) to the east, and the centrally situated Brasov and Sibiu.
Principal tourist destinations are Bucharest, Black Sea resorts such as Mamaia, Eforie, Neptun, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and Mangalia, and mountain resorts such as the Prahova Valley close to Brasov.
There are also many spas (offering mud baths and various cures and reinvigorating treatments) and national parks, and ancient towns such as Tirgoviste, the 15th century capital ruled over by Vlad the Impaler - immortalised in literature as Count Dracula.
Ski resorts include Poiana Brasov, the most developed although still small by western European standards, Busteni and Predeal.
The main international airport is Bucharest-Otopeni (opened in 1970), located just over 10 miles from central Bucharest. Constanta - Mihail Kogalniceanu, Timisoara, Arad, Sibiu, Suceava also have international airports.
Romania generally has warm summers but cold winters when the average temperature is minus 3 degrees C. The mean annual temperature is 11 degrees C in the south and 8 degrees C in the north.
Annual rainfall is highest in the mountains but otherwise rises from east to west.
Reforms since the 1989 fall of the Ceausescu regime and more recently entry into the EU, Romania has experienced economic major development and advances in its infrastructure including new motorways. Arrival of international banks has made finance, including mortgages for house purchase, more readily available.
The Foreign Office says most visits to Romania are trouble free although like most places there is an underlying threat from terrorism. The main types of incident for which British nationals required consular assistance in Romania in 2007 involved petty crime, especially replacing lost or stolen passports. 'Beware of young pickpockets in city centres especially in crowded areas', it warns.
Visitors are advised 'to maintain at least the same level of personal security awareness as in the UK'.
Health risks include rabies - there have been outbreaks in rural areas - and Hepatitis. There have also been outbreaks of Avian Influenza in the Danube Delta, Transylvania and Bucharest although the Romanian authorities have taken measures to contain the outbreaks and the risk to humans is believed to be very low - no human infections or deaths have been reported.
Other possible hazards include earthquakes, which are not uncommon in southern and south western Romania, with small tremors recorded throughout the year. The last major earthquake was in late November 2005 although there were no casualties or significant damage.
Property prices, especially in Bucharest, have been rising fast with annual increases of 30 per cent to 40 per cent not uncommon. Demand, both local and from overseas investors, has outstripped supply of modern dwellings. With a strong economy, supply is likely to be behind supply for some time to come.
Romania has a land registry and the buying process follows the continental model, with the formal paperwork - including a purchase contract and final contract and registration - overseen by an official notary.
Until the EU entry non-Romanian citizens were not allowed to own land. However that changed with EU membership. Now EU citizens can acquire land in Romania, subject to a five year deferral in the case of residential property and seven years in that of agricultural land, forests and forestry. When the deferral period expires the ownership of the land will pass to the buyer.
None of this affects the ability of the foreign buyers to rent their properties or to sell them before the deferral period expires.