MalariaThere is NOT much of a malaria risk in Tunisia, but pack your bug spray.
SunPlease remember that the sun is frequently your biggest enemy, we would recommend frequent application of a high factor 30 or better sun screen. It is usually cheaper in your local super market than at the holiday destination.
Be careful what and where you eat and drink remember the ice cubes too; diarrhoea is a common complaint from uncautious travellers. The tap water in the high-end Tunis-Carthage-Marsa area seems to be safe 2006.
Tunisia recently underwent a revolution and is currently in a contentious transitional period. While large-scale violence is not currently occurring, demonstrations do still happen from time to time, and are sometimes violent or/and broken up brutally. So consult your foreign office to check on current conditions before traveling to Tunisia, and do your best to steer clear of any large demonstrations that may occur while you are there.
It is apparently not considered rude for a man to stare at a woman's body which should indicate that modesty will attract less attention. Women can expect to be the target of frequent catcalls "Gazelle" seems to be especially popular. If you travel as part of a couple, stay together as much as possible as the female traveller should not wander around on her own if she doesn't want to be pestered. The pestering usually amounts to nothing more than bizarre words and the occasional touch but it can be extremely persistent and annoying.
Tunisian women often wear outfits that would normally be seen on the streets of any major world city tight jeans, slinky top, but they do so while showing traditional modesty by exposing virtually no skin. Arms are covered down to the wrists, collars go to the neck cleavage is non-existent and a head scarf may be worn. Western women visiting can minimize attention by selecting clothing that minimizes skin shown. V-necks are fine if another layer with a higher collar is worn underneath.
Travellers report problems being pestered either to buy something or for other purposes. Persistence is a major complaint. Some say that a refusal often results in a bad reaction, "being hissed at" is one example, but those who have been advised to refuse politely with a smile rarely complain. "Non, Merci" is a very good response, with a smile. This seems to be borne out by the reports of sole female travellers who you would expect to receive the most attention, but who often report the least problems from an admittedly small sample, perhaps because they are more cautious than accompanied females. It certainly seems to be the case that sole female sea bathers attract a good deal of unwelcome attention even molestation until a male friend arrives.
Theft of belongings, even from hotel rooms and room safes, is widely reported and the usual caveats apply - keep valuables in a secure place e.g. supervised hotel safe deposit, do not flash too much cash, and keep wallets, purses and other desirable items where pick pockets cannot reach them. A good recommendation is only to carry enough cash for your immediate requirements and only one credit or bank card, provided you can be assured of the security of your reserves. Besides, most of the Automatic Bank-notes distributors are available and foreign credit cards are accepted. You can take cash in equivalent Tunisian Dinar directly from your bank account with a small extra fee Bank transaction from â¬1 to â¬2 .
Theft is also reported in the Airport. Keep your belongings under your direct supervision all the time.
Be aware that the export of Tunisian currency is forbidden and searches of wallets and purses can, and do, occur at Tunis airport. If you are found with more than about 20 - 30 Dinars, you will be invited to return landside to change them. The problem is that this "invitation" will come after you have already been through passport control and handed in your exit card; therefore it is not practical. You will then be invited to hand some or all of your Tunisian money which in any case cannot be spent in the duty free shops to the uniformed official. Arguing will get you nowhere and a request for a receipt will be met with an outright refusal. Judging from the way the money is swiftly palmed, you will have almost certainly just paid a bribe.
When it's time to settle the bill in a Tunisian cafe or restaurant, it's advisable to ensure that you are presented with an actual paper, itemised copy of a bill before handing over any money. Frequently, your waiter will claim to have calculated your total amount due in their heads and this will always be more than you actually owe. Also, check prices on menus before ordering. Some establishments will claim to have no menus, they usually have wall mounted menus. Tunisian workers are extremely low paid Â£300 per month approx and will frequently try and take advantage of tourists without their wits around them.
Nationals of Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina,Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Denmark, Dominica, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Gibraltar, Gilbert Islands, Greece, Guinea, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kiribati, South Korea, Kuwait, Libya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Monaco, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Netherlands, Niger, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saint Helena, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vatican City do not require a visa to enter and stay for up to 3 months.
A landing visa on arrival is available for Australians.
For New Zealand, other African and Asian countries' nationals, a visa must be applied for at the embassy of coverage.
La Poste Tunisienne (http://www.poste.tnis) quite efficient and fast. Post restante is offered in certain bigger offices. A stamp for international letters costs DT 0,600.
Rapide Post is the Poste's service for sending mail and packages quickly. Once a Rapide Post package enters the US it is handled by FedEx. It is the best and most secure way to send things in Tunisia.
Arabic is the official language of Tunisia and one of the languages of commerce, the other being French — a relic of Tunisia's former status as a French protectorate until 1956. The dialect of Arabic spoken in Tunisia, similar to that in neighbouring Algeria and Morocco, is Maghrebi Arabic, which is nearly incomprehensible to speakers of the Gulf dialect, so don't be surprised if you don't understand locals even if you are competent in Arabic. However, all Tunisians learn standard Arabic in school, so most locals will be able to communicate in standard Arabic if needed. Almost all locals are bilingual in Arabic and French. French is the primary language of higher education, and is commonly used in administration, commerce, and the media. English is of limited use, but fine for use around tourist areas. Tunisians will often use what is known as code switching. This is when two or more languages are used within the same conversation, or even the same sentence. French and Arabic are used interchangeably.
Tunisia is a Muslim country, and dress code is important, particularly for females. Whilst a lot of skin even topless is tolerated on beaches and within hotel complexes, a modest amount of exposed skin may be frowned upon outside these areas.
Be aware that the further south one travels, the more conservative Tunisia becomes. While most women wear western clothes in the Capital which has a mix of Mediterranean, European and Arabic cultures, the south of Tunisia is practically devoid of any lingering European influence and is thus far more traditional.
Public internet access is available in many cities and towns, usually using the Publinet logo. Since home internet access is quite expensive in Tunisia, many locals will use these, so they are very widespread, especially in the non-touristic areas of cities. Look for a large purple sign with the Publinet logo. Access is usually 0.8DT/hour, and speeds tend to be quite low 512kbps is the norm in Sousse and 2048 in Tunis. Note that FTP and peer-to-peer access is not available anywhere in Tunisia, and access to certain web sites, particularly those that engage Tunisian political issues, is restricted by the government.
Public telephones are available in all towns and cities and in most villages under either the name of Publitel or Taxiphone - in cities simply look around - there is at least one on every street. International calls tend to be quite expensive DT 1,000/minute to call anywhere in the EU.There are two mobile GSM operators, private Tunisiana (http://www.tunisiana.com) and state-owned Tunisie Telecom (http://www.tunisietelecom.tn), both offering wide mobile coverage including some oasis in the Sahara. In May, 2010, a third operator, Orange started commercial service with GSM and 3G UMTS/HSPA networks. Coverage is not wide, but roaming with Tunisie Telecom available. Rates tend to be quite low for domestic calls, but very high for international calls around DT 1,500/minute. Ask for a carte prÃ©payÃ©e for a prepaid SIM card.
Always check with your doctor 4-8 weeks before traveling The 4-8 weeks is important, as some vaccinations take weeks to become effective, and with Polio you can be contagious for a while too: