Poland's country code is 48. To dial Poland from abroad, dial the international access code (011 in the U.S.), plus 48 and the local Poland area code. The area code for Warsaw, for example, is 22, so a call from the U.S. to Warsaw would begin 011-48-22, plus the local number. To call long distance within Poland, dial the city's area code, plus the number. To dial a number in Warsaw from another city in Poland, for example, you would dial 22, plus the local number. To dial abroad from within Poland, dial 00 and then the country code and area code to where you are calling. The country code for the U.S. and Canada is 1, meaning that a call to the U.S. from Poland would begin 00-1, plus the area code and local number.
Telegraph, Telex & Fax
You'll find Western Union outlets throughout Poland for wiring money or to have it wired to you quickly, but this service can cost as much as 15% to 20% of the amount sent.
Most hotels have fax machines available for guest use (be sure to ask about the charge to use it).
Polish cellphones operate on a GSM band of 900/1800MHz. This is the same standard in use throughout Europe but different from the one used in the United States. U.S. mobiles will work here, provided they are tri-band phones (not all phones are tri-band) and that you've contacted your service provider to allow for international roaming. Keep calls to a minimum, however, since roaming charges can be steep.
U.K. mobiles should work without any problem, provided that you've contacted your service provider to activate international roaming (the same precautions about steep prices apply to U.K. mobiles).
One way of avoiding international roaming charges is to purchase a pay-as-you-go SIM card for your cellphone and a pre-paid calling card. This provides you with a local number and allows you to make calls and send text messages at local rates. All the major local telephone operators offer this service.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
If you have Web access while traveling, consider a broadband-based telephone service (in technical terms, Voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP) such as Skype (www.skype.com) or Vonage (www.vonage.com), which allows you to make free international calls from your laptop or in a cybercafe. Neither service requires the people you're calling to also have that service (though there are fees if they do not). Check the websites for details.
Internet cafes are ubiquitous throughout Warsaw, Kraków, and other large cities. Internet cafes generally charge around 6 z per hour of Internet use. Many hotels now set aside at least one public computer for guests to use. Nearly all hotels these days offer some type of in-room Internet access, either via LAN connection or wireless, and a growing number of cafes offer wireless Internet, though connections can be spotty.
With Your Own Computer or Smartphone -- Nearly every hotel from a two-star property on up will offer some kind of in-room Internet access. Most often these days, this will be wireless, though occasionally it will be a LAN (dataport) connection. If the hotel offers LAN connections, they usually also loan out Ethernet cables for guests to use during their stay. Check with the reception desk. If having a good in-room Internet connection is important to you, make this clear when you register for your room. Wi-Fi signal strength drops off considerably the farther your room is from the router. Though the hotel may generally offer Wi-Fi, some rooms may not be close enough to make this practical.
Also, be sure to ask before you check in whether the Internet is working that day. The hotel may advertise in-room Internet access knowing full well the Internet is on the blink and is not likely to be fixed anytime soon.
Even if your hotel doesn't offer in-room Internet, there are usually lots of options for logging on with your own laptop. A surprising number of cafes, restaurants, and bars now offer free Wi-Fi to customers with a purchase. You may have to finagle a bit with the password (particularly if it uses Polish letters), but you'll normally be able to get it to work. Look for Costa Coffee outlets (www.costacoffee.com), which -- in addition to having excellent coffee -- also usually offer reliable, free Wi-Fi connections.
To locate Wi-Fi hotspots in Poland (and around the world), go to www.jiwire.com; its Hotspot Finder holds the world's largest directory of public wireless hotspots.
Without Your Own Computer or Smartphone -- Many hotels will have a public computer or a business center for guests to use. If your hotel doesn't and you just want to check e-mail, it's sometimes worth asking at the reception desk whether you can use the hotel's computer for a few minutes. The answer is likely to be yes if it's a small place and the reception desk is not busy at the time.
Your hotel receptionist will certainly know the location of the nearest Internet cafe. The number of Internet cafes has stagnated in recent years as more and more people have gotten their own home computers, but most towns and cities will have at least a couple of cyber hangouts, usually stuffed to the gills with teens playing video games. Internet cafes have reasonable rates and charge around 6 z per hour.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.