Business Hours The following are general open hours; specific establishments may vary. Businesses and offices are open from Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm; Friday, 9am to 6pm; Saturday, 10am-1pm. Some banks may be closed on weekends, but many offer 24-hour access to ATMs. Shops' operating hours are likely to be daily from 10am to 6pm. Most bars and nightclubs close at 2am.
Electricity The U.S. uses 110 to 120 volts AC (60 cycles), compared to 220 to 240 volts AC (50 cycles) in most of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
Emergencies Call tel. 911 for emergencies, fire, ambulance, or police.
Internet Access Free Internet access is available at the Princeton Public Library, 65 Witherspoon St. (www.princeton.lib.nj.us). Panera Bread, 136 Nassau St. (tel. 609/683-5222) offers free Wi-Fi, as does Triumph Brewery next door. Many hotels offer Wi-Fi to guests for free or at a nominal charge. If you aren't bringing your laptop with you, know that many hotels offer business centers fully wired with internet access.
Liquor Laws The legal age to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages in the U.S. is 21; proof of age is required at bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, so bring ID when you go out. Beer, wine, and hard liquor can be purchased at liquor stores. Do not carry open containers of alcohol in your car of any public area that isn't zoned for alcohol consumption. Driving while intoxicated is considered a criminal offense.
Mail At press time, domestic postage rates were 27¢ for a postcard and 42¢ for a letter. For international mail, first-class postcards and letters weighing up to 1 ounce cost 94¢ (72¢ to Canada and Mexico). You can buy stamps and mailing supplies at any post office; to find locations in Princeton, call 800/275-8777 or go to www.usps.com.
Newspapers & Magazines The two local papers are the Princeton Packet (www.packetonline.com) and Town Topics (www.towntopics.com). Since this is the home of Princeton University, there are also three campus newspapers of note: the Nassau Weekly (www.nassauweekly.com), The Daily Princetonian (www.dailyprincetonian.com), and The Princeton Spectator (www.princetonspectator.com).
Pets To bring your pet to Princeton, you must have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) for your pet supplied by a state-licensed veterinarian. Most airlines allow pets on flights, but require pets to be at least eight weeks old. Some Princeton hotels, such as the Holiday Inn on Independence Way (tel. 609/520-1200), are pet-friendly.
Police For emergencies, dial tel. 911. This is a free call. The Princeton Borough Police Department can be reached at tel. 609/924-4141, while the Princeton Township Police Department can be reached at tel. 609/924-5042.
Safety The crime rate in Princeton is significantly below the national average, and it is a largely safe, upscale suburb. Of course, it's always wise to take the usual common-sense precautions: Avoid deserted areas, especially at night, and don't venture into public parks at night unless a concert or another event is attracting crowds. Keep money and valuables out of sight, always lock your hotel door, and don't carry too much cash on you.
Smoking Smoking is prohibited in public places and places of employment, including restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Exceptions include designated smoking rooms in hotels, retail tobacco stores, and private clubs.
Taxes Hotel rooms are subject to a 7% tax, and the local sales tax is also 7%, which is applicable to all purchases. In the U.S., there is no value-added tax (VAT) or other indirect tax at the national level.
To Make International Calls To dial international numbers, dial 011, then the country code, then the phone number. The telephone system in the U.S. is run by private corporations, so rates, especially for long-distance service and operator-assisted calls, can vary widely. Generally, hotel surcharges on long-distance and local calls are remarkably expensive, so you're usually better off using a public pay telephone or a cell phone if you have one with you. Many groceries and convenience stores sell prepaid calling cards; this can be the least expensive way to call overseas.
Time Zone New Jersey, like New York, is in the Eastern Time Zone, which puts it 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-5).
Tipping Gratuities are not usually included in rates. Here are guidelines to follow when tipping: In hotels, tip bellhops at least $1 per piece of luggage and the housekeeping staff $1 per person per day (more if you've left a mess). Tip the doorman or concierge if he or she has provided you with a service, such as calling a cab or obtaining hard-to-get tickets. Tip the parking attendant 15% of the parking rate. Cab drivers should get at least 15% of the fare. In restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, tip wait staff 15% to 20% of the check, bartenders 10% to 15%, and checkroom attendants $1 per garment. Skycaps at airports generally get at least $1 per bag, while hairdressers will expect 15% to 20%.
Water Water here, including tap water, is considered safe to drink.
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.