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Memphis

Beale Street, Memphis

Practical Info about Memphis

Getting around the city

As most residents own a car, public transport is not very reliable and the most efficient way to cover the sprawling city is by car, although traffic congestion can make it slow, even more so during rush hours. The city is simple to navigate and parking is generally easy to find. To hire a car drivers must be 21 years old, but most agencies have higher rates for under-25s; some require an International Driving Permit as well as a valid driver's license. Public transport is available, but consists of slow and infrequent buses, as well as the more useful Main Street Trolley that covers downtown in a circular route. Taxis are also available and must be booked by phone.

Time

GMT -6 (GMT -5 from March to November).

Electricity

120 volts, 60Hz. Plugs are mainly the type with two flat pins, though three-pin plugs are also widely used. European appliances without dual-voltage capabilities will require an adapter.

Currency

The official currency is the US Dollar (USD), which is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards are widely accepted. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

Communication

The international country dialling code for the United States is +1. Mobile networks cover most of the country, including all urban areas, however unless you have a tri-band phone it is likely your cellular phone from home will not work in the United States. Internet cafes are prevalent in most towns and cities.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 911

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

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2014 2015
New Years Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Martin Luther King Day 20 Jan 19 Jan
Presidents Day 17 Feb 16 Feb
Memorial Day 26 May 25 May
Independence Day 4 Jul 4 Jul
Labour Day 1 Sep 7 Sep
Columbus Day 13 Oct 12 Oct
Veterans Day 11 Nov 11 Nov
Thanksgiving Day 27 Nov 26 Nov
Christmas Day 25 Dec 25 Dec

Climate

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Memphis has a mid-latitude, moist continental climate, which means it has four distinct seasons with cold winters and hot summers. Spring and autumn can be varied and unpredictable and severe weather, like thunderstorms and strong winds, are possible during these transitory seasons. Summers are very humid thanks to moisture encroaching from the Gulf of Mexico, even though the temperature rarely reaches great heights. This makes it feel hotter than it is. Winters, by contrast, can be very cold with temperatures below freezing occurring fairly often. Memphis averages 5.7 inches (14cm) of snow a year. There is plenty of rain to keep the region green, most falling in thunderstorms, but this does not mean there are not plenty of sunny days. Memphis has sun for 64 percent of its days, which it proudly claims adds up to more sunny days annually than are experienced in Miami.

Memphis International Airport

www.mscaa.com

Getting to the city

Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) public buses leave regularly for the city centre from a bus station near Terminal C, and there are also services to many out-of-town destinations. Taxis are available outside the terminal building. Car rental companies are represented at the airport; free telephones are available in the baggage claim areas to phone for a complimentary shuttle service to take passengers to the desired rental car company.

Car rental

Car rental companies represented at the airport are Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, Enterprise and Thrifty. A shuttle bus takes passengers to the car rental pick-up area from outside the baggage reclaim area; free telephones are available in the baggage claim areas to phone for a complimentary shuttle service to take passengers to the desired rental car company.

Airport taxi's

Taxis are available outside terminal B baggage claim area at the ground level. A taxi from the airport to the city centre will cost about US$23 and take approximately 20 minutes, depending on traffic. Passengers may negotiate the fare for destinations outside of the city limits.

Facilities

There are numerous restaurants, bars and cafes and a variety of shops, including an Elvis gift shop. The International Travel Insurance and Business Service Center, located by Ticket Lobby B, provides a variety of services to business travellers including foreign currency and travellers cheque exchange, travel insurance and fax and photocopy services. 24-hour ATMs are located in Ticket Lobby B next to the Aviation Historical Room and American Express has an Express Cash Machine for travellers cheques located in Concourse B. Disabled facilities at the airport are good; those with special needs should contact their airline in advance.

Parking

Parking at Memphis International Airport is free for the first 30 minutes. Short-term parking is $2 for the first hour, and $1 every 30 minutes thereafter up to $21 per day. Long-term parking has a similar pricing structure, with an $11 daily rate. Economy parking is $1 for the first 90 minutes, and $6 per day.

Internet

Wifi is available through Boingo for $6.95 per day.