Cost of living

Lithuania flagThe cost of living in Lithuania is not very high for foreign students though it depends on their lifestyles. According to the calculations, the average monthly living expenses per student amount to 1,300 Litai (€380) including accommodation.

Lithuania is placed amongst the top 40 countries in the world for quality of life and among the top 10 cheapest European countries to live in, according to the Mercer Cost of Living Index 2012:

According to international comparisons, Lithuania is currently ranked 589 out of 780 places, where 1 is the most expensive and 780 is the least. The cost of groceries, accommodation, transportation and health care are lower than in most other countries. More expensive are items such as clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers and office supplies.

Money and Banking

The national currency of Lithuanian is the Litas (LTL; plural: Litai or Litu) which is divided into 100 centu (plural: centai). Notes are in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10 Litu. Coins are in denominations of 5, 2 and 1 Litai and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 centu and 1 centas. Since the 28th of June 2004, the litas has been a part of the European Union’s exchange-rate mechanism and is due to be replaced by the Euro in January 2014.

Major credit cards are accepted in the main hotels, shops restaurants and in certain petrol stations; and ATMs are available in all cities. The import or export of currency is not limited, although amounts valued over €10,000 must be declared, if you are coming from or going to a country outside the European Union. Currency can be bought or sold at banks and bureaux de change. Traveller’s cheques are not generally accepted and can only be exchanged at a very small number of places.

Banking hours are normally Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm and some banks also open on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm. Shopping malls are normally open Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 10pm.

There are eight commercial banks licensed by the Bank of Lithuania, twelve foreign banks and two agencies of foreign banks that operate in the country. There are also 225 banks from European Union member states that provide virtual banking services, without having physical branches in Lithuania. All banks have representatives who speak English and will accept account applications

Traveling Costs

The Lithuanian roads are considered some of the best in Eastern Europe. The country has a well-developed network of four-lane highways that link Vilnius, Klaipėda, Kaunas, Panevėžys and Palanga. The costs of public transportation are not very high and a bus ticket from Vilnius in the very East to Klaipėda in the west would be around €10. Bus tickets can be bought at the bus station, via a website, or from the bus driver when travelling between main cities. There are regular buses that travel between the main cities and fuel prices are on a par with Western European countries.

Some of cities are connected by railway: Vilnius-Kaunas, Vilnius-Šiauliai, Šiauliai-Panevėžys, Šiauliai-Klaipėda and Vilnius-Klaipėda. There are 3 passenger airports, but these only operate international flights and there are no internal flights in Lithuania. Fast travel is guaranteed by the small and well-developed road network.

International bus routes to western cities are available; however, their number has decreased due to the development of low-cost airlines. Buses are the preferred alternative for shorter distances such as Vilnius-Warsaw, Vilnius-Riga and Vilnius-Minsk.

The main modes of urban transportation are buses. In Vilnius and Kaunas, the public transportation system consists of buses and trolley-buses. Licensed private bus companies also operate in urban and suburban areas, where public transport services are limited or non-existant.

Bus and trolley bus tickets are cheaper if bought from a news kiosk (Lietuvos spauda). You can get two kinds of of public transport tickets: single-use paper tickets and electronic tickets (e-tickets). Paper tickets that are bought from the driver do not have to be validated using ticket punchers. E-tickets are pre-paid plastic cards, which have to be validated for each journey using machines that are installed on board each bus. Various discounts are available to holders of the Lithuanian student card or European ISIC. Taxis are reasonably priced and ordering a taxi over the phone from a known company is less expensive and generally safer than hailing one on the street.

According to some cost estimations, the average monthly cost of public transportation in Lithuania is 100 Litai (€29) for adults and 20 Litai (€6) for students.

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