Standard Arabic is the official language of Libya, although many young people in Tripoli, large cities or the tourist industry speak English. Outside the main urban areas, English is rare.
The official currency is the Libyan dinar, with no other notes accepted. Money exchange is straightforward, with banks and black-market outlets giving around the same rates. Preferred currencies for exchange are the British pound, US dollars and euros, with large denominations most acceptable. Cash is king here, with travelers’ checks not recognized and payment by credit card only possible in major hotels, upscale restaurants and the like. In rural areas, cash is the only option. ATMs are found in Tripoli, but may not always be working.
Libya is on the West Africa Time Zone, one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +1).
Libya’s electricity comes at 127 V/50 Hz, although several cities including Benghazi use 240 V. Sockets vary, as does the supply, even in Tripoli, and all visitors should take a converter. Travelers from North America will be able to use non-dual voltage electronic appliances, but those from the UK will need a voltage transformer.
The dialing code for Libya is +218, followed by an area code and the phone number. Al Madar and Libyana offer GSM cell phone networks, but coverage in the country was seriously affected during the civil war, and not yet fully restored. Visitors whose mobile devices are on other networks will need to have them unlocked in order to use a prepaid SIM card.
All alcohol is banned, with stiff fines imposed on travelers attempting to bring in wine or spirits and bags x-rayed upon arrival. Otherwise, there are no restrictions. Travelers returning to their home countries will not be able to purchase alcohol in airport duty-free stores, with those heading to the US allowed 200 cigarettes and gifts valued at US $400.
At present, there is no official travel office in Tripoli, although a Ministry of Tourism was recently set up.
Embassies and Consulates in Libya
US Embassy, Tripoli: +218-21-335-1846
Australian Consulate, Tripoli: +218-21-335-1468
Canadian Embassy, Tripoli: +218-21-335-1633
British Embassy, Tripoli: +218-21-335-1084
Emergency services: 1515