Though the Channel Islands are closer to the French coast than England, English is the main language of the islands. You may, however, hear the local Guernésiais tongue among locals, a Norman-French language, which is actually the official Guernsey language. Hotel staff can often speak both French and German.
Guernsey, and the other Channel Islands, use the pound (GBP, £), albeit via its own notes. You can, however, use standard UK sterling here, but cannot use the islands’ money within the UK. Some ATMs tender both notes and will give you the choice, labeled as ‘sterling’ or ‘local’, though these are few and far between today. Banks are typically open 9:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. (Monday to Friday). Bureaux de change maintains longer hours, and hotels can also change money. Travelers checks can be changed just about anywhere (but stick with the banks), and major credit cards are widely accepted.
Guernsey is on GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), the same time as the UK. Clocks go back one hour October through March for daylight saving.
The Channel Islands are on 240V, 50Hz, the same as the rest of the British Islands. They use the distinctive three-pin plugs also, with the longer earth pin at the top. Adaptors and converters are available at the airport to run devices needing 110V, 60Hz, although many newer phone chargers (including iPhones) accept both voltages.
The Channel Islands uses the UK country code of +44, and the area code for Guernsey is 1481. Make sure you have roaming activated as international SIM cards will work with local providers. Mobile phone coverage is island-wide and you can rent handsets, too, while local SIM cards are cheap to buy and can be substituted for your old one if your phone is unlocked. St Peter Port has internet cafés, as do the larger hotels.
The duty-free limits on entry to the Channel Islands are 200 cigarettes or 250 g of tobacco, 2 liters of wine, one liter of spirits, and goods to the value of £145 (equivalent). As the Channel Islands is not part of the UK or within the EU zone, those traveling back out to other EU destinations can also purchase duty-free.
Guernsey Information Centre, St Peter Port: +44-1481-723-552, or http://www.visitguernsey.com/.
Consulates in Guernsey
US Embassy, London: +44-207-499-9000 Irish Consulate: +44-1481-727-588 French Consulate: +44-1481-729-290 Netherlands Vice Consulate: +44-1481-724-059 German Honorary Consul: +44-1481-725-115 Swiss Consulate: +44-1481-710-267 Finnish Consulate: +44-1481-238-287
Emergency services: 999