Russia is a beautiful country and you will enjoy your trip.
same time it's quite different from other tourist destinations and you should plan your
When to visit Russia
First question that you will face when starting to plan your trip - what
is the best season to come to Russia. There are no doubts, you'd better go in summer.
Summer in Russia lasts from June to August. If you are going to Siberia or Far East, the
most beautiful weather there is in September.
Winter travels have their special charm, but you'd better
don't try if you are not used to subzero temperatures.
What should you take with
Rains in Russia are usual for any season, except winter, so take
an umbrella with you. Even in summer the temperature sometimes is only +3...+5 degrees C,
and warm clothes (jacket and sweaters) are necessary. If the purpose of
your visit is matrimonial, take jeans rather than shorts - shorts are
not the best wear for important things such as courting.
Washing of your clothes in hotels is quite expensive and in some of
them may not be available at all. If you need to wash your
clothes, ask the cleaning lady - it will be done with utmost care and
much cheaper compared to the use of the hotel service. The easiest way?
Take a small packet with washing powder and 'do-it-yourself'. Socks,
undies, and shirts all can be washed at night and hung up in the
bathroom. In the morning, move half-dry clothes to the closet. They will
be ready the same afternoon.
Don't forget to take special gifts for the people you are going
to visit and some more small souvenirs. If you are visiting your lady, take pictures of
you, your house, your city etc.
How to organize your trip
Although during the last years traveling to Russia
has become easier, you
still have to obtain a visa. You can apply for a private, tourist or business visa.
Tourist visas are the least complicated to obtain. When you choose a
travel agency, make
sure that they have a reliable Russian partner in the city you are going to
visit, otherwise you can be lodged in a low class hotel somewhere in the
outskirts. It's a good idea to arrange being met at the airport by an English speaking person.
You must register with Russian authorities after arriving at your destination. If you are
staying at a hotel, the administration will do it for you.
The best is to have a local contact in the city
you visit, so you can sort out any possible problems and get advice
where necessary. If you do not have such a contact, make friends with
the receptionist at your hotel and don't be afraid to ask questions.
If it's your first trip to Russia, you are sure to
language problems. If you do not know the Russian alphabet, you won't be able to read
signboards and find your way. Even hotel staff may not speak English. The situation in
regional cities is worse. You will rarely find a café or restaurant,
with an English menu.
You should always have a card from your hotel. If you are looking
for some address, it's better to have it with you written in Russian. Ask your translator
or friend to write down a list of necessary phrases that you can give people to read what
you want. If you can't get right at the hotel or any other place, ask for a person who can
speak English. Russians are very helpful and they will keep trying to help you even if they
don't understand you.
The easiest way around? Get a 'talking
translator' - an electronic device that can pronounce words in both
English AND Russian. Most travelers agree it is a great investment.
Credit cards are not in wide use in Russia and in
small towns it can be impossible to pay by credit card or draw cash. In Moscow and St. Petersburg
you will be able to pay by credit card in many places, usually the most
expensive ones. Dollars or
another currency are officially not allowed as payment means but can be freely converted
at banks. There are no any restrictions of amounts. You must produce your passport for the
exchange. Never, EVER attempt to exchange money anywhere but the
designated official places. Not only it's illegal, you stand a great
chance to be scammed. It will be wise to have money with you in cash and travelers checks as well as a
You will be safe as long as you don't show around big amounts of
money or walk alone at night along dark lonely streets. Murder is considered to be an
extraordinary event in Russia that usually happens with people who are involved in organized
You can visit any place and peacefully walk on the streets. However, you can
easily become a victim of pocket thefts; so take care of your wallet and do not keep big
amounts with you.
Restaurants and cafés offer a wide range of dishes, and you will
find something according your tastes. The only problem you can face is
that they seldom have a
menu in English. Tipping is expected but not mandatory. Check your bill before
paying, it is likely to have counting mistakes.
Russians are very fond of soups (which include meat, vegetables and
broth), pies and pelmeny (similar to ravioli). Russian cuisine is not spicy. Portions are
usually smaller than you are used to.
Russians call their services "non-obtrusive". Be aware
that toilets are difficult to find, and usually you have to pay there. To use a public
phone you will need a token or card. International calls can not be made from street
phones. Your mobile phone will work in Moscow and Saint Petersburg but seldom in regional
As a taxi you can use any car, not only a specific one. Drivers are
eager to give you a lift to earn a few rubles. Taxi fee must be discussed with a driver
before a journey.
To send e-mail you can use Internet cafes or official postal
services. Russia has become quite Internet savvy and you will easily find a place with access
to the Internet. The best hotels will also provide you with this
In the major cities you can rent a car but it's expensive.
Public transport in Russia is quite good, cheap and easy to use though sometimes
Russia is a country with the long and unique history. There are many
places to see. Foreigners are usually impressed with it's unusual architecture, especially
churches and cathedrals. There are many museums, monuments, and theatres. The most popular
tourist destinations are Moscow and Saint Petersburg. If you are in Russia, you should see
at least those two cities.
- Take a converter with you for electrical items. Electricity
throughout Russia is 220 volt. The plug is 2 pin thin European standard.