Travel Tips Russia – I’ve got a confession: I was more nervous about going to Russia than I had been about the destination for a number of reasons.
First, the political situation in the world’s largest country has obviously been tense lately, and the media has made it a pretty volatile destination.
Travel Tips Russia
Any time I mentioned that I was traveling to Russia people would raise their eyebrows and say “
Do’s And Don’ts In Russia: Crucial Travel Tips To Know
” I almost reconsidered traveling there but in the end, seeing as Moscow and St. Petersburg were not under any official travel warnings, I decided to go ahead.
The second reason for my panic was the lack of helpful information about Russia online. I think this is not a completely fair statement.
There is information available, just not as overwhelmingly as in other destinations I’ve been to. I found a few helpful blog posts and articles but in general it felt like there was more horror and horror stories than useful information.
Now having visited Russia for myself, I’ve come up with some tips that I knew before I went, which I hope will help you and also fill in the gaps that I noticed while researching.
Tips For Doing Business In Russia
After all my nerves surrounding this trip to Russia, it turns out they were completely unfounded.
My long weekend was completely uneventful, and I never once felt unsafe. Of course, there were some challenges that I’ll cover below, but I didn’t encounter or run into any of the situations described in the horror stories I read online.
I didn’t really know what to expect from Russia, but it blew me away with its beauty, culture, food and ease of getting around. My advice to you is to arrive with an open mind and prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
For me, getting a visa was one of the most stressful parts of traveling to Russia, but once I decided to get an agency to take care of it, all my stress melted away.
Travelling To Russia: Panda’s Guide To A Memorable Trip
Yes, it cost £115, but they arranged my official invitation and the process was really quick and easy. The hardest part was filling out the ‘places visited in the last 10 years’ section of the application but I called the agency when I had questions and they were more than happy to answer them for me.
I know it is possible to apply independently but for me it wasn’t worth the risk of getting it wrong. I usually don’t throw money at problems but sometimes it’s the best option.
There are no standard opening and closing times for museums, cathedrals and other attractions in Russia. For example, Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square is only open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is closed on Mondays and Fridays.
Identify which attractions you really want to see and work out when they are open so you can plan accordingly.
Russia Travel Guide
The ornately decorated Moscow Metro stations are an attraction in themselves, so there’s no point in skipping this Soviet wonder. Instead, be willing to take on the challenge and be sure to take in your surroundings at beautiful and awesome stations. Here are some tips for navigating the system effectively: First, make sure you have a color map that is written in both English and Russian.
Second, calculate how many stations you need to travel, as signage isn’t necessarily visible when you’re on the train so you can’t be sure where you are.
My final advice is to look at all signage very carefully – it’s not always clear which way the train is going on each platform, so take a few seconds to match what you see on your map with the small, confusing signs on the platform.
There may not be any staff around to help you so be prepared to do the work yourself. Rest assured, at the end of 48 hours I was feeling much more confident, so it’s not impossible!
Travel Tips For Russia And A Complete Budget Travel Guide
I was very worried about being pickpocketed in Russia, but not sure what I was worried about. I’ve been to Rome, Marrakech, Barcelona and Madrid and felt much less safe and more susceptible to pickpockets than St Petersburg or Moscow.
I’ve heard and read stories of people getting their bags and passports stolen in Russia, but I firmly believe it’s no more dangerous than most popular European countries. As in other countries, it’s important to take precautions (don’t leave bags open or unattended, be aware of people around you, etc.) but don’t be paranoid; There is simply no need.
Apparently (and to be clear, I’ve never had anyone confirm this) the law requires you to carry your passport with you at all times in case you are stopped by the police while traveling in Russia.
Opinions online differ as to whether it is acceptable to carry a copy instead of your original, but in the end I decided that the risk of losing my passport was too much to take and I carried a copy of my passport and visa instead. I also saved copies online and took photos on my phone so I had access to this information wherever I was
Starbucks Closing Operations In Russia
I haven’t been stopped by the police so I can’t tell you if they’ll accept anything other than the original, but that’s a decision you’ll have to make based on how comfortable you are carrying your passport with you.
Maybe I was in the wrong area, but it was really hard to find places to eat when I was out. When I travel, I hate nothing more than being hungry and not being able to find anywhere to eat and therefore being forced to eat horrible food.
Restaurants aren’t very well signposted, so the best plan is to find a few good places to eat in the areas you’ll be visiting and bookmark them ahead of time. If you happen to stumble upon a great restaurant while you’re out, that’s great, but if not, you’ll have a backup plan.
Russian culture is not very exotic. Sure, laughing in public for no good reason is considered a form of insanity, and drinking vodka is practically a national pastime, but there’s not much difference between the two that you can’t get over. Nevertheless, it is useful to know that it is disrespectful to put your hands in your pockets in churches (and Lenin’s mausoleum).
Reasons Everyone Must Visit Russia At Least Once
Even if you don’t normally drink the stuff, you should definitely try some vodka if you’re in Russia – just call it cultural research. Vodka is served with food and is best drunk as a shot, not sipped. I recommend a vodka tasting if you get the chance; I did this at the Four Seasons St. Petersburg and it was a memorable and educational experience.
I wish I had learned a few words of Russian before I left. I was really surprised that very few people spoke English outside of hotels and the occasional restaurant, so even a few basic words would have helped ease the communication barrier. Google Translate was a lifesaver; Make sure to download the language pack when you have WiFi so you don’t have to pay for expensive data.
So there you have it: my ten essential tips for traveling to Russia. Have you been? What would you add to this list? If you haven’t visited but have questions about this fascinating destination, let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
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Traveling In Russia: My Favorites, Itineraries & Travel Tips
Bursting with helpful tips and tricks, I’ve asked locals from specific cities around the world to share their insider knowledge on how travelers can best become “invisible” while visiting their city and enjoy it like a local. If you’re ready to challenge travel stereotypes, overcome language barriers and embrace what I like to call invisible tourism, you’ve come to the right place!
This dos and don’t guide in Russia is written by Lesia from Dutch Wannabe. The best way to see St. Petersburg is to be an invisible tourist, so I’m excited to share her top Russia travel tips and advice on how to blend in with the locals. These tips provide a great insight into Russian values and culture.
If you’re planning a trip to St. Petersburg, these tips for visiting Russia from a local’s perspective will help you have a more enjoyable experience and know what to expect beforehand.