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As Russia is the world’s largest country, it holds lots of hidden surprises that are definitely worth discovering. Russia is a thrilling destination that hosts crazy, mind-blowing adventures.
Most of its cities are tourist-friendly and fully equipped to ensure you have a memorable stay. But even so, here are ten things to know before visiting Russia.
These will help you have a smooth travel experience during your exploration of the country.
Top Tips For Visiting Russia
1) Russia e-Visa System
The first tip on the list is to apply for the Russia e-Visa. It’s a compulsory document you need when traveling to Russia. If your country is one of those eligible, go ahead and apply for this document online.
The approved Russian e-Visa should be ready within 72 hours; however, the maximum processing time is 96 hours.
The Russia e-Visa has an eight-day validity period when you are in the country. It’s a single entry digital pass with a 30 day validity period.
Also, important to note, you can use this permit for both tourism and business purposes. So, for a sweet travel adventure and smooth entry, get the Russian e-Visa online on russian-visa-application.com.
Please Note: Visa processing is only operated during business days – Monday to Friday.
2) Carry Cash
For convenience, exchange money before your departure. The first reason for that, you may not know the exchange rate of the banks and their condition in Russia.
Also, if it’s your first visit, this will waste your valuable time searching for a bank. And even worse, the banks may not accept the currency of your country.
Besides the complicated process of exchanging money in Russia, most businesses, including transport, allow cash only. So, with the correct money at hand, it’s easier to move around and settle your bills with ease.
3) Mind Your Wallet
Russia, especially Moscow, is actually more expensive to travel in compared to other European cities, like London. So, you had better prepare to budget or carry enough cash to spend.
Like other countries, the entry tickets to tourist sites for foreigners are more than what the locals pay. Also, accommodations, especially in luxury hotels, are pricey.
The same applies to public transport as you move around. But with a small budget, you can still manage and have a blast in whichever city or region you intend to visit. For instance, with tickets, pay with cash to avoid transaction fees.
If you are on paid tours, limit visits to paid attractions and focus more on free ones. Try eating during lunch hours in a dine-in cafeteria. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s best to avoid restaurants.
As for accommodation, unless you have deep pockets, stick with hostels, especially in expensive urban centers or cities.
4) Prepare an Itinerary
While there are European countries where you can have a great adventure by traveling spontaneously, avoid doing this in Russia. Being the world’s largest country, you will miss a lot if you don’t have a plan.
Also, the country has over ten time zones, which makes sense considering its size. Make sure to book accommodation in advance to ensure you get the best offers.
Since the train is a common means to travel, getting advance tickets will ensure you a comfortable seat. You can easily check out the terms for cancellation of reservations in all the places you plan to book.
Get around Russia by train to explore as much as you can!
5) Don’t Assume the Streets are Safe
While Russia is a safe country with no significant crimes in the streets, that doesn’t mean everything is okay.
Avoid flashing expensive items, especially things like cameras and jewelry that will draw attention to you. The streets are not free from pickpockets, just like in other European countries.
Also, be vigilant when in crowds and avoid scammers who often target unaware tourists.
6) Try Local Cuisines
A great trip abroad is one with lots of sampling of local cuisines. And Russia has a handful of exclusive local delicacies with strange names but with remarkable taste and flavors. If you want to taste these, do your research first.
This will allow you to try the finest of what’s available in a given season. For instance, try out Pelmeni and Blini for breakfast. Enjoy Okroshka or Beef Stroganoff. And for dinner, you will be amazed by the Kamchatka Crab.
7) What To Pack
There is a notion that Russia is an extremely cold place. That may be true during winter, but in other seasons, the climate is a lot more kind. For instance, summers can be sweltering with high humidity.
Therefore, you should check out the temperatures within the period of your visit before choosing what clothing to pack.
8) Have a Phrasebook
The national and official language of Russia is Russian. As such, you may not find people who understand English. Moreover, most of the street signs are in Cyrillic, which further complicates the situation.
To reduce your struggle during communication, travel with a Russian phrasebook. Also, Google translate can help you with some words.
9) Avoid Political Conversations
While the idea of discussing politics may be tempting, don’t. Many locals love talking politics, and they may try to engage you and seek your opinion.
So, to stay on the safe side, just iterate that you don’t know much about Russian politics and are not from there.
10) Remember about the Multiple Time Zones
There are 11 different time zones in Russia. But for a country of that size, it doesn’t come as a surprise. With that said, any plan you have during your trip must consider the different time zones.
This will help you to arrive on time at places you are visiting, whether it’s your accommodation or an attraction site.
Hopefully, the above tips will help with your Russia trip planning. Learning these ten things to know before visiting Russia, will definitely help insure you have a marvelous trip.
While the order of the tips is not strict on what follows the other, ensure your travel documents are organized first. Apply for the Russian e-Visa while considering your date of departure to ensure all your essential travel documents are ready by then.