Russia is becoming increasingly popular with tourists due to its rich cultural heritage and its popular cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. If you are planning or are going on a trip to Russia, then we suggest you consider some of the following travel tips.
Familiarise yourself with Russia
Do some reading around Russia before you visit it to find out a bit about the country. To give you some insight, Russia spans nine time zones and is the world’s largest country, with landscapes ranging from frozen tundras in Siberia and the endless wheat fields and pine forests of central Russia to the mountains and palm trees of the Caucasus in the South. The population was approximately around 140 million according to the last census with Central Russia, which includes Moscow, being the most densely populated area.
Be sure to check what to eat and what not to eat before you head to Russia. The country does not pose any serious health threats, with cases of food poisoning the most common problem. Most guidelines suggest avoiding buying kebabs at stands, especially at train stations, while tourists are also advised to be wary of dairy products. Tap water is safe to drink in Moscow after boiling, but tourists are advised to drink bottled water everywhere else; avoiding ice cubes and using bottled water to brush teeth is also recommended.
Russia is a spectacular country and so are its prices. The large cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg are, like most famous European cities, very expensive. On the outskirts of the larger cities you will find cheaper restaurants and accommodation. Holidaymakers are advised to get their Russian Rubles before travelling, but there are ATMs from local banks like Sberbank and international ones such as HSBC and Citibank all over Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities. When paying for something, retailers in Russia prefer to be paid in cash, but credit cards are generally accepted and travellers can still pay with traveller’s cheques.
Before jetting off to Russia you should be aware of some Russian etiquette. If you are on a business trip and are running late, there is no need to panic as this is considered normal, often due to the awful traffic in Moscow. If you are offered a drink, it is considered rude not to accept it, especially for men. Some travel guides also say that Russian men often only shake hands with a fellow male upon meeting, so women travelling with their husbands should be prepared to see that their husband’s hand is shaken and not theirs. Russians also like to dress up almost everywhere they go, so it might be worth packing some smart clothes for your trip.