Russia is increasingly popular with tourists due to its rich cultural heritage and popular cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. If you are planning or going on a trip to Russia, we suggest that you consider some of the following travel tips.
Familiarize yourself with Russia
Read a bit about Russia before visiting to learn a little more about the country. To give you an overview, Russia spans nine time zones and is the largest country in the world, with landscapes ranging from frozen tundra in Siberia to endless wheat fields and pine forests in the center of the Russia to the mountains and palm trees of the Caucasus to the south. The population was around 140 million people according to the last census with central Russia, which includes Moscow, being the most densely populated area.
Make sure you check out what to eat and what not to eat before heading to Russia. The country does not present any serious health threat, with cases of food poisoning being the most common problem. Most guidelines suggest avoiding buying kebabs at stalls, 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; It is also recommended to avoid ice cubes and use bottled water for brushing teeth.
Russia is a spectacular country, as are its prices. The big cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg are, like most famous European cities, very expensive. On the outskirts of large cities you will find cheaper restaurants and accommodation. Vacationers are advised to obtain their Russian rubles before traveling, but there are ATMs from local banks like Sberbank and international bank machines like HSBC and Citibank all over Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities. When paying something, retailers in Russia prefer to be paid in cash, but credit cards are generally accepted and travelers can still pay with travelers’ checks.
Before leaving for Russia, you should know some Russian rules of the art. If you are on a business trip and are late then there is no need to panic as it 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 shake hands with another man only when dating, so women traveling with their husbands should be prepared to see that their husbands hand is shaken and not theirs. Russians also like to dress almost everywhere they go, so it might be worth bringing some stylish clothes for your trip.