Friday, 4 January 2019

10 Things everyone need to know before traveling to Russia | Is Russia safe for tourists?

Russia is a largest nation in the world, bordering European and Asian countries. Its beautiful landscape spread from large forests to subtropical beaches. Moscow is a capital of Russia and it is most famous for Bolshoi and St. Petersburg's Mariinsky ballet companies.

Travelling to Russia for the first time may seem like a great adventure for everyone. Russia is good country to travel, there are lots of amazing things to do and places to visit. Many cities in Russia are well equipped for tourists and here I will give you some details about Russia, which you need to know before go there.

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Visa

Citizens of outside countries of the former Soviet Union are required to apply for a visa before arrival. The process of applying visa is very simple, but you require a invitation letter from a authorized tourism operator or a Russian citizen. But, if you arriving by cruise ship, then you can get 72 hours visa-free entry into Russia, if your cruise company have made arrangements with a travel agent.

Image credit - Pixabay
Learn some Russian words

Many people in Russia are not speak and understand english language, some people can understand english, but they are generally shy to speak. In restaurants you can get a menu card in English, but the people working in restaurant can't speak english language. So for this you have to get some guidebooks and maps with you and also learn some of very useful Russian words and phrases which may helps you to conversation with locals in any critical situation and also to impress them.

Image credit - Pixabay
Research about public transport services

Public transport is a best and cheapest way to travel in most of the cities, especially those whose equipped with a subway system. The underground tends are more user-friendly as their maps are translated into English, but you can face some problems at the time of buying tickets or answering any questions about directions. So, it better to know how the system works before travel in it, like. where to buy tickets for the train and how to use the map of Subway. While travelling by bus and underground train, pay close attention on the names of the stations announced or displayed. The announcement is mostly in Russian, but English maps can give a phonetic transcription, so listen it carefully.

Image credit - Pixabay
Proper Dressing

Whoever comes to Russia thinking that it has cold weather all the year will get a very unpleasant surprise after arriving. Many people of outside countries thinks that the Russia is cold every year, but the summers can also be incredibly hot in Russia, especially in St Petersburg. So it's very important to know about the different weather conditions in Russia before traveling here. I understand that weather is hard to predict and it can change anytime, but a general understanding of the climate can be very useful for you when planning to travel in different places. If you are travelling during the winter, then it is very important to keep full sleeve sweatshirts or sweaters with you to protect yourself from the freezing. Snow in big cities melt soon after falling on the ground and turning it into a very slushy mud, so get protective footwear and a pair of socks with you.

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Know about Russian cuisine

Russian cuisine has a lots of dishes to offer, but the tourist from outside countries doesn't familiar with the name and taste of it. If you are looking to taste some best Russian dishes,  then do some research about the different types of food available in Russia, so you are not stuck eating only one or two dishes in Russian cuisine, try to eat different dishes everyday. The restaurant which located at center of the city will have some good English-speaking staff to help you out to choose your favorite Russian dish.

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Don’t drink the tap water

In most of the Western countries where ordering tap water at restaurant is a normal thing, but Russian people don’t drink tap water.  I recommend you to purchase bottled water to drink in Russia and don’t worry about using tap water to brush your teeth. If you don’t want to purchase a bottled water, then boiling the tap water can make it safe to drink or you can also use water purifiers to clean it.

Image credit - Wikimedia
Respect local customs

Russia is becoming more fashionable over the years, but there are certain rules and regulations that people need to follow. For eg, if anyone invited by a Russian family, so as a guests you are expected to follow some etiquette, like buy a small gift for that family before arriving. Also, the dressing style is quite important in theatres and restaurants. Of course, nobody can stop you from entering in it, but it is best to be ready with an local attire than wearing shorts or jeans in a crowd of formally dressed people. Also, while visiting Russian Orthodox churches you have to follow some simple rules, like women should wear long skirts or trousers and cover their heads and men should wear long trousers as well as don't use any headwear inside.

Image credit - Wikimedia
Is Russia safe to travel

Of course, travelling to Russia is as safe as traveling any other country in Europe. Although there are happening few crimes such as still anyone's pockets is very common there, which is happening everywhere in the world, but there is no any violent crime in daylight. But, be careful from getting scammed in tourist traps, this is the most important points to remember while traveling to different countries. If anything happen wrong with you or you may lost your passport, then your hotel staff will be helpful in reaching out to the police.

Image credit - Pixabay
Exchange money in advance

While traveling in different country, it is very important to take some currency of that country with you before boarding the plane. This is very helpful to you after arriving, because in any case if your banks card not work on their ATM machines, then you can use this cash to hire taxis to reach your hotel. At many shopping stores in Russia cards are generally accepted, but the rate of exchange charge is very high. Also, for using public transport service you have to purchase tickets with cash, and some taxis are also unable to accept cards. To avoid any hassle after arriving in Russia, it's better to exchange your local currency into roubles in advance to get a good exchange rate before travelling.

Image credit - Pixabay
Plan things to do in Russia

Planning is very important when visiting Russia or any other country. In Moscow and St Petersburg, there is lots of things to do and visit. But some places are open for only limited  days or time, it’s better to plan which places to visit before getting there. Some attractions are  located far from the city center and also need long time journey to reach there. So, it's better to arrive with a general understanding and research about what exactly is to do there and what is the best time to visit.

Also check, Russia Tour | Best places to visit in Russia

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