Survival guide for travelling to Russia

Here are some tips I have for anyone who is interested in traveling to Russia. Some of this things I already knew before I went there and other things I had to learn the hard way.

 

  • Learn the russian alphabet before arriving

In Saint Petersburg most restaurants have a english menu and most people speak english, but if you planing to visit another city besides Saint Petersburg you must know the alphabet so you will feel a little less lost. Even in Moscow people don’t speak english in most places. In Moscow was only able to speak english in my hotel reception and I found very few restaurants with english menu.

  • Be safe

Watch out for pickpockets at the subway. If you’re wearing a backpack it’s best to keep it in front of you. Also, avoid walking alone late at night specially at parks.

  • Always carry your passport

Don’t leave your hotel without take your passport with you. Police can ask to see your passport at any time. I have seen this many times while I was in Moscow.

  • Be prepared to use a  squat toilet

In Russia, most of the toilets are sitting toilets, but you may encounter one or two squat toilets specially if you are in the rural areas. I was surprised when I had to use one of these at a gas station and I had to ask how to use it.

  • Bring a nice outfit

Some places have a restrict dress code and don’t allow sportswear. You may not be able to enter a night club or a fancy restaurant wearing sneakers and jeans. In Moscow, me and my husband missed the opportunity to go to the Café Pushkin because we were not dressed appropriate.

  • Be patient

Don’t expect a friendly smile everywhere you go. Most people in Russia don’t smile at strangers even if they work in the tourism industry.

Russians tend to be pushy in crowds and you may have to defend your place in line. Lines are not very organized either so you will have to be super patient here.

In the metro, give your sit to older women. Babushkas sometimes tell off young men who don’t stand up for them. Of course you will not understand a word, but it’s always good to avoid being yelled at.

 

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