5 Things You Need to Know Before You Visit Russia
Russia is a country that gets portrayed poorly in a lot of the US media outlets, movies, and TV shows. It is no secret that the relationship between the two is rocky at best, but instead of listening to the stereotypes I highly recommend staying open minded to have the best experience when visiting.
With Russia being the world’s largest country, there are many things to do and see- ranging from stunning architecture, to natural wonders of the world that will leave you speechless.
Here are the 5 Things you need to know before traveling to Russia!
#1 Flights may be expensive in Russia, but everything else is not!
I would recommend starting with the city of Moscow. There are 5 International Airports in Moscow, so you are bound to find a flight to get you there. Flights are a little pricey and more often than not, be prepared to have stopovers.
A hotel in Moscow can be anywhere from $25-$75 a night. These do tend to be hostel style and mid tier hotel rooms, but they are usually decent. Just make sure you read the reviews before booking so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
As for food, there are plenty of options. You can get a good meal at any time of the day for about $5-$7. Groceries are also very reasonably priced and most places accept credit cards such as Visa, Amex and Mastercard.
As for getting around, don’t even bother renting a car! The Moscow metro is about 80 cents per trip and faster than driving (especially during rush hour). If you really are in need of a taxi or Uber, just download the Yandex Taxi app. A 30 minute ride will cost about $10-$15.
#2 Traveling to Russia as an American - You Will Need A Visa
Citizens of most countries are required to apply for a Visa and the process is fairly straightforward and outlined here (https://ru.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/russian-visas/). An invitation from a licensed tourism operator or from a Russian Citizen is required. I would recommend obtaining this before buying any flights due to the process taking quite some time.
#3 Russia is NOT in Poverty
Despite Russia being very affordable to the average tourist, it is not in poverty- especially not bigger cities like Moscow and St Petersburg. Moscow actually has more billionaires per capita than anywhere else in the world. With that being said, there are many luxurious hotels, tours, shopping options and dining experiences. These are enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. Shopping at the GUM is an experience in itself.
GUM is not just a store. GUM itself is a symbol of Moscow. It is a vital part of Russian history.
#4 Prices For Tourists And Locals Can Vary
Certain tourist attractions in Russia are more expensive for tourists than locals and yes, they will ask to see your passport so have that handy when exploring. The price difference isn’t too drastic and still very reasonable.
#5 Have An Itinerary Ready
A lot of museums are on a block schedule and they are spread out all over the city. By planning ahead, you can maximize your time and avoid long lines, excessive back and forth travel and stress. The information for all museums is readily available online and up to date.
If you don’t want to deal with the stress of planning your own itinerary, consider booking an Airbnb Experience or Viator tour. There are many different options available so just do what works for your price range and interests.
This extra special blog is written by my friend Alina who is from Russia, but currently lives in the United States. Alina has visited 19 countries and 28 US states and is HIGHLY qualified to discuss all things travel. Thank you for this gem of a resource, Alina!!