Southern Comfort. The warmth of Russian hospitality
Black Sea. South of Russia Region

Travel Tips

Russia is known for its unavigable bureaucracy, but thankfully, travel to Russia has become easier since Soviet times. You'll still have to register, and you still need a visa, but Russia travel is as easy as it is enjoyable - if you bear in mind the the following tips.

Visas for Travel to Russia

First of all, plan to apply for your visa well in advance of your trip through an embassy located in your country of residence. You will need an invitation (issued by the hotel at which you plan to stay or through a travel agent), and you can use this invitation to apply for your visa. A complete explanation of the process can be found here 

Registering Upon Arrival to Russia

Travelers to Russia must register within three days of their arrival. The immigration form received at passport control must go wherever your passport goes - you will get a stamp at your hotel that will complete the registration process. Be sure to register at every new hotel you stay at when moving from city to city. Registration stamps may be checked upon departure or by law enforcement officials.

Russia Currency and Money Exchange in Russia

The Russian unit of currency is the ruble. Euros and USD can be exchanged almost anywhere in Russia. However, bills must be of new or current issue, without rips, tears, markings or folds. (Be sure to ask your home bank if they can give you cash that fits this description.)

Using Bank and Credit Cards While Traveling in Russia

Cash is always your best bet while you travel in Russia. Not every place will accept credit cards. Bank machines will accept debit transactions, however, so don't leave home without the plastic. These cannot be found everywhere, so make sure you always have money to last a few days.

Transportation Within Russia

Public transportation in Russia is inexpensive, reliable, and used by everyone. Buses may be crowded, but they are usually the chosen mode of transport for those cities without metro systems. The metros in cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg are easily navigated, though they can be hectic at peak times and you may have to stand while you ride. 

Hints on customs rules, safety, lodging and going out and more

Russia has always seemed a mystery to foreigners. A great number of stereotypes and controversial facts arise in mind when a person hears the word Russia. These stereotypes, cultivated to a great degree by mass media, may even scare a foreigner who has never visited our country. When one tries to find answers to all the questions about Russia one may have, he may face a lot of difficulties. Russia is not behind the iron curtain any more, nevertheless, people from other countries cannot understand Russian way of living, Russian strange but so wonderful character. What is Russian life like? What do I need to bring with me? What should I be afraid of? Is it expensive to live in Russia? Is it safe there? These and other questions call for immediate answers when a person is going to Russia. Let me assure you - only a native can give you correct answers. Only a native who has been living in this country all his life and knows how things are there may help a foreigner and give him a most realistic picture of Russian reality. I think the issue that concerns everyone nowadays is safety.  

How safe is it in Russia

Russia is considered to be a dangerous place with a lot of criminals walking on the streets and numerous terrorist attacks. Mass media contribute greatly to creating this false stereotype. Terrorist attacks in Moscow have only added fuel to the fire. But do not let us forget that Russia is not the only country that has suffered from terrorists. Terrorism is a global problem, and the USA and European countries also struggle against it. Other countries have also had losses because of terrorists attacks. It is important to understand that a person may become a target of terrorists anywhere in the world if he is not careful. Your life is in your hands, so keep yourself away from a possible danger - and everything will be just fine.

According to the statistics, the crime rate is considerably higher in the US than in Russia. The crime rate in Russia has increased after the fall of the Soviet Union, but comparing to America, it is still lower. This leads us to the thought that an individual should be careful in Russia just like elsewhere in the world. There are no special instructions as to how to behave in Russia especially, the basic safety rules are just the same. Of course, a foreigner is an easy victim, but - forewarned is forearmed. First of all, use your common sense. Do not do things you would be afraid to do in your homecountry. Do not flash your cash or flaunt valuables.

Secondly, stay away from deserted and secluded places at daytime and avoid walking at night. Just like everywhere dirty things are done under cover of night.

Third, avoid associating with strangers. Do not attract too much attention to yourself either, especially in crowded public places (otherwise you will not find your wallet in its place later on).

There is no need to be too afraid, though. Just be careful. Russians are very friendly and easy-going, but there are criminals in Russian society as well, and it would be careless to attract their unwanted attention. Thus, watch your step as you go and you will be safe and sound.

The important numbers to know: 
Russian police – 02, 
Russian Medical Emergency – 03. 
You can dial them toll-free from any public phone. I hope you will never use them, but  it is better to memorize them just to be on the safe side.

Russia is nice to visit in all seasons: in winter you will see the marvelous Russian winter with trees covered in snow, thick snow carpet under your feet – you will feel just like in a fairy-tale. In summer you will have a wonderful opportunity to go outside the city and have a picnic with your favorite lady and enjoy the rich Russian nature.

People in Russia do not smile as much as the Americans, but still they wish you well and are very kind.