Things to Know Before Backpack Russia

Register your visa! Doing this will ensure non-problematic travels and protect you from running into any complications upon leaving the country. Give any documents or papers you have to those people working at the front desk of your hotel; they can take care of the registration process for you. If you plan on spending less than three days in Russia, you are not required to register your visa, but it will be wise to keep track of your receipts and train tickets throughout your stay. The ruble is used in Russia so you will need to trade any US money or Euros before buying anything in Russia. (Credit cards are accepted, but like any country, some stores and restaurants accept cash only, so be well prepared.) Ensure the bills are crisp and free of any tears, markings, or noticeable folds before you bring them in to be interchanged or you might encounter some issues with the bank tellers. English isn’t spoken too often in Russia so do not be amazed if you find yourself struggling to converse with the locals. Pretty much every sign in Russia is written in Cyrillic letters, so it will be a good idea to study up before you decide to enter in the country. Bring a dictionary with you and keep it nearby at all times. Make use of the metro to get around, but be polite while you are riding it. Russians are proud of their subway system, so respect it and don’t leave garbage, talk loudly, or flash money inside the cars. Buses are the best way to get around. Be sure to pack a power converter/adapter for any electronics you intend to plug in and use while in the country. The electricity in Russia is 220 volt and the plug is two pin thin European standard. Other essentials include any medications you might need, like aspirin, allergy pills, Neosporin, Tums, tissues, and a simple first aid kit. Having these items on hand helps you to save a confusing trip to the pharmacy in your desperate time of need! The plain tap water in Russia differs from what we’re used to in the states and other European countries. Though consuming small quantities of tap water in Russia won’t hurt you, it’s better to stay safe than sorry. Avoid upsetting your stomach or growing ill by purchasing bottled water to consume, and keep bottles of water in your hotel room to use for brushing the teeth. Be safe and don’t forget to maintain valuable items hidden. If trouble arises while in Russia, you can call for help utilizing any public phone in the country by pressing 112. An English speaker might not greet you on the other end, so get the aid of a Russian speaker nearby if possible. The weather in Russia is a little unpredictable, so based on the time of year you plan to visit, pack wisely. Comfortable shoes, boots, a rain jacket, a warm scarf, sweaters, sunglasses, and an umbrella are all things you should think of before leaving your room.

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