Russian Ruble - Travel Money Saving Tips
Russian food is plentiful, home cooked, and delicious. Soups are very good. The bread is delicious. Food in the supermarkets is plentiful and reasonably priced. There is a wide variety of teas, chocolates, dairy products, produce, candies, and vodka. Carry plenty of cash.
What currency should I use in Russia?
They’ll take Visa or MasterCard in the big shops and stores, but virtually no one, except at the hotel, takes American Express. And be prepared to have to pay cash at the smaller restaurants. Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world and St Petersburg is not a cheap destination either; wallet-thinning shock is common at many restaurants and hotels.
ATM machines are very easy to find in Russian cities, so you can easily withdraw Russian Rubles from an ATM machine that usually provides the option to switch the language to English. Many businesses accept only cash and taxis do not take credit cards. If you plan to buy roubles in Russia, you should take US dollars or euros to exchange, and only change money at banks, hotels and airport exchange bureaux. It is an offence to change money from street traders.
Getting around in Russia?
Right across Russia, timetables for long-distance trains are written according to Moscow time. The only exceptions are those for suburban services that run on local time – but not always, so double-check. Station clocks in most places are also set to Moscow time. Note that Moscow and St Petersburg share the same time zone. The metro systems of Moscow and St Petersburg are excellent. There are smaller ones in Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Samara and Yekaterinburg.
Long-distance buses tend to complement rather than compete with the rail network. They generally serve areas with no railway or routes on which trains are slow, infrequent or overloaded. Within most cities, marshrutky double up on official bus routes but are more frequent. They will also stop between official bus stops, which can save quite a walk. Services are frequent in city centres but more erratic as you move out toward the edges. They can get jam-packed in the late afternoon or on poorly served routes.
Renting a car is a good option, however almost all signs are only in Russian. Allow lots of time at the airport, even for domestic flights. Security and check in are inefficient and the lines move slowly. Be sure to make time for flights, Russian airports do not seem as tolerant of lateness as most. Be sure your frequent flier numbers are in your reservation; the desk clerk you get may not have a clue on how to enter one, especially for a codeshare flight.
Travel tips for Russian.
Yes, chances are you need a very for Russia, and it can get compilcated so start the application process at least a month before your trip and consider using a specialist travel agency to arrange visas and make key transport bookings. This is an absolute must for everybody. You can do it at the last moment, but it may cost you a fortune. Every visitor to Russia should have their visa registered within seven days of arrival, excluding weekends and public holidays.
There are no standardized opening and closing times for museums, cathedrals and other attractions in Russia. Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square, for example, is only open from 10am until 1pm and is closed on Mondays and Fridays.
Even if you don’t normally drink the stuff, if you’re in Russia you should definitely try some of the vodka – just call it cultural research. Vodka is served with meals, and it’s best to drink it as a shot, not sip it.
Russian power outlets take round 2-pin Euro plugs. A flat Euro plug adapter don't usually fit into the socket. Current is 220V.
Also see our full Foreign Exchange Guide to Russia for more money saving tools and information on Russian Ruble Transfers and Travel Money.