Published on January 23rd, 2014 | by Geckos Tales Team
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING RUSSIA
Photo courtesy of Steve Wroe
Visiting Russia is like entering a whole new world of adventure. It has amazing architecture, incredible food and mind-blowing art. But while Russia is one of the most exciting places to visit in Europe, it’s also got a few things about it than can cause some roadblocks for any traveller. Here are a few travel tips that can help you avoid any hassle. Because nobody likes hassle.
Register your visa and/or keep your travel receipts
Russian law requires that you register your visa when you get to Russia. If you don’t register your visa, you can run into trouble when it is time to exit the country. To register your visa, all you have to do is give your registration documents and passport to the people at the front desk of your hotel. They will take care of registration for you. If you are more of a free spirit, and plan to jump from city-to-city, then just make sure you keep record of your train tickets. Russian law states that you don’t have to register your visa if you are staying in any one city less than three days.
Learn the Cyrillic letters
You don’t have to speak Russian to go to Russia, but if you want to get around easier, it is good to be able to recognize letters and a few basic words. All signs are in Russian, and you will be hard-pressed to find anyone who speaks English. To get around easier, get a good map, chart out how many stops there are to your destination, and double check by matching the Cyrillic letters on your map to your stop. It sounds hard, but with an hour of practice, you’ll be a pro.
Use the metro
Sometimes people are afraid to use the metro systems in Russia, but the metros are extremely intuitive. Not to mention, a lot of the beauty of Moscow and Saint Petersburg is underground. Russians are extremely proud of their metro stations, keep them very clean, and they are decorated to the max. You won’t want to miss out on the underground scene in Russia.
Russia really is freezing cold in the winter
When you see pictures of Russians in their fur coats and fur hats, it’s not just a matter of style. Russia really is freezing cold in the winter. As such, it is best to go to Russia between May-August. Russia is a lot more enjoyable in the spring and summer, especially since most of the traveling you will be doing will be by foot.
Camera and passports stay with you
No one should ask for your camera or your passport, except the person registering your visa. If someone tells you they have to confiscate your camera, or they need to see your passport, just tell them no in English, and go on your way.
Have you been to Russia? Do you have any pointers you picked up? Let us know in the comments below.