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Tips for an unforgettable journey
(Part 1)
August, 30/2016

Russia travel tips

In a new series of articles here on Hello Russia Tours we will be giving you a step-by-step guide on how to make it to Russia – and have a time of your life here. First chapter is dedicated to the prepping stage of your journey – take notes! Here are some trip tips you can find helpful.

Russian visa

Your trip to Russia starts with your tourist visa (valid for up to 30 days). In order to obtain one you will need: a passport (valid for at least 6 months after your Russia Visavisa expires), a couple of recent passport photos, an invitation (which you can obtain through our Visa Support Service here) and a visa application form (available here; choose English language in the second drop-down menu). Take all of the above to your nearest Russia Consulate, pay a consular fee (starts at $160) and be ready to wait for up to 2 weeks for your documents to be processed. You can also use the services of a local travel agency to submit your papers for you.

When to come

The time of your visit is entirely dependent on your travel preferences. Summer is, of course, the most popular season: gorgeous Peterhof fountains are working, St. Petersburg rooftops open exceptionally beautiful views of the city and on particularly hot days you can always get away from the summer madness with a private tour of rivers and canals. Fall is when the theatrical season starts so for traditional Russian ballet you might want to come in October or November. During winter the number of tourists drops significantly, which will give you a chance to have a completely stress-free visit to The State Hermitage. Moreover, there is no time better to see The Catherine Palace than spring.

Money

Some trip tips about money. Russian currency is called rouble. The current exchange rate (as of August, 2016) is approximately 65 roubles for $1 and 75 roubles for 1 euro. While you can pay with a credit card almost everywhere (VISA and MasterCard are most common; AmEx won’t be accepted in the majority of places), it is a good idea to have a little cash on you, in case you want to have something from an ice cream stand on the street or pay for a souvenir in a tiny church shop. Apple Pay has not been introduced to Russia yet, so be sure not to leave your plastic at home.

What to take to Russia

Saint Petersburg's angel
Saint Petersburg’s angel is a statue that presents the generalized character of St.Petersburg’s intelligentsia. The angel has an umbrella – the informal symbol of the city.

The list of your travel essentials depends on the time (season) you visiting Saint Petersburg. However, make sure you take the following:

  • an umbrella will be very useful, since rain in St. Petersburg is an often occurrence;
  • a warm jackets for your nights out – even during summers they can be quite cold;
  • comfortable choice of clothes will be your best bet, however you will be needing a cocktail attire if you’re planning on going to nice night clubs;
  • do not forget to check the compatibility of your electronic appliances with Russian sockets (for instance, those traveling from the U.S. or the U.K. will
    be needing a power converter);
  • make sure to bring your prescription drugs;
  • also, download all necessary maps so they work offline (CityMaps2Go app is a good choice), taxi apps (Uber, Gett and Wheely all work in Moscow and St.
    Petersburg), metro and public transportation apps (Yandex Transport).
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