FAQs About Russia Travel
Russia is a big country that makes for a big and important trip and so naturally people have a lot of questions during the travel planning phase of their Trans-Siberian tours and run up to their trip. Here we answer the most frequently asked but if you have any not covered here or need further information please do not hesitate to contact us.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Russia?
Most people visit in the summer and early autumn as the weather is best at this time and if you don’t like the idea of cold it is the best time to visit. We think the best period to visit within the above time is towards the end of August into early September.
Is Travel in Winter Advised?
Yes, winter is a beautiful time to cross Siberia and hotels and trains are very warm. If you dress correctly the cold is not as big an issue as you think – after all, Russian people get through it just fine. The best winter months January and February when there is guaranteed snow cover and the weather has the best chance of being stable.
Do I Need a Visa?
Most nationalities including people from all Western countries do need a visa which must be obtained in good time in advance. Exceptions as of early 2017 are many Latin American countries, Thailand and Hong Kong.
How Much Spending Money Do I Need?
In reality as much as if you were visiting Europe or the USA. The bigger the city the more expensive it is with Moscow being perhaps more expensive than London for many items. Based on having transport, transfers and accommodation already paid in advance you would need a minimum of £ 50 per person per day and could spend a lot more.
What Clothes Should I Bring?
This depends on the time of year. In the summer the same sort of clothing you would wear in the UK or Northern Europe. In the winter layers are the best way to dress and plenty of them. If visiting churches you need to dress conservatively.
What Electric Plugs Are Used?
Russian plugs have two round pins. Electrical power in Russia is 220 V.
Will My Phone Work?
Yes. You’ll find good to reasonable reception along most of the Trans-Siberian line with the connection jumping from Beeline, MTS, Megafon and Skylink as well as some more localized options as you go along.
In major cities it is easy to buy a pay as you go SIM card for your phone and ATMs can be used to top up. Alternatively, you can just buy cards at the many kiosks. If you don’t buy a local SIM be aware of high data charges from your home provider if you don’t switch that function off.
How Is Access to the Internet?
There is reasonable access to the internet in hotels and cafes and in most cities and towns internet cafes are also easy to find. Most hotel reception areas will have wifi.
Is Russia Safe?
For the most part the areas of Russia normally visited by tourists are no less safe than their equivalent areas in Europe. The biggest issue is pick pocketing and it pays to be vigilant in crowded areas such as train stations and the major tourist sights. Russia is a much safer place to visit now than 10 years back.
What if I Am a Vegetarian?
As long as we know in advance we can cater for almost all dietary requirements.
What Currency Should I Bring?
We would suggest a mixture of credit / debit cards and a small amount of cash in USD (preferred) or Euros. Many hotels also have exchange machines in the lobby that accept US Dollar or Euro notes that are in good condition. Make sure you let your card provider know you will be in Russia or your card may be stopped!
Can You Organise Tailor Made Tours?
Yes, we can – just let us know your requirements and we will happily put together an itinerary and quote for you.
Can You Book Flights to Russia?
Yes, we hold an ATOL license (10287) so are authorised to book flights for our clients. The best overall options from the UK tend to be on British Airways. For those on a budget, EasyJet also now fly into Moscow.
Is My Money Protected if I Book With You?
Yes, either through our ATOL for flight inclusive bookings or insurance we hold for non-flight bookings. We are also members of ABTA (Y1699) and abide by their rigorous code of conduct.
Do You Book Hostels?
We very rarely book hostels as the standards are not very high and locations are often poor.
How Far in Advance Should I Book?
As far in advance as possible really, especially considering the visa does take some planning. Particularly Moscow, but also St Petersburg and other cities have a shortage of mid-range hotels so in the peak months the best hotels are sometimes full up to 6 months in advance.
Is There Anything Else I Should Be Asking?
Most likely! We are always happy to answer your questions and to assist with your travel planning so please do not hesitate to contact us.