Vast, unique and distant Russia is a real mystery to foreign travelers. To break the common stereotypical vision of always snowy frigid Russia with wild bears roaming the streets, we have put together a list of recommendations which will be real life-savers when packing your luggage.
Below you can find answers to common questions, information about climate, weather, and currency, as well as advice on what to bring with you to Russia when traveling, how to avoid unpleasant surprises and blend in with the locals.
Russia weather & clothing
What to pack and when to travelYour wardrobe for a trip to Russia will vary greatly depending on the season. Summers in Russia are quite hot, although short. As a rule, you can count on mild and not too hot Russia weather in June with temperatures around 23°C (74°F) during the day.
So if you are traveling in the summer, it is best to bring clothes you normally wear in the summer. Nevertheless, a sweater or light jacket will also be handy as evenings may be a bit chilly.
Comfortable walking shoes or sneakers are a must, so keep in mind that guided tours imply walking as well when packing. If you are planning to visit an opera or a theater pack something classy but not too fancy (tuxedos or evening gowns are not at all necessary).
If your trip is in the wintertime, warm coats, scarves, hats, gloves and other elements of the winter wardrobe are essential as in Russian winter the average temperatures drops to 15°F.
Weather averages in Moscow
St. Petersburg Russia weather
Weather averages in Irkutsk
Best time to visit Russia
Which month to choose for your Russia travel
One thing's certain when it comes to planning a trip to Russia, you need to clearly understand what image of the country you want to see and which journey type are you aiming at.
If you dream of leisurely strolls along the city streets on warm evenings, cruising the Volga River or even of a Trans-Siberian vacation, then the end of spring to early fall is the time of year for you. Those in search of the fairy-tale experience of riding a Russian troika sled along snow-sprinkled panoramas should choose in favor of winter. All seasons have their own benefits, to learn more on the subject, watch the videos below:
Russian Money & ATMs
Situation with currency & cash
Rubles are Russia's national currency, and although you probably won't be able to exchange money to rubles in your home country before you leave, you shouldn't worry, as it is possible to withdraw dollars, euros, and rubles from your debit card in almost all of the local ATMs.
Too many credit cards won't be necessary, and we advise bringing cash, which can be exchanged for Russia money in banks, as well as debit cards, which are accepted in most stores and restaurants.
It's a good idea though to check with your bank beforehand to find out the exchange rates that are implied for your cards when making payments in a foreign country. To be on the safe side, have 3000 - 10000 rubles in cash on you to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Average cost of meals
An average check in a fine Moscow restaurant for a several-course meal with wine starts from 30$ per person. Whereas a check in a mid-range cafe or restaurant is approximately 7-15$. A meal in a budget cafe will cost 3-7$. Make sure to try borsht and blini pancakes - Russia's national dishes.
Tipping in Russia
Giving tips to guides & drivers
Giving tips is common in Russia yet voluntary. If you are satisfied with the service provided, you may give a 15$ tip a guide who worked with you for 4 hours, 8-12$ to a driver. If you wish to leave a tip in a restaurant, a standard 5-10% of the bill's total is considered appropriate in the Russian tipping etiquette.
How to blend in with the locals
Although most Russians understand English, the majority of the population aren't fluent speakers. Taking the effort to learn a few Russian words can be very rewarding. Here are a couple of phrases to get you started:
Yes – Da
No – Nyet
How much – Skolko
Please - Pozhalusta
Thank you – Spacibo
My name is - Menya zovut
It’s a pleasure to meet you – ochen’ priyatno poznakomitsya
This meal is delicious – ochen’ vkusno.
Electricity & Russia power adapters
Charging your phone & camera
Before you start your trip, it is obligatory to know that there are European outlets in Russia. The Russian electric plug is designed for devices with two round plugs. Thus it is useful to have 110 volt to 220 volt Russian plug adapters or outlet converters with you.
Continue planning your trip with Firebird
Explore places to see & things to do in entire Eurasia on the Firebird map of sights.
We recommend to use services of our trusted insurance provided, Travel Guard.
Easily access all of your bookings, invoices and your personal itineraries.