The Iron curtain has been raised since 1992
after the fall of Communism and interest to
visit and tourism to the Motherland increases
daily. But to the average traveler, Russia can
be very intimidating and frustrating place.
Russia is very bureaucratic, can be quite
crooked, and possibly dangerous (in remote
areas) to the unsuspecting traveler. Virtually
all of Russia is controlled by mafia, or groups
of individuals trying to be an organized crime
group. So the traveler must be weary, and use
their common sense.
Most of the following travel advice is based
on the traveler venturing outside the tourist
areas, without their tour groups. This web site
will still be useful to those on tours, but is
intended for those who are more adventurous and
like to travel alone in and outside the tourist
areas. At all times have your passport and visa
with you. Keep them buttoned up, in an inside
pocket. Travel with your documents at all times
and keep copies elsewhere for insurance should
you lose your documents. The police are checking
documents in all areas, and you will be fined or
may have to pay a bribe to be let on your way.
This happened to a friend of mine in Red Square,
it cost him $500 Rubles to be able to go on his
way. Police are always looking for a little
extra cash, at your expense.
Since 1992 Russia has improved in many
aspects from the infrastructure to services
provided, etc. So traveling to Russia seems to
improve daily. All airports, train stations and
other forms of public transportation are
controlled by organized crime, and it does
affect you as a tourist. Taking a taxi from the
airport can cost you a small fortune, expect to
pay at least $100 US and more to transfer to
another airport in Moscow.
Your thinking now, “WHY BOTHER GOING????” I
can give you many reasons.
Russia has History, and lots of it. There is
so much to see, Moscow alone will take you weeks
to truly appreciate what it has to offer. St.
Petersburg is even more beautiful and is as time
consuming to see. The Black Sea is also
magnificent, it is the Baja, Mexico or the
French Rivera of Russia, Russians flock there
every summer. But if you really want to
experience Russia you must get out to the
countryside and into the smaller villages. There
you will see how Russians really live. Moscow
has always been the center of Russia, and Saint
Petersburg a main tourist destination. The
Russian Political Government always gave and
continues to give the best to Moscow and Saint
Petersburg, the rest of Russia gets what’s left.
The true Russia lies outside Moscow and Saint
Petersburg if you’re looking for more than just
But in these less traveled areas you must be
a little more cautious and expect a degraded
infrastructure and little, to no services,
depending on where you go.
The following list is more for people
traveling in Russia without a Tour Company.
(Although it will still be useful and
informative to you if you are using a tour
guide!) All prices will be quoted in American
dollars as the Russian Ruble is very unstable
and constantly changing. All the following
survival tips are from our own personal
experiences in Russia.