Money and Drinking-water in Russia

Aug 1st, 2007, 03:53 PM
  #1  
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Money and Drinking-water in Russia

Have been searching for recent reports on these topics, but I only see things from 5 years ago. Is the tap water still dangerous in St. Petersburg and Moscow? Can we drink ice cubes? Is Russian bottled water safe? As for money, do many restaurants and shops take credit cards? Must we carry extra dollars in case of a money crisis? THANKS!
judithh is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 04:43 PM
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We were in St. Petersburg last July and were advised to stick to bottled water. The bottled water caused no problems for us.
Every shop and restaurant we visited accepted credit cards, but the some of the shops would post prices in Euros then then accept CASH US dollars on a 1-to-1 basis for Euros, then a savings of 30%. If you used a credit card, you got charged the full exchange rate. Didn't find this in the restaurants.
boom_boom is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 05:44 PM
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Regarding water, I wouldn't drink anything that is not bottled in St. Petersburg (including ice cubes in most places); in Moscow I have less of a concern.

Regarding money, in 8 years of traveling to (for the last year or two living there 10-25% of my time) Russia and the former Soviet Union I have never experienced prices being posted in euros and US dollars being accepted on a one-on-one basis in a real store. Some of our clients have told us that the street vendors will do this, but that is more a negotiating ploy.

I always recommend to clients to carry some amount (typically $500) in one hundred dollar bills in case there is a problem with the ATM network or something worse; such problems have even occurred in New York in the last few years. Bottled water purchased in a store or hotel is safe (Coca-cola owns the Dasani brand, for instance).

At this point most restaurants in Moscow and St Petersburg which we recommend do take credit cards (although many won't take American Express); surprisingly the portion of stores which don't take credit cards is higher than such restaurants.
Marc_David_Miller is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 06:41 PM
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In St Pet drink and brush your teeth only using bottled water. Do not drink bottled water if the top has already opened when you get it - demand a new bottle. (They have a problem with giaardia in the water - which gets better and worse - but can cause seroius dysentery - not just tourist trots.) Also- no ice in drinks.

As far as I'm aware water is OK other places - but I always do bottled sincemuch of it just doeasn;t taste very good.

The places showing prices in euros and dollars have jacked their prices up so high already that they're making a huge profit off you no matter what you use. Try to shop at places where you can use local currency.

(At the Kirov we paid the equivalent for $7 for the best seats at the box office. People coming in with tour groups were paying over $60 for the same seats.)

nytraveler is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 06:53 PM
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>The places showing prices in euros and dollars have jacked their prices up so high already that they're making a huge profit off you no matter what you use.

Until this year probably 25% of prices in better stores were posted in euros, US dollars, or a blended rate (and almost all hotel prices, real estate, and automobiles.

>(At the Kirov we paid the equivalent for $7 for the best seats at the box office. People coming in with tour groups were paying over $60 for the same seats.)

That's because you paid the resident price for the tickets, instead of the foreign price (the equivalent of a non-student or non-senior paying the student or senior rate; in most museums and some performing arts, there is a two-tiered ticket pricing scheme There is far less of a spread between the resident and non-resident pricing now (and the prices have gone way up in the last few years).

Marc_David_Miller is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 08:22 PM
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Last time I was in Russia was in 2003, and since I was originally born there, I definitely spoke Russian and tried to get the resident prices. However, at some museums etc they do ask for your passport.
smartcookie is offline  
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