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-   -   Questions about Russia (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/questions-about-russia-1019471/)

LR220 Jul 8th, 2014 10:49 PM

Questions about Russia
 
My brother is traveling to Moscow next month with his University, so he will be taken care of to some extent in regards to his safety and accommodation. But he's 19 and extremely inexperienced with traveling and handling anything foreign so this is a huge leap for a first time non-family trip. Any safety advice that I can give him from others who have been to Moscow will really help! I know for ex, that he has to carry his passport on him at all times. I also looked at this: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-c...Advice/Russia# and http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/russia but people are saying that "it's never a good time to travel to Russia". What can he do to keep safe?

What is the best way for him to carry money? He will only be going for a few days for a business competition and expenses are covered, but I think he will have to pay for food, plus anything else he might want, so only minor expenses. Would it be better for him to just withdraw money from an ATM at the airport? Would they be difficult to find? He isn't travel savvy at all.

Odin Jul 8th, 2014 11:21 PM

I say it is always a good time to travel to Russia. Why would it not be? I never carry my passport, I carry photocopies of my passport and visa. I leave the original in my hotel safe or when I lived in Moscow, I left it at the apartment. I don't know why you think Moscow is dangerous. Muscovites will have much more money than he will. Best advice is to relax and not be so worried. I never had an issue in Moscow with safety and have been more than 20 times and lived there for a year.

lincasanova Jul 9th, 2014 05:45 AM

and don't go to any bars with any females he meets, no matter what.

A website for single guys to listen to these suggestions.

http://www.singledudetravel.com/2011...ing-bar-scams/

brendonb29 Jul 9th, 2014 05:51 AM

I am not sure if he will need a visa or not, but they can be expensive and take several weeks to get in the mail. I always use a moneybelt while traveling. It is a nylon pouch and it fits inside your pants like your shirt tail. Never has a problem. Moscow shouldn't be dangerous at all. Crimea is in the south, and most of Putin's soldiers have now left Ukraine.

Odin Jul 9th, 2014 06:14 AM

<<I am not sure if he will need a visa or not>> Everyone needs a visa for Russia unless he is from a visa exempt country such as Armenia, Belarus, Cuba etc.

jane1144 Jul 9th, 2014 07:31 AM

We didn't need a visa when there on a cruise and taking shore excursions with the cruise ship. If we had gone somewhere on our own, we would have required a visa. I guess it depends on what his group has arranged.

Odin Jul 9th, 2014 08:24 AM

jane1144: Not sure I can see the connection between a visa free shore excursion which confines you to a bus having anything to do with to being in Moscow for a few days and the entry requirements for that. Are you guessing that being part of any kind of group exempts you from a visa?

Gretchen Jul 9th, 2014 09:59 AM

I agree with all the positive comments (and tips on keeping money safe) about travel to Russia. It is an extraordinary travel experience. I think carrying the copy of the passport would be a good thing--just be sure the passport is well hidden/safe.
Watch out for the vodka toasting!!
Hope he is going to ST.Pete.

Gretchen Jul 9th, 2014 10:00 AM

Oh, tell him to learn the Cyrillic alphabet. And take a small dictionary. You can "speak" to folks in some way piecing things out in words and hand gestures!! Part of the fun?

lauren_s_kahn Jul 9th, 2014 10:32 AM

If he is going as part of a group, the group will take care of the visa.

LR220 Jul 9th, 2014 02:25 PM

Thanks everyone! I'm not too sure about the visa and all the very specific details about his trip, though I'm sure they're assisting him with it. He won't be going to Saint Petersburg and I also don't think he will be staying in Moscow longer than the competition - he's not really interested in traveling, generally.

With regards to carrying money, should he just take a credit card and debit or exchange money here first? I withdraw money from the ATM abroad and use a cc, but since he hasn't actually done any traveling outside with family where our parents handled everything, he's worried about messing something up. He won't have to pay for food (as I had originally thought) or accommodation or any local travels when there, so the only thing he'd only need money for is snacks and souvenirs and anything else he might choose to buy. Should he just withdraw a small sum from the airport and take a cc with him?

Gretchen Jul 9th, 2014 03:19 PM

Take some cash and a credit card.
Not going to SP.
What is this competition?
They will take care of everything--most especially the visa--that is such a red herring for this discussion.
too bad he's not interested in travelling. what a waste.

nytraveler Jul 9th, 2014 05:52 PM

I would assume that the group he is traveling with would provide all of the information about the visa and facilitate the necessary invitation and the visa itself. If he doesn;t have info on this yet (or I would think the visa) he should contact them immediately to get the necessary.

He should get a good map of the city and identify the location of the hotel, where the group will be meeting or? and the major sights. He should carry the hotel info with him at all times - in English and cyrillic - so if he does become separated form his group - or fiends he may be sightseeing with - he can easily get back there by cab. (I don't reco Moscow subway to anyone who has not traveled before.)

He should take some $ - in small denominations - but assume he can use CC for most anything he will want to buy (can;t imagine he's a shopper).

jan47ete Jul 9th, 2014 05:56 PM

If so inexperienced and traveling with a group which will take care of a lot of the usual Russia issues (visa, travel, etc) I would get some currency before he goes as it does not appear he will venture too far from his group.

One problem I find with ATMs is that you always seem to get large bills in the transaction which can sometimes be problematic as you generally want to use them for food, transportation, etc.

Agree with all comments above--loved Moscow and as a single guy though he does have the Russian girl situation as an extra huge, humongous, not to be taken lightly headache.


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