It's football time! For those lucky ones who are travelling to Russia to celebrate the World Cup, here’s your essential guide on what you should know before travelling to Russia.
1. Visa, visa and visa.
You probably need a visa to enter Russia. You must obtain it way before you travel there. Applications are made online over here - www.visitrussia.org.uk. Tourist visas (single entry; valid for up to 30 days) require a passport valid for a minimum of six months, and costs around $150.
2. Getting around
Try to sort out your transport beforehand.
It's better to book airport transfer in advance to secure the price and the car. It is busy period with thousands of people travelling, so there is a chance that prices will be exceptionally high. You can book your airport transfer through Mitty app. In Moscow, taking a train from the airport directly to City Center will definitely be a better option to skip the traffic jam.
Moscow is notorious for it's traffic, so using public transport may be faster than taking a taxi for long distances. Real-time public transit applications are available for all of the World Cup cities in Mitty. Public transport in Russia is rare after 23:00, but the metro usually runs until 1 am.
While getting around on a taxi, it is better to use Yandex Taxi instead of Uber, as it has more cars available and is cheaper. You can access Yandex Taxi through Mitty as well.
3. Bring some cash and be mindful of prices
Not all places accept credit cards, so keeping spare cash with you is a must. It's better to exchange your money in advance to get the best rate. However, if you are planning to exchange your money in Russia, then change your money in banks. The largest bank in Russia is Sberbank (Сбербанк), it has thousands of branches in Russian cities. The brand color of the company is green.
As a tourist you will probably pay slightly more then locals. Ask your hotel reception or local friends about average prices.
4. Learn Cyrillic and main phrases
If you don't have time to learn to speak Russian, try to learn to read the most necessary words that can be useful like “exit” (Выход), “entrance” (Вход), “restaurant” (Ресторан), “pharmacy” (Аптека), etc. In addition, speaking in Russian to locals will definitely be a nice icebreaker, so it will definitely help to impress the occasional local. Privet is Hello, Spasibo is Thank You, Poka is Bye. Try not to say "Za Zdorovie" as it is very cliche and actually nobody says that.
Buy a good dictionary with useful Russian words and phrases, which will help you to identify important places in the city, to read menu, to use public transport.
Russian weather is unpredictable. It can be raining in winter or snowing in spring. Although summer is generally nice and warm, even residents often don't know what to expect. Therefore, take umbrella, warm clothes as well as shorts and t-shirts.
6. Buy bottled water
Nobody drinks tap water in Russia. So when you come to a restaurant expect to see water in your bill. We won't start an argument of why it is so, but bottled water is definitely safe to drink. However, you will be fine brushing your teeth and taking shower with tap water, so don't be afraid of it completely.
You may find drinking water fountains on streets, but it's better to buy your bottle of
beer water in advance.
7. Try local food. Expect something you have never tried before.
You definitely need to try local Russian cuisine. Beef Stroganoff, Borscht, Pelmeni, Vareniki, Fried Potatoes and Mushrooms, Olivier Salad, Pancakes are all must. However, try to keep it down with portions as local food is pretty heavy. To finish off, drink some "nastoika" (vodka infusion) or "kvas" (rye bread drink).
You can find best restaurants in each city in Mitty app.
8. Respect local rules and customs
While you will be fine behaving the same way as in other Western Countries, there are still some rules that you shall know about. For example, it is better not to take pictures of government buildings as you may be fined for this. When visiting local orthodox churches, women need to cover their heads and wear long skirts (trousers are mostly allowed) and men should wear long trousers as well as take off any headwear. On the other hand, when going out to a nightclub, theatre or posh restaurant, it is better to dress up to avoid confusion. Ask your hotel or host about other things to know about.
9. Avoid tourist traps and scammers
As in any other touristic cities, small crimes such as pickpocketing are common in crowded places. Be mindful and taking exercise caution and be careful not to get scammed in tourist traps. If anything does happen, you can find local emergency numbers in Mitty app.
10. Download Mitty
Finally, download Mitty to get access to all best local apps in one app. You can book taxi, buy train tickets, search for restaurants and explore local attractions all in one app in Mitty.
We hope you will enjoy your trip!
No need to download taxi, restaurant and activities apps. Just download Mitty app to access apps that locals in Russia use for navigation, restaurant booking, discovering experiences and more all in one one app.