For years Russia was not seen as a typical vacation destination, but in recent times, more and more avid travelers are making their way over to explore the largest country on earth. And with so much to see and do – two capitals, amazing architecture, interesting history, a vibrant mix of cultures, unusual food, and stunning scenery, it’s easy to see why. If you’re planning to visit Russia for an upcoming trip, then you’ll certainly want to make the most of it and have a journey to remember. And, staying safe and sound is important too. Here are some Russia travel tips to keep in mind:

Be Prepared for the Weather:

If you’re planning to visit during the winter, then Russia’s weather can be brutally cold – so make sure that you are prepared. From warm gloves to a thick hat and plenty of layers, you really can’t wrap up warm enough to make sure that you are shielded from the elements during your winter visit. The good news is that Russia makes for an amazing, magical destination to visit during the Winter – there are festive celebrations everywhere and both capitals bring in the New Year with plenty of partying.

Get Your Visa Well in Time:

Getting a Visa to visit Russia can be a pretty daunting experience, so save yourself some stress by making sure that you apply through an agency and in good time. If you’re an EU citizen you will be able to visit European Russia visa-free, but if you’re from outside of the EU then you’re going to need one to visit anywhere in the country. Knowledgeable agency staff can help you fill out the forms before submitting them to the Visa Center, so it’s worth using this kind of service. Here’s the official Russia tourism board website for more information.

Play By The Rules on the Trains:

Getting around Russia by train is one of the best and most eco-friendly ways to explore this country, whether you are traveling the route of the Trans-Siberian railway spanning Russia or want to get between the two capitals. It’s easy to book online when you find train tickets around Russia, but make sure that once you’re on the trains, you always cooperate with the train guards. Bear in mind that they may ask to check your passport along with your ticket; this is perfectly normal and no cause for alarm.

Keep Your Valuables Safe:

The good news is that you’re pretty safe in Russia; public areas are well-lit and you’ll always find lots of police officers patrolling the streets. But as with visiting any destination, don’t leave it up to chance and make sure that you take precautions to look after your personal belongings, particularly any valuables like cash, your smartphone, and your passport. It’s best to carry your passport with you as you may be asked to produce it by local authorities; consider investing in a belt you can store your valuables in and wear underneath your clothing to keep it safe.

Get to Know the Metro:

Mosow and St Petersburg both have fast, efficient metro systems that are ideal methods of transport for exploring the cites, but they’re also quite large networks and with signs only available in Cyrillic, it’s easy to get confused as you get around. Before you go, it’s a good idea to try and familiarise yourself with the metro system that you’re going to be using – the good news is that you can find maps online, and learn the names of the stations in English so that you can translate the signs when needed. And don’t forget that that isn’t the only way to get around – you can take a Russian river cruise from Moscow or St Petersburg to explore even more of this amazing country.

Have a safe and enjoyable trip with these Russia travel tips!

Also Read: 

Russia Travel: Walk the Streets Like a Local in St. Petersburg

Russia: See the Northern Lights from the Edge of the World