How to Prepare for a Trip to Russia

Visiting Russia can be an overwhelming experience for first-time travellers. The country is huge, exotic and diverse with a rich history. Its forbidding winters, for example, have several times saved the country from invaders and helped it to a rich source of crops and natural resources.

The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world, covering an area more than twice as large as that of the United States. It is also the most geographically, historically and ethnically diverse. Despite its vast size, Russia is not without its own problems. One of the most important is environmental. The central area of the country is a highly industrialized region and Moscow in particular suffers from severe air pollution. Waterways are also contaminated by sewage and chemicals from surrounding urban areas, with the situation worsening east of the Ural Mountains.

While the population of the country is overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian, other religions are represented as well. In fact, about 15 percent of the country’s citizens are Muslims and many ethnic groups in Siberia still practice traditional pagan rites.

As a result of this diversity, it is not easy to categorize Russia as either European or Asian. Rather, it is an amalgam of influences that has developed as a result of the country’s geography and its isolation from other countries until recently.

When planning a trip to Russia, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the country’s culture, language and food. You can do this by learning some basic phrases and downloading an app like Duolingo before your departure. In addition, it is helpful to know the Cyrillic alphabet, as street names and even menus are often written in this script.

Another tip is to research the cities and regions you’ll be visiting. A general knowledge of the history of the city will help you understand its architecture and culture, as well as make the most of your time there. Similarly, you can use the internet to get an overview of the country’s cuisine and learn some basic recipes.

It’s also a good idea to check the local weather forecasts to ensure that your visit coincides with pleasant temperatures. The best time to visit Russia is from May to September, when temperatures are warm but not oppressively hot.

It’s also a good idea to inform someone about your travel plans, store emergency contact numbers and stay abreast of any political or social protests taking place. Finally, it’s important to remember that drink spiking is a serious problem in some clubs and bars, so be sure to always buy your drinks from trusted vendors. Also, keep your passport in sight at all times and avoid going to crowded places with people you’ve just met.